DR Congo elections: ‘Excessive use of force’ in campaign must be avoided, says Bachelet

MONUSCO/Force Indian peacekeepers from the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUSCO, patrol in Kashugu in North Kivu in the far east of the country, to reassure locals of their security in the pre-election period. 1 December 2018.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

Deadly pre-election violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) sparked by police reportedly firing live ammunition at opposition supporters, has been condemned by the UN’s top rights official, Michelle Bachelet.

Issued on Friday, the warning by the High Commissioner for Human Rights comes ahead of presidential elections due to take place across the vast Central African nation, on 23 December.

“The High Commissioner says she is deeply worried about the reports of excessive use of force, including live ammunition, by security forces against opposition rallies,” OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told journalists in Geneva.

“Just days ahead of crucial elections in the DRC, it is essential that the authorities ensure that the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are fully protected and that they take all possible measures to prevent violence.”

The High Commissioner’s alert echoes a recent statement in September by her office (OHCHR) concerning the “violent suppression of peaceful protests”, despite commitments made by the authorities to lift a ban on demonstrations, which has been in place since 2017.

The current President, Joseph Kabila, has been in office since 2001, and as part of a political compromise, he is not standing for re-election, having refused to relinquish power when his second mandate came to an end in 2016. A former minister from the ruling coalition is running, and according to news reports, there are two main opposition candidates.

On Thursday, authorities in the DRC said that thousands of voting machines had been destroyed in a warehouse fire in the capital, Kinshasa.

OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said that it was unclear who was responsible.

“We do not yet know what caused them…there’s a lot of speculation about how it happened, whether it was deliberate, and then you know, which side,” she said. “But this again is an example of the kind of violence that has suddenly flared up this week in the lead-up to the elections.”

In a statement highlighting several violent pre-election incidents, the High Commissioner noted that at least three men were killed and several injured earlier this month “after police reportedly fired live ammunition and used teargas and water cannons against an opposition rally in Lubumbashi in the Haut-Katanga province”.

In another incident, also in December, the convoy of one of the leading opposition candidates for the presidency, Martin Fayulu, also reportedly came under attack by police, according to the High Commissioner’s statement.

Ensuing clashes resulting in the prosecutor’s office being burned down, while further violence during Fayulu’s campaign in Kalemie, Tanganyika province, led to the death of a young woman and injuries to at least nine others, “including two by live ammunition”.

On Thursday 13 December, in Mbuji Mayi in Kasai Orientale province, Ms Shamdasani added that a 16-year-old boy was reportedly killed by a soldier of the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC).

This was after the provincial governor had deployed soldiers and police officers on several roads to prevent people from greeting another presidential candidate, Felix Tshisekedi, she said.

While the High Commissioner’s warning is directed principally at the government of President Joseph Kabila, she also expressed concern that supporters of the opposition have also reportedly disrupted campaigning by presidential majority candidates in the provinces of Kwilu, Kasai, Maniema and the Kivus.

Noting the “already tense electoral environment”, Ms. Shamdasani repeated the High Commissioner’s appeal to the Government “to ensure that these incidents are promptly investigated and that the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly – which are essential conditions for credible elections – are fully protected”.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

The Cold War had an unintended side effect: It created a European wildlife paradise

Managing and resolving conflicts in a politically inclined group of team members

Can privatisation be the panacea for the lack of growth in Europe?

European Fund for Transition to support more workers made redundant

Trump questions US – Europe kinship, approaches Russia

Addressing the consequences of digitalisation in the Russia & CIS region

Eurozone: Retail sales and inflation point to recession

How fungi could save the world

EU Court of Justice invalidates Safe Harbour and the game for thousands US businesses suddenly changes

CEOs in these countries are more likely to go with their gut

The EU sides with China against the US; but has Germany capitulated to America?

WhatsApp to face scrutiny from EU regulators task force over data sharing with Facebook

Food safety: more transparency, better risk prevention

Commission presents far-reaching anti-tax evasion measures

If Macron defies Britain about the banks, Paris and London to clash over ‘La Manche’

We should look to nature for solutions to the global water crisis. Here’s why

Italy can stand the US rating agencies’ meaningless degrading

Ukraine: turning challenges into opportunities


Council Presidency: Floundering with the EU 2014 budget

What little Cameron got in Brussels seems enough to keep Britain in the EU

Will GDPR block Blockchain?

Greenpeace’s saints and sinners in the tech world

What will Germany look like after the next election?

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s speech from World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of New Champions

Poverty and social exclusion skyrocket with austerity

EU integration: MEPs want to end permanent opt-outs from EU law

1 million citizens try to create a new EU institution

Industry 4.0: Championing Europe’s fourth industrial revolution

Youth policy in Europe not delivering for young people

The impossible end of the war in Syria

More than 750 million people around the world would migrate if they could

Clamp down on illegal trade in pets, urge Public Health Committee MEPs

Congrats to the #FutureofMalta: a new age of voting

Eurozone: Negative statistics bring deflation and recession closer

A new crop of EU ‘Boards’ override the democratic accountability and undermine the EU project

EU Council: Private web data to be protected by…abusers

UN rights office appeals for peaceful Zimbabwe elections amid reports of intimidation

Germany and OSCE support an east-west dialogue in Ukraine without exclusions

The right approach to addressing overcapacity problem from a Chinese perspective

Greece bailout ends but with no substantial effect on citizens’ life

Yesterday’s “jokes” and sarcasm by Digital Single Market’s Vice President Ansip on EU member states’ right to protect their telco markets

Why today’s leaders need to know about the power of narratives

GSMA head urges regulators to help Europe regain leadership

Rohingya refugee shelters ‘washed away’ in Bangladesh monsoon rains: UN agency

Libya: UN Mission condemns deadly attack against police in country’s south-east

How will the NATO-EU competition evolve in the post Brexit era?

Lagarde’s metamorphoses, not a laughing matter

EU Council: The US airlines may freely pollute the European air

Volkswagen getting away with it in Europe

Mixed news about the Eurozone economy

Companies can help solve water scarcity. Here’s how

Progress in medical research: leading or lagging behind?

FROM THE FIELD: Sailing a traditional and sustainable path in Fiji’s tropical waters

Continue reforms to make growth work for all in Spain

To be fair or to be sustainable? That is the (retirement) question

It’s ‘time for concrete action’ says UN chief, welcoming inter-Korean agreement

Human trafficking, slavery reports and health of migrants in Libya

Businesses can lead a revolution in disability inclusion

Improved access to financial information to curb serious crime

The Eurogroup protects Germany and blames others

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s