Democratic Republic of Congo: Jean Claude Katende, leader of the fight for human rights and transparency, facing death threats
Publish What You Pay (PWYP) calls on the authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo to make every effort to ensure the safety of Jean-Claude Katende after he received highly concerning death threats.
On Monday, 24 June 2019, Jean Claude Katendé filed a complaint against unknown to the Provincial Police Commissioner of the city of Kinshasa. Unidentified individuals had warned Mr. Katende through phone calls over the past few days that he would be “killed” if he continued to carry out his advocacy efforts since the beginning calling for the release of Eddy Kapend and the reopening of the cases of Floribert Chebeya and Fidele Bazana, two human rights defenders who were murdered in June 2010 and whose perpetrators have remained unpunished. Credible allegations involve high-ranking officials of the state.
On 12 June 2019, the day after the first threatening call, a peaceful demonstration was held to demand the release of Eddy Kapend and several other people. Today, 25 June, another demonstration is to be held to seek justice in the case of the two murders.
An ardent defender of human rights, Mr. Jean Claude Katende has been a long-time advocate for transparency and good governance of the extractive industries in his capacity as National Coordinator of the PWYP Coalition Democratic Republic of Congo and President of the African Association of human rights (ASADHO). He has also served on the EITI Board from 2011 to 2016 as a representative of civil society. The defender has been threatened in the past with activities related to natural resource management issues.
“These new threats are unacceptable and must not go unpunished. Jean-Claude Katende needs immediate and serious protection from the authorities,” said Elisa Peter, Executive Director of PWYP.
The fight against impunity and for the respect for fundamental freedoms of expression, demonstration and association are essential conditions for civil society organisations to be able to carry out their work freely and independently, without fear of reprisals.
“Without them, and without the opportunity for human rights defenders to carry out their legitimate activities, the work of the EITI will not lead to true transparency and accountability in the extractive sector,” concluded Elisa Peter.
Publish What You Pay strongly denounces the threats of Mr. Jean Claude Katende and calls:
- The Congolese government to:
- implement immediate security measures to protect Mr Katende and guarantee his physical integrity and psychological well-being;
- conduct impartial, effective and transparent investigations to shed light on the above-mentioned allegations, bring perpetrators to justice and convict those responsible, in accordance with international standards.
- The EITI and extractive companies operating in the country sitting on the EITI Board to:
- denounce these attacks;
- engage in dialogue with the Congolese authorities to ensure that the above measures are implemented immediately.
Read the next article
Equatorial Guinea: A Move to Rejoin Anti-Corruption Group