US Senators urge UN to probe DR Congo killings
A bipartisan group of ten U.S. Senators have called on U.S. ambassador to UN, Nikki Haley to appoint an independent special investigation into the "unresolved" killings of two UN workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
UN investigators, American Michael Sharp, and Swedish-Chilean Zaida Catalan were murdered in March 2017 in the Kasai region of the DRC while they were investigating human rights violations.
In a letter sent on Friday, the senators, led by Pat Roberts and Cory Booker, expressed "profound concern" over the "brutal murders".
Calling the killings "simply unacceptable", the senators said the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the UN workers "raise serious questions and demand a credible, high-level UN investigation".
The senators said that the "unreasonable stance" of the DRC government, which "continues to reject the idea of an independent international investigation," must not "inhibit the pursuit of justice".
"Therefore, we urge you to expeditiously work with Secretary-General [Antonio] Guterres to appoint an independent, transparent, and comprehensive UN special investigation into the murders of Mr. Sharp and Ms. Catalan and ensure that any such inquiry is conducted in collaboration and coordination with other ongoing investigative efforts by relevant national authorities," they said.
The senators underlined that the investigation should move forward "as quickly and discreetly as possible-before evidence is destroyed or witnesses cannot be located".
"We further urge that, once completed, the investigation's findings be made public," they added.
In addition to Roberts and Booker, the letter was signed by Ed Markey, Jerry Moran, Lisa Murkowski, John Kennedy, Chris Coons, Susan Collins, Richard Durbin, and Jeff Merkley.
The Kasai region has been the scene of clashes since August 2016 when the leader of Kamuina Nsapu rebels, also called Kamuina Nsapu, was killed by police in the city of Kananga.
According to the Catholic Church in DRC, over 3,300 people have been killed in the clashes so far, while 1.3 million have been displaced according to UN estimates.