CongoRenaissance 41 De korte street Sable Centre, Office 801 Braamfontein P.O Box. 537, Wits 2050 Johannesburg /South Africa Tel. + 27(0)11 403 8859 Fax + 27(0) 11 403 8856 E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook : Congo Renaissance (CoRe) Statement by Congo Renaissance (CoRe) with regards to police abuse, harassment, and xenophobia against Congolese nationals in GautengCongo Renaissance, an organization of Congolese living in South Africa, denounces acts of policeabuse, harassment and xenophobia against Congolese nationals which took place on Thursday 19,2012 when hundreds of Congolese nationals were arrested and detained in a manner that violated theirbasic human rights.Congo Renaissance would like to first highlight few elements in the chain of these deplorable events: 1. On Thursday 19, 2012 around 4pm, hundreds of Congolese in Yeoville, Berea and Hillbrow were arrested (at Bars, Hairdressing Salons, Shops, Parks, Streets and SuperBet facility) by the Police force from the Cleverland Police Station. 2. It has been brought to our attention that the arrests were authorized by the Acting National Police Commissioner in Pretoria. 3. According to a police source in the Yeoville Police Station, their station was not informed about the police operation in their area. 4. These arrests indiscriminately targeted all Congolese nationals living in Yeoville, Berea and Hillbrow. Policemen, guided by a Congolese informant by the name of Zombi, a man with connection with the Congolese embassy in South Africa and the Kabila regime in Kinshasa, deployed violence against any male Congolese found on the streets, in houses, in shops, in internet cafes, restaurants, and parks. The operation lasted for about two hours and more than 150 male Congolese were arrested, brutalized, forcefully taken in police vehicles and held in police cells in various police stations. This caused public chaos and traumatized all foreign nationals in the area, in particular Congolese nationals. 5. Many arrested sustained injuries. At least one Congolese national was admitted in Johannesburg Hospital for a serious injury. 6. During the arrests and in police detention cells, Mr. Zombi served as the Police guide, instructing the police who should be held in the cell and who should be freed. 7. At least 137 arrested Congolese were taken to the Hillbrow Police Station, while more than half hundred were detained at the Johnfoster Central Police Station of Johannesburg.
8. According to our sources, the arrests were authorized after the Congolese Embassy in Pretoria opened a case against all Congolese nationals in Gauteng, who are allegedly the authors of the breaking of Embassy offices, early last December. Some of those arrested were given a notice linking their arrest to a case of public violence dating back to August 2010.9. Inside the police detention cells, policemen kept on asking detainees why they dislike Joseph Kabila. A clear indication that the operation targeted Congolese nationals that have been protesting against the recent fraudulent elections in the Congo and against the illegitimacy of Joseph Kabila’s rule.10. On Friday 20, 2012, the majority of those arrested were released in the evening; however, some ten people are still detained by the Police as they are suspected to be the leaders of the opposition against Kabila in South Africa. Based on these facts which we can fully substantiate with testimonies from witnesses and victims, we call upon:1. The South African Human Rights Commission and human rights organizations to ensure that right to fair justice of the detainees are guaranteed and they are not deported as their lives in Congo could be in great danger.2. All human rights organizations to ensure the physical integrity of the detainees through medical checkup for each and everyone, once released.3. The South African Police Forces to ensure the safety and security of the Congolese detainees in South Africa.4. The Independent Complaints Directorate to investigate into the conduct of the South African police forces with regards to this appalling case of police abuse, harassment and xenophobia.5. All stakeholders to ensure that the Congolese in South Africa can enjoy their rights as stated by the South African Constitution, including their right to freedom of expression, of association and assembly, as well as their right to safety and security.6. The South African Police Forces to apply the same policing standards with all people living in the country, irrespective of their origins.7. The political opposition to ensure that the Police forces are not manipulated by political interests of those in power.8. All stakeholders to ensure that Joseph Kabila’s militants in South Africa, including Mr. Zombi, The DRC Ambassador in South Africa Mr. Mpoko and Mr. Zoé Kabila (brother to President Kabila) do not abuse of their “power connections” to harm peaceful Congolese in the country.9. The ANC and the South African government to assist, in line with their liberation struggle spirit, Congo to positively achieve its democratization. Page 2
Thank you Johannesburg, 24 January 2012 Deogracias Biembe Jean-jacques Muzani Chairperson Secretary Page 3