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Zaire Cabinet Minister Promises Human Rights

March 11, 1987

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A high-ranking minister in Zaire said Tuesday the African country’s new cabinet department will work to safeguard human rights.

″From now on, Zaire will have to be seen with the eyes of the future and no longer with glances toward the past,″ Nimy Mayidika Gimbi, minister of citizen’s rights and freedoms, told a news conference Tuesday.

He said he had just come from Geneva, Switzerland, where the United Nations Commission on Human Rights had declared satisfaction with Zaire’s reforms.

Asked to comment on statements about Zaire in last month’s annual State Department report on human rights, Nimy said he had only received it on Monday and had not read it yet.

The report notes that one result of the creation of his ministry last November was the release of 165 prisoners detained under what the report calls ″irregular conditions.″

But it states that ″credible allegations of serious human rights abuses continued to be heard in 1986″ and ″harassment of citizens by law enforcement personnel and inordinate delays in processing of detainees remained serious problems at the end of the year.″ The report also criticized government corruption and the policy of restricting criticism of the president.