World Bulletin/News Desk
The top U.N. human rights official in the Democratic Republic of Congo has left the country after the government ordered his expulsion for publishing a report accusing the police of abuses, but a U.N. spokesman said on Sunday he would return.
Spokesman Carlos Araujo confirmed that the U.N. mission had received an official request from President Joseph Kabila's government for the departure of Scott Campbell, the director of the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein condemned the government's decision and said two other U.N. staff on Campbell's team had been seriously threatened, without giving details.
"This is unacceptable," Zeid said in a statement. "The fact that their work, mandated by the Security Council, has led to these acts of reprisal is a very disturbing development indeed."
Araujo said Campbell had left the country on Friday for a long-scheduled vacation.
"As he is on leave, we are expecting him to come back to the DRC," Araujo said in an email.
Government spokesman Lambert Mende told Reuters that Campbell could not return to Congo in his capacity as U.N. director of human rights. If he wanted to return as a private individual, that would be a matter for Congo's consular offices to determine, Mende said.
The interior ministry on Thursday demanded that Campbell leave after publishing a report that accused police of executing civilians during an anti-gang operation in the capital Kinshasa.
Zeid said the government should investigate the "deeply disturbing findings" rather than seeking to punish Campbell.
Interior Minister Richard Muyej rejected the report's findings at a news conference on Thursday, where he accused Campbell of seeking to destabilise the government and declared him "persona non grata".
Zeid said the report had been published jointly by his office and the U.N. mission in Congo, and both he and the head of the U.N. mission Martin Kobler "wholeheartedly" supported its conclusions and recommendations.
Both urged the government to reconsider its position.
"With these acts of intimidation and reprisal, the Congolese authorities risk setting back years of strenuous efforts by U.N. human rights staff and some sectors of the Congolese authorities to assist victims of human rights violations and strengthen the rule of law," Zeid said.Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Ekim 2014, 22:53