Wednesday, September 21, 2016
U.S. Urges Commitment to Protection of Political Rights and Non-violence in the DRC
Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs
Department of State
September 16, 2016
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is facing an historic moment as the country prepares for elections and its first democratic transition of power. The United States government is following political developments in Kinshasa and notes the announced plans by some political and civil society groups in the DRC to organize demonstrations and other civic action in the coming months. The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is obligated, under international law and its own constitution, to respect and ensure the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly for its people. We are concerned about recent arrests and harassment of youth activists, and underscore the responsibility of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to ensure these rights are protected.
The United States calls on all sides to reject violence and inflammatory rhetoric during this transition and believes that any individuals responsible for perpetrating violence or repression, or for inciting imminent violence, should be held accountable. We remain ready to impose additional targeted sanctions on such perpetrators.
The United States supports continued and inclusive dialogue in pursuit of a consensus plan that prioritizes presidential elections as soon as technically feasible to ensure a peaceful transition of political power. We encourage all stakeholders to engage peacefully and constructively in the dialogue process.