Congo suspends six workers aiding deported HRW official
29 Jan 2017 - 9:54
ARU, Democratic Republic of Congo: Six workers from the General Directorate of Migration (DGM) in Democratic Republic of Congo were on Saturday suspended over their alleged support to a deported human rights official.
Ida Sawyer, central Africa director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), was deported on Jan. 20 over what the government said that she had made “false declarations” on her passport.
The workers were said to have illegally issued visa for Sawyer in mid-January.
"Among the workers are the chief of operations, the deputy head of administration, an officer, and a computer scientist. All of those have been stationed on the Congo-Rwanda border post," security officer Steven Mwasa told Anadolu Agency.
Mwasa added the workers erased the name of human rights official from the list of "undesirable persons" of the DGM database.
Last year in August, authorities in DRC refused to renew Ida Sawyer's visa and sent her out of the country.
While working in Congo, Sawyer reportedly uncovered cases of human rights abuse by government security organizations and locals defended she was deported over her coverage of human rights abuses in the country.
"It is because she was doing her work without fear or favor that she fell out with the government. It is unfortunate that she has been stopped from coming back to continue with her good work," Ismail Kayeme, a local leader in North Kivu, told Anadolu Agency.
The deportation followed a New Year’s Eve deal under which President Joseph Kabila will face elections by the end of 2017, delayed from last November.