DRC: A year after the murder of two UN experts but no justice yet

The international community must ensure justice for the deaths of two UN experts killed while investigating human rights abuses in Kasai province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Amnesty International said one year after their bodies were discovered.

The remains of Zaida Catalan, a Swedish-Chilean, and Michael Sharp, an American, were discovered on 27 March 2017, two weeks after they disappeared as they investigated human rights violations in the wake of clashes between the Congolese army and supporters of a local chief who had been killed by government security forces.

“Michael and Zaida were murdered while pursuing justice for the families of thousands of people, killed by militia groups and government security forces,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“Justice for them is overdue, and the DRC authorities have failed to credibly investigate the murder and other serious human rights violations perpetrated in the Kasai region. They must never be forgotten and their deaths must not be in vain.”
Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

“Justice for them is overdue, and the DRC authorities have failed to credibly investigate the murder and other serious human rights violations perpetrated in the Kasai region. They must never be forgotten and their deaths must not be in vain.”

The UN estimates that the crisis in the Kasai region, sparked by the murder of local leader Kamuena Nsapu in August 2016, has resulted in more than 1.3 million internally displaced people. Amnesty International believes that the Congolese authorities do not have the will to hold suspected perpetrators to account, including for the murders of Zaida and Michael.