Press release on the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo

    The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) notes with concern the human rights violations perpetrated in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following the peaceful demonstrations of 31 December 2017 organized by groups of citizens protesting against the repeated postponement of the presidential elections.

    The Commission is deeply concerned about the loss of human lives as well as the number of people injured as a result, in particular, of the excessive use of force, and allegations regarding the firing of live bullets and tear gas by law enforcement officers to repress and disperse the demonstrators. 

    The Commission also notes the arbitrary arrests and detention which ensued. 

    The Commission strongly condemns the abusive and disproportionate use of force against peaceful demonstrators and all other human rights violations perpetrated, largely echoed in the national and international media. 

    The Commission calls upon the Congolese authorities to conduct fair and independent investigations with the aim of bringing the alleged perpetrators of these violations to justice. It also calls upon the Government of the DRC to put an end to arbitrary arrest and detention and to guarantee all detained demonstrators the right to a fair trial. 

    Further, the Commission urges the Congolese authorities to fully comply with regional and international standards on the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officers.

    The Commission reminds the Congolese Government of its obligations to guarantee the fundamental rights of citizens, including the right to life and physical integrity, access to justice and fair trial, as well as freedoms of expression, association and assembly as provided for in Articles 4, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and in other relevant regional and international human rights instruments. 

    The Commission finally urges the Congolese political class to respect and effectively implement the Political Agreement of 31 December, and encourages the different stakeholders to take all necessary measures to maintain social harmony through dialogue and consensus. 

     

    Commissioner Soyata Maiga

     

    Commissioner in charge of monitoring the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo

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      Date: 08 January 2018

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