Report highlights widespread human rights abuses in Republic of Congo
In February 2017, the Congolese Human Rights Observatory (OCDH) published a report entitled: "The Republic of the Congo: Governance through Terror and Disregard for Human Rights." The report documents widespread human rights violations in the country with human rights defenders affirming that the current situation in the Republic of the Congo is extremely concerning. Citizens' rights are violated on a daily basis through numerous cases of torture, arbitrary arrests, unexplained disappearances and murder. Access to health care is difficult to obtain; citizens are forced from their land and left homeless; and freedom of the press is under threat. As Trésor Nzila, Executive Director of the OCDH, stated with concern,
"This year 2016 was marked by serious human rights violations, linked to the post-election crisis, but also to serious violations that are not related to this issue".
In response, the Minister of Justice, Pierre Mabiala, criticised the report's findings, claiming that there are no human rights issues in the country. The Minister's response reflects the government's dismissive attitude towards the overwhelming evidence from human rights groups of a deteriorating environment in the country for human rights defenders, activists and society at large.