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#Democratic Republic of Congo

#Democratic Republic of Congo

The situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) remains volatile and human rights defenders (HRDs) remain at grave risk. They continue to operate at serious personal risk in an atmosphere of violence, hostility and instability. Absence of the rule of law and a climate of impunity prevail. As a consequence of carrying out activities such as investigating and exposing atrocities, combating sexual violence, advocacy with respect to the elections, and independent journalism, many HRDs have been subject to threats and attacks.

Congolese human rights defenders are frequent targets of intimidation, judicial proceedings, stigmatisation, death threats, arbitrary arrest, incommunicado detentions, gender based violence, ill treatment in prison including refusal of access to lawyers and medical care, physical assault and in some cases torture or killing by DRC government agents or armed groups. Many HRDs are frequently forced into hiding as a result of the threats against their security and the safety of their families.

The situation in eastern DRC is especially precarious. A number of human rights defenders and journalists have been killed over the years. The killings and persistent threats have instilled a climate of fear among local defenders, who are made more vulnerable by the ongoing violence, ethnic tensions, and the unstable political and military situation in the region.