The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
The Secretary-General condemns the decision of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to expel from the country Scott Campbell, Director of the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office. He is also deeply concerned by recent threats against other staff of the Joint Office, in connection with their human rights work.
The Secretary-General recalls that the Congolese people have suffered grave human rights violations, which the Joint Office has, over the years, helped to document as it seeks to promote and protect their rights, while strengthening justice and accountability. Respect for human rights is absolutely essential for long-term peace and stability in the country. The Joint Office and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) as a whole are mandated by the Security Council to assist the Government and its people in that regard. By impeding the United Nations’ human rights work, the Government is failing to uphold its obligations. Doing so can only be harmful for the country’s progress.
In keeping with the Human Rights Up Front initiative, the Secretary-General reiterates that United Nations staff must never be threatened or sanctioned for doing their work, which is based on the United Nations Charter and, in this instance, mandated by the Security Council. He expresses his full confidence in Mr. Campbell. He urges the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to reconsider its position on his expulsion and to take urgent action to address the threats against other staff. He encourages the Security Council to consider the implications for its work and objectives when United Nations staff are treated in this manner and to consider possible actions.