It is now three months since Angelo disappeared: We call upon their immediate and unconditional release

It is now three months since Angelo went missing in Goma, the Democratic Republic of Congo

On May 26th, 2021 the refugee human rights defender known as Angelo left his home towards AIDES which is UNHCR partners for urban refugees in Goma, but since then he disappeared and no one knows his whereabouts. Unlike for Congolese who are kidnapped and then a ransom is asked for their release, nothing has been so far available for Angelo, no information, no vindication and no claim so far made.

Efforts have been made to move around Goma especially to check in various known detention centers but in vain. Three options are possible: Either he was secretly assassinated, either he was deported to Rwanda or he was arrested by the current military regime and taken to unknown places. What is common to refugees in deportation back to Rwanda and this is what we do suspect.

Some among local organizations which could have played a positive role in terms of pressure to the authorities in order to tell us more, all took distance in what they called “ dangerous refugee case” while others claim “ those are people who are killing us, we cannot do anything”. Some few organizations we have managed to contact at international have not yet managed to intervene in this case and we do not know why.

As a human rights defender, Angelo’s family should have been as per now benefited from the solidarity from other human rights fraternity but also on this level, nothing has been done and his family totally abandoned. This is not the best in terms of the promotion of refugee rights in DRCongo, this does not encourage and seems a serious blow to other vocal refugees in Goma now.

We call upon the release of Ghislain Muhirwe member of La LUCHA Goma

Ghislain Muhirwe is one among active members of LA LUCHA Goma, together with his colleagues they publically denounced the embezzlement of relief aid which was channeled to help the victims on Nyiragongo Volcano eruption in Goma. After their alert the authorities took actions and arrested key local leaders and the police officers who were alleged to be involved in the malpractice. However information coming to us alleges that the Foundation Denise Nyakeru which was in-charge of relief distribution and which belongs to the first lady in DRCongo, complained against Ghislain and his colleagues, and that led to his arrest on Sunday August 22nd, 2021 in Goma as he was being introduced by his girlfriend, while all others members of LA LUCHA Goma currently are living in fear.

We call upon his immediate and unconditional release and we call upon the DRCongo to stop all forms of threats and intimidations against human rights defenders, journalists and other vocal voices.

Author: Kuliloshi Pecos