It's easy to
forget that, even though we moan about discredited political systems and
infringement of civil liberties, in the UK we don't actually have it that bad. It's rare
that anyone in the UK
would feel in danger for speaking out against the government but of course
that's not the case in other parts of the world. A shocking reminder of this
came with the news last week that a prominent human rights activist was
murdered in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Chebeya Bahizire was the executive director of La
Voix des Sans Voix (Voice of the Voiceless), an organisation he
set up in 1983 to expose human rights abuses and injustice in the DRC. But last
Wednesday in Kinshasa
he was found dead in his car, and his driver is still missing. According to the
news wires, there'll be an investigation into Bahizire's death but there are
questions over how revealing it will be. So much so that an open letter has
been sent to the president Joseph Kabila from over 50 human rights groups,
advocating an open, impartial inquiry.
course, Greenpeace has a team in Kinshasa and
the challenges of campaigning there are markedly different than from a
comfortable office in London.
Intimidation and murder against those working to improve the lives of those who
are disenfranchised and disregarded is unacceptable wherever it happens, and
with the 50th anniversary of independence for the DRC approaching at
the end of the month, Bahizire's murder will cast a long shadow over the