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

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

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

UN launches drive to highlight environmental cost of staying fashionable

How supporting climate action on a local level can transform the world

We had the hottest June ever this year – this is what happened around the world

The financial world upside-down: debt failure closer

Juncker Investment Plan for Europe welcomed by European Youth Forum

Gender parity can boost economic growth. Here’s how

MWC 2016 LIVE: Orange targets VoLTE and Voice over Wi-Fi; strikes Google partnership

EU budget: Commission proposes most ambitious Research and Innovation programme yet

4 innovation hotspots in the Arab world

Take action on air pollution to save lives, and the planet, urges UN chief

Why Sweden’s cashless society is no longer a utopia

This is how music festivals are tackling plastic waste

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Venezuela-Colombia baby breakthrough, Italy piles on rescue boat pressure, States must combat hate, Kashmir rights latest and a musical plea to combat CAR hunger

Syrian Constitutional Committee a ‘sign of hope’: UN envoy tells Security Council

Microplastics have been found in Rocky Mountain rainwater

‘No justification’ for attacks against civilians, UN envoy says on mounting cross-border violence in Gaza

European Commission welcomes the positive assessment about how it has managed the EU budget

More than 90 per cent of Africa migrants would make perilous Europe journey again, despite the risks

How India is harnessing technology to lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Girls groomed for suicide missions fight back against the extremists of Lake Chad

These 5 foods are under threat from climate change

Rule of law in Hungary: Parliament should ask Council to act, say committee MEPs

Welcome to the age of the platform nation

Africa-Europe Alliance: Denmark provides €10 million for sustainable development under the EU External Investment Plan

‘Repeated attacks’ could close down key hospital in eastern Libya, says WHO

Brexit: political groups discuss options for an orderly withdrawal

UN condemns Syrian ‘war on children’ as up to 30 reportedly killed in clashes

This new solar technology can be printed or woven into fabric

Hostilities in Syria’s southwest, mean cuts in vital aid across Jordanian border: Senior UN official

My twin from Guangzhou

FROM THE FIELD: 10,000 Indonesia quake survivors to receive UN tents

How to help companies become global defenders of LGBTI rights

World ‘not yet on track’ to ensure children a better future: UN rights chief

Alarming level of reprisals against activists, human rights defenders, and victims – new UN report

EU budget: the Common Agricultural Policy beyond 2020

How revealing the cost of coal makes us all better off

Global aid needed for healthcare

Only one in five countries has a healthcare strategy to deal with climate change

The European Commission to stop Buffering

Large parts of the world are growing more fragile. Here are 5 steps to reverse course

Mine ban agreement ‘has saved countless lives’, but ‘accelerated efforts’ needed to end scourge for good: Guterres

Here are 4 of the most politically charged World Cup games ever played

Fed and ECB prepare a new party for the financial sharks

This is why Dutch teenagers are among the happiest in the world

Paid paternity leave should be the norm in the US

Overcoming the paralysis of trust management across a fractured IT landscape

The Peoples are missing from EU’s monetary union

“A global threat lies ahead worsened after the EU’s green light to the Bayer-Monsanto merger”, a Sting Exclusive by the President of Slow Food

Create conditions for ‘harmony between humankind and nature’, UN chief says on sidelines of G20 in Japan

How banking with blockchain can stamp out corruption and increase financial inclusion

5 things you need to know about water

“As German Chancellor I want to be able to cope with the merger of the real and digital economy”, Angela Merkel from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Four things Turkey did for business in the G20

Millennials (and Gen X) – Here are the steps you should take to secure your financial future

Impacting society with digital ingenuity – World Summit Award proclaiming the top 8 worldwide

“Leaked” TTIP document breaks post 8th negotiations round silence and opens door to critics

Zhua Zhou: Choosing The Future

“Be aware where you put your I Agree signature on and something else”; now Facebook by default opts you in an unseen private data bazar

Japanese law professor elected new judge at the International Court of Justice

This team of Saudi women designed an award-winning app to make the Hajj safer

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