Banjul, 23 March 2023: IHRDA has concluded, 21 March 2023, a public dialogue with key stakeholders in the Democratic republic of Congo (DRC) on the implementation of decision passed by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) in June 2016 declaring DRC responsible for the 2004 massacre of over 70 people in Kilwa, in the southeast of the country.
The event that brought together representatives of relevant Government institutions, the National Human Rights Commission, members of affected community, civil society organisations and the media sought to assess level of implementation of the said decision, and to advocate and craft strategies for the engagement of all stakeholders towards its full implementation.
It should be recalled that in the case, which was filed before the ACHPR in November 2010 by IHRDA, Action Against Impunity and Human Rights (ACIDH) and Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID), on behalf of victims of the Kilwa massacre, the ACHPR found the DRC responsible for the massacre of over 70 people by Congolese soldiers in the town of Kilwa in 2004. It awarded compensation of $4.36 million to eight victims and their families, the highest award ever granted by the ACHPR, and directed the Congolese State to identify and compensate other victims and their families who were not party to the complaint, but who were also directly affected by the attack. In June 2021, IHRDA and its partners RAID, AFREWATCH and ACIDH issued a public letter calling on President Felix Tshisekedi of the DRC to urgently rectify the human rights failures of the previous government and implement the ACHPR decision.
“This dialogue could not have come at a better time for victims of the Kilwa Massacre. The ACHPR’s decision – one with the highest reparation recommended – was proving to be an illusory victory, having been waiting for over 6 years for justice to be served. Today, we commend the representatives of DRC for engaging in this constructive and mutual dialogue with the victims to work together in a spirit of reconciliation and justice to implement the decision. IHRDA is confident that the road map that will be agreed upon will ensure the victims are duly compensated in good time.” – IHRDA Interim Head, Edmund Foley, stated.
The public dialogue falls within the framework of a GIZ-supported project to strengthen compliance of States with decisions of African human rights mechanisms. It comes after similar events organised by IHRDA in Mali in March 2023 and Kenya in July 2022.