U.N. condemns top human rights official's expulsion from Congo

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 21, 2014 5:15 PM

By Mirjam Donath

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday condemned the expulsion of the top U.N. human rights official in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and called on the U.N. Security Council to consider possible action.

The U.N. chief also expressed deep concern over recent threats against other staff at the U.N human rights office in the Congo.

"The secretary-general condemns the decision of the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to expel from the country Mr. Scott Campbell, director of the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

"The secretary-general reiterates that United Nations staff must never be threatened or sanctioned for doing their work, which is based on the United Nations Charter and, in this instance, mandated by the Security Council," he added.

Campbell left the country following his expulsion last Thursday for publishing a report that accused the Congolese police of abusing civilians during a crackdown on gangs in the capital Kinshasa.

The Congolese government rejected the report's findings, saying Campbell sought to destabilize the country. It declared Campbell "persona non grata".

Ban expressed his full confidence in Campbell. He urged the Kinshasa government to reconsider its decision and take swift action to halt the threats against other U.N. staff, Dujarric said.

He also appealed to the Security Council to "consider possible actions" in response to the expulsion.

Campbell cannot return to Congo in his capacity as U.N. director of human rights, the Congolese government said, only as an individual, if the consular offices approve that.

A U.N. spokesman said on Sunday that Campbell would return.

The Congolese army and militants in eastern Congo have been accused of numerous human rights abuses - rape, abductions, use of child soldiers and summary executions.

(Reporting By Mirjam Donath, editing by Louis Charbonneau and Gunna Dickson)