Following a violent attack on the president of leading human rights organisation Heritiers de la justice (Heirs of Justice), Christian Aid has appealed to the international community for increased protection for activists.
The UK registered charity has also asked for greater support from the authorities to bring perpetrators to justice and end the cycle of violence.
Emmanuel Lubala Mugisho, who is also a provincial deputy in South Kivu and a reverend in the CEPAC protestant church, was robbed and threatened with death Tues 15th June by three gunmen at his family home in Bukavu town.
Another prominent human rights activist Floribet Chebeya, was also found dead the week before. Christian Aid said: ‘Such crimes constitute a threat to human rights and the entire state-building process in the DRC.’
The organisation has called upon the UK government, the EU and other international donors in the country to support an independent enquiry into the death of Chebeya, and to find the gunmen who attacked Lubala.
It has also appealed to the international community o draw up a common plan for the implementation of the EU guidelines for the protection of human rights defenders.
The organisation reported that the violence goes back five years, when the secretary general of Heirs of Justice, Pascal Kabungulu, was murdered in Bukavu. His killers were never brought to justice following the suspension of the military tribunal set up in Nov ‘05.
Shuna Keen, a spokesperson for Christian Aid said: ‘The lack of justice for Kabungulu’s murder has set an unfortunate precedent and these latest attacks on Lubala and the murder of Chebeya should be understood in this light.’
She added, ‘We believe that reopening of judicial proceedings relating to Kabungulu’s death would significantly contribute towards ending the corrosive and pervasive culture of injustice in the country.