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Wednesday, 31 May, 2000, 13:04 GMT 14:04 UK
Amnesty highlights Congo atrocities
Congolese refugees
Thousands have been displaced by the DR Congo war
Amnesty International says forces fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo are involved in widespread human rights abuse, including the killing, torture and rape of civilians.

Most of the human rights abuses are reported to have been committed by members of the Congolese Rally for Democracy, RCD

Amnesty report
In a report on the DR Congo published on Wednesday entitled Killing Human Decency, Amnesty said thousands of unarmed civilians have been killed by opposition forces as well as by forces loyal to President Laurent Kabila.

It said that most of the human rights abuses have been committed by members of the Congolese Rally for Democracy, RCD.

The rebels and their foreign backers control almost all of the north and east of the DR Congo.

RCD rebels
The rebels control almost all of the north and east
"Thousands of unarmed civilians - mainly women, children and the elderly who were not able to flee or who thought they would not be targeted by combatants - have been victims of deliberate and arbitrary killings by armed opposition groups and Burundian Government forces," the report said.


More than 100 civilians and soldiers have been executed since early 1999

Amnesty on DR Congo government
In one of the worst atrocities last year, the rebels reportedly massacred 800 people in the town of Makobola on Lake Tanganyika.

"Hanging men by their genitals, prohibiting detainees from urinating or defecating, rape, whippings, beatings and detention in water-logged pits are some of the treatments that those detained by the RCD and their allies are subjected to," the report says.

The Amnesty report said human rights abuses in government-controlled areas were "far less widespread since the start of 1999 than in late 1998", but were still common.

"More than 100 civilians and soldiers have been executed since early 1999, after military trials that fell short of international standards," the report said.

Lack of will

Amnesty says there is a blatant lack of will on the part of all the sides involved in the DR Congo conflict to prevent human rights abuses.

Laurent Kabila
Mr Kabila: Backed by Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola
It urges the international community to act to prevent further abuses and bring the violators to justice.

The DR Congo conflict which began in 1998, has drawn in troops from Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi backing the rebels who want to topple President Kabila.

Mr Kabila's government on the other hand receives support from Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola.

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See also:

25 May 00 | Africa
UN to monitor Congo pull-out
21 May 00 | Africa
Congo rebels 'massacre 300'
21 May 00 | Africa
Doubt over Congo 'massacre'
17 May 00 | Africa
Quick UN Congo force urged
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