‘Hate speech’ threatens to unleash ethnic violence in DR Congo – UN

3 August 2007

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) today spoke out against incitements to ethnic violence in the country and called on the authorities to take action against those responsible.

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) today spoke out against incitements to ethnic violence in the country and called on the authorities to take action against those responsible.

MONUC “is gravely alarmed at the rising incidence of hate speech at political rallies, in news publications, TV and radio commentaries, especially in Kinshasa and the eastern provinces,” the mission said in a statement.

“Incitement to hatred, xenophobia and repeated references to ethnic or tribal differences threaten to tear apart communities already struggling with the harsh realities of recurrent armed conflict,” it warned.

A community radio station in Moba, in the Katanga province, recently began to air false rumors to the indigenous population that Congolese Tutsis were to be resettled by the UN in their region from refugee camps abroad, according to MONUC, which said this led the people of Moba to ransack the local UN office “in a well-orchestrated early-morning assault.”

Four UN military observers were wounded, and some 21 UN staff had to be evacuated from the region.

To prevent further escalation, the Mission called on the DRC authorities to investigate those responsible for the rise in hate speech and tribal hatreds and hold them accountable for their acts.

In a separate development, MONUC announced today that it has suspended five civilian staff members for “procurement irregularities” following an investigation by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).

That probe led the Department of Management and the Department of Field Support to dispatch a high-level team to the DRC to address the OIOS findings and recommendations, and to “advise the UN Mission on an action plan to implement the recommendations for strengthening internal control measures and ensuring continuity in MONUC’s procurement activities,” spokesperson Farhan Haq said.

 

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