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Vicent Machozi

Vincent Machozi

HRD, Father

Vincent Machozi was a Catholic priest and human rights defender who had documented human rights abuses in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for several years prior to his killing. He sought to expose and seek justice for atrocities committed by all sides during the country's civil war by mobilising witnesses and victims of violence to report on the human rights violations they had observed and been subjected too. He created a website, Beni Lubero Online, as a platform for the storage and dissemination of information about these human rights abuses. The human rights defender was also closely engaged in conflict transformation efforts involving leaders of his community of Nande, a major tribe in Eastern DRC, while working to seek justice for thousands of victims of mass violence targeting his community. On 23 March 2016, the body of prominent human rights defender, Father Vincent Machozi, was laid to rest three days after he was assassinated by unidentified men in army uniforms in the village of Vitungwe-Isale, near the city of Butembo.

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.