Verhagen shocked by death of human rights defender Chebeya

Foreign minister Maxime Verhagen is shocked at the death of Floribert Chebeya, the best-known human rights defender of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. ‘The Netherlands will take the lead in the EU to let the DRC authorities know how appalled we are,’ he said, ‘and to insist that the circumstances surrounding Chebeya’s death be cleared up.’

Yesterday morning Floribert Chebeya and the driver who was accompanying him were both found dead in his car.

‘Chebeya devoted himself for more than 20 years to the cause of peace in his country,’ Mr Verhagen said. ‘His death is a terrible blow to all of us who care about human rights in the DRC.’

Chebeya was executive secretary of the National Network of Human Rights NGOs of the DRC. He often worked closely with the Dutch Embassy in Kinshasa. As recently as autumn 2009 he was in The Hague for talks on the human rights situation in his country.