DRC: Authorities must facilitate the right to protest peacefully to prevent further violence

Ahead of tomorrow’s planned protests on the postponement of the elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to 30 December 2018, Amnesty International is calling on the Congolese authorities to prevent further violence by upholding and facilitating people’s right to peacefully exercise their freedom of expression.

We urge the Congolese authorities to do everything in their power to put the brakes on the violence witnessed on the campaign trail and to ensure people’s right to freedom of opinion, expression and peaceful assembly are respected.
Jean-Mobert Senga, Amnesty International's researcher for the DRC

“We urge the Congolese authorities to do everything in their power to put the brakes on the violence witnessed on the campaign trail and to ensure people’s right to freedom of opinion, expression and peaceful assembly are respected,” said Jean-Mobert Senga, Amnesty International’s researcher for the DRC.

Amnesty International has documented dozens of violent incidents across the DRC throughout the electoral campaigns, most of them instigated by security forces and local authorities supportive of the ruling coalition.

 However, supporters of the ruling coalition candidate Ramazani Shadary have also been targets of attacks by opposition supporters in various parts of the country, including in Tshikapa, Kisangani, Bunia, and Kinshasa. In some cases, violence even broke out between supporters of candidates from the same coalition.

Those responsible for violence or incitement to violence must be held to account.
Amnesty International

Those responsible for violence or incitement to violence must be held to account.

Background:

The brutal clampdown on political campaign rallies and other demonstrations has left at least eight people dead, and dozens injured or arbitrarily arrested in the past month.

Since 2015 when President Joseph Kabila would not give clear direction on holding elections as his presidential tenure came to an end, at least 300 people have been killed by security forces in protests on the delayed elections, which should have taken place in November 2016.