DRC: Environment advocacy group under threat

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Our reporter

In a statement to the press, the African Association for Defence of Human Rights (Asadho) denounces death threats by unknown persons against two environmentalists.

The latter would receive, since March, the anonymous phone calls where strangers threaten to “eliminate” if they did not cease their campaign against oil exploitation in the Virunga Park.

Both victims are Muhindo Alphonse and Bantu Lukambo, members of two local NGOs in environmental protection based in Goma.

According to Jean-Claude Katende, national president of the Asadho, these threats violate their right to life.

“I asked the Attorney General of Goma to take measures to ensure the protection of our colleagues and to conduct investigations for people who uttered these threats are prosecuted,” Katende said.

Local associations for environmental protection are opposed to oil exploration in the Virunga Park by the company Soco International. They demand to be involved in an environmental impact study.

The Congolese Minister of the Environment has granted the company the right to explore for oil in Block 5 of the Virunga National Park. This block covers about three-quarters of the total park area.

In a press release that Great Lakes Voice  obtain since March, the World Heritage Centre of UNESCO expressed its concern about this oil exploration.

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