ZAIRE: Violence against democracy
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As the struggle for power between President Mobutu Sese Seko and his opponents continues, Zaire is sliding inexorably towards a total breakdown of law and order. The government is using the country's worsening political and economic situation as an excuse for appalling human rights violations, largely at the hands of the security forces. There is a real danger that the anarchy which characterized Zaire after independence is set to return. Zaire's independence has been marred by 24 years of widespread human rights violations under President Mobutu, but the scale of the abuses has been particularly serious over the three years since political reforms were announced in 1990. Many in Zaire hoped that the promised reforms would heral_d a new era of freedom and democracy, but these hopes have been brutally dashed. Thousands of opposition supporters, including members of the main opposition party. the Union pour/a dbnocratie et le progres social (UDPS), Union for Democracy and Social Progress, have been murdered, tortured., raped or "disappeared". Civilians have been incited to violence against other civilians who do not support President Mobutu. Thousands have been killed in incidents when soldiers went on looting sprees. Journalists have been arrested and opposition presses destroyed. In 1992 a commission on political killings - set up by the National Conference -. found President Mobutu responsible for arbitrary detention, torture, abductions and political killings. Political instability has also led to intercommunal violence, particularly in the regions of Shaba and North-Kivu, with thousands of people being killed and tens of thousands displaced.
- African Union Commission