DRC: Police Repress Protestors in Lubumbashi

Washington

In response to police using tear gas on November 10 against demonstrators in Lubumbashi protesting the arrest of 15 members of the National Union of Federations of Congo earlier this week, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“Freedom House condemns the use of tear gas by Congolese police against peaceful demonstrators, limiting their right of peaceful assembly and their freedom of expression,” said Vukasin Petrovic, director of Africa Programs. “As presidential elections set for November 2016 come closer, the government should respect fundamental rights and not aggravate an already tense environment, jeopardizing the chance of having free and fair elections.”

Background:

In January 2015, protests erupted throughout the Democratic Republic of Congo against a draft law that would have allowed President Joseph Kaila to extend his presidential term. More than 40 people were killed. In March, the government arrested more than 40 pro-democracy activists during a press conference, as they called for greater civic engagement by mobilizing youth. President Kabila has yet to announce whether he will stand for a third term.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2015 and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2015

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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