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Killing of human rights defender Fréderic-Marcus Kambale during a peaceful protest

Status: 
Killed
About the situation

On 13 July 2020, the Garrison Military Court of Beni-Butembo sentenced a police officer to life imprisonment for the killing of human rights defender Frédéric-Marcus Kambale. The police officer and the State of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were found civilly co-responsible for the killing and are required to pay compensation amounting to $100,000 (€84,484) to the victim's family.

On 21 May 2020, human rights defender Fréderic-Marcus Kambale was shot and killed by a police officer during a peaceful protest organized in Beni, in North-Kivu. The peaceful march was organised to denounce the rising insecurity and resurgence of violence in the city.

About Fréderic-Marcus Kambale

Fréderic-Marcus Kambale was a human rights defender and member of the organization Lutte pour le Changement (Fight for Change – LUCHA). LUCHA is a non-violent and non-partisan youth civil society movement founded in June 2012 in Goma, North Kivu. The movement advocates for social justice and accountability in DRC through campaigns, and encourages Congolese citizens to fight for the promotion and respect of human rights.

20 November 2020
Family of human rights defender Frédéric-Marcus Kambale still awaiting compensation six months after his killing

On 13 July 2020, the Garrison Military Court of Beni-Butembo sentenced a police officer to life imprisonment for the killing of human rights defender Frédéric-Marcus Kambale. The police officer and the State of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were found civilly co-responsible for the killing and are required to pay compensation amounting to $100,000 (€84,484) to the victim's family.

On 21 May 2020, human rights defender and member of the organisation Lutte pour le Changement (Fight for Change – LUCHA) Fréderic-Marcus Kambale was shot and killed by a police officer during a peaceful protest in Beni, in North-Kivu. The peaceful march was organised to denounce the rising insecurity and resurgence of violence in the city.

Almost six months since the killing of Fréderic-Marcus Kambale, the family of the human rights defender still hasn’t received the financial compensation owed by the State and the police officer. According to the family, no representatives from the Congolese authorities have approached them in recognition of the killing of the human rights defender.

While Front Line Defenders welcomes the conviction of the police officer responsible for the killing of Fréderic-Marcus Kambale on 13 July 2020, it is deeply concerned by the fact that, six months after the killing of the human rights defender, his family has not received the due financial compensation. Front Line Defenders expresses concern over the reprisals against LUCHA members, such as arbitrary arrests, detentions, beatings and killings by police officers when peacefully campaigning against corruption, insecurity and the for respect of human rights.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in the DRC to take all the necessary measures to provide the due compensation to the family of human rights defender Fréderic-Marcus Kambale. Furthermore, Front Line Defenders calls for an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the killing of Obadi Muhindo, a LUCHA member killed in Beni on 23 November 2019 during a peaceful demonstration, with the aim of bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards. Front Line Defenders further calls on the authorities in DRC to guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in the country are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

25 May 2020
Killing of human rights defender Fréderic-Marcus Kambale during a peaceful protest

On 21 May 2020, human rights defender Fréderic-Marcus Kambale was shot and killed by a police officer during a peaceful protest organized in Beni, in North-Kivu. The peaceful march was organised to denounce the rising insecurity and resurgence of violence in the city.

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Fréderic-Marcus Kambale was a human rights defender and member of the organization Lutte pour le Changement (Fight for Change – LUCHA). LUCHA is a non-violent and non-partisan youth civil society movement founded in June 2012 in Goma, North Kivu. The movement advocates for social justice and accountability in DRC through campaigns, and encourages Congolese citizens to fight for the promotion and respect of human rights.

On 21 May 2020, LUCHA organized a peaceful march in Beni to denounce the rise in urban crime and insecurity, and call on the authorities to ensure the safety of the population. The march started at Butsili stadium, near to where a young man was killed on the evening of 19 May by unknown assailants. As the demonstrators approached the Beni town hall, police arrived to disperse them, using tear gas bombs and live ammunition.

 

Human rights defender Fréderic-Marcus Kambale was shot in the head by a police officer and died as a result of his injuries. Two police officers suspected of being responsible for his death have been arrested.

Police arrested 19 LUCHA activists who had been participating in the protest, detaining them for several hours before releasing them later that day. One protester was injured during the police efforts to disperse the protesters and was taken to hospital.

This is the second time in six months that a LUCHA activist has been killed in similar circumstances. On 23 November 2019, LUCHA member Obadi Muhindo was killed in Beni during a peaceful demonstration, when members of the police force opened fire on the protesters with live ammunition.

Front Line Defenders strongly condemns the killing of Fréderic-Marcus Kambale, as it believes he has been targeted solely as a result of his legitimate work in defence of human rights and his exercise of freedom of peaceful assembly and association.