Statement from Congo Men’s Network following detainment of two staff members by Congolese authorities
The Congo Men’s Network – COMEN – would like to clarify for the public, its partners and Congolese authorities, information circulating over the past week concerning the arrest of our staff and partners on May 06, 2018 in Nyanzale.
COMEN was in Rutshuru territory facilitating the activities of the Rutshuru Women’s Synergy for Peace and Development and the work of three journalists, reporting for IRIN and AFP on the synergy, inter-communal violence and human rights violations committed by armed groups operating in the region.
Since 2010 COMEN has been active in North and South Kivu and Ituri provinces and has always cooperated with all stakeholders and institutions of the Congolese State.
An order mission for the trip was signed by the current administrator of Rutshuru territory, local authorities were informed and all participants were in possession of the correct documents in line with the requirements of the country’s institutions.
Nonetheless our staff and partners were detained by authorities in Nyanzale. Two journalists – both English nationals – were subsequently deported and a female activist and former Deputy Administrator of Rutshuru territory, Mrs. Liberata Rubumba, was taken into custody.
Two of our staff members – Hubert Masirika and Muthaka Ilot Alphonse – continue to face serious threats from the security services, in particular the National Intelligence Agency.
We appeal to the Congolese authorities to ensure the security of our staff and to take into account the true nature of our mission and work in Congo.
COMEN’s vision is to build a just and peaceful Congo where men and women enjoy equal rights. Our activities focus on the fight against inequalities between men and women, sexual and gender-based violence through positive masculinities, responsible fatherhood and conflict management and transformation.
COMEN will continue to serve our communities in strict compliance with the laws and regulations that govern our country and the authority of the state.