KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, August 2, 2017 – Maman S. Sidikou, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MONUSCO, expresses concern over the arbitrary arrests and detentions which occurred in different parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), following peaceful civil society mobilization to protest delays in the publication of the electoral calendar and call for the holding of elections before the end of the year. On 31 July 2017, the United Nations documented over 120 arrests or detentions in Kinshasa, Goma, Lubumbashi, Beni, Butembo, Bukavu and Mbandaka. Among those detained were eight media representatives, including a journalist from Okapi and two members of the international press, who were released following MONUSCO’s intervention. Crowds were also forcefully dispersed in Kisangani and in Bukavu, where the PNC used live ammunition, resulting in three persons injured.
“I am concerned by the restrictions imposed on peaceful assembly and arrests of those who seek to express their political views, as well as by the targeting of journalists and the confiscation of their materials. I call on the national and local authorities to fully uphold the fundamental rights and freedoms as enshrined in the Congolese Constitution. I also underline the need for all political stakeholders, irrespective of their partisan affiliations, to refrain from any statement or action that could heighten tension and further polarize the political landscape”, said Maman Sidikou.
The Special Representative recalls that respect of fundamental freedoms, as well as a commitment by all stakeholders to exercise restraint and uphold the spirit of dialogue and compromise, are critical for the creation of an environment conducive to the implementation of the 31 December Agreement, culminating in the holding of peaceful and credible elections.