McKinney Calls on International Red Cross Inspections of "Tutsi Camps"
Decries Words of Hate Broadcast on Congolese Government Radio
August 13, 1998
WASHINGTON -- Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D. Ga.) who is keeping
abreast of the war emerging in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRoC)
today called on the Congolese Government to insure good treatment of the
people it has rounded up and is holding in camps. "Even though my trip
to the region was canceled due to escalating tensions I am keeping in
touch with relevant persons on the ground on all sides of this troubling
issue. As late as today I have learned that individuals are still being
rounded up and placed in 'camps,' where their status is quite
precarious. This ethnic rounding up of people is painfully reminiscent
of the tragedy that wrought the massacre of nearly 1 million people in
neighboring Rwanda in 1994. The Congolese Government would do well to
allow the International Red Cross to assure the safety and protection of
those being held captive," said McKinney.
The civilian camps in question in Kinshasa are Nkakolo and Tchapchi. In Katanga they are Kalemi and Vyura. McKinney has learned from government
and non-government sources of executions of as many as 32 people. "The
loss of one life is too many. The human rights of all Congolese must be
protected," insisted the Congresswoman.
In addition, broadcasts over state-owned radio of hate words against the
Tutsis, such as "massacre them without mercy" and "take revenge"
certainly don't set the climate for peaceful, negotiated resolution of
this crisis. "Amid ethnic roundups and hate radio broadcasts, the
prospects for another genocide appear on the horizon. This must be
prevented at all cost," remarked McKinney.
As disappointment with the worsening situation echoes around the world,
McKinney, who sits on the International Relations Committee said, "I
must remain hopeful, but I am always disappointed with failure and the
loss of life; I continue to be disappointed with human rights abuse in
any country. In the past, I have suggested that the US engage with
Kabila in order to influence Congolese policy. I have very definite
ideas about a solution that saves lives and begins the process of
reconciliation. I'm also sure that I'm not the only one who hopes for
quick and just resolution of this problem. However, my ideas are only
relevant if the contending sides believe that reconciliation is possible
and are open to it."