former Senior Director for Program Strategy, Development and Learning
January 6, 2012
During her 2009 visit to Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for the arrest and punishment of militiamen responsible for the widespread sexual violence and broader human rights violations that have devastated the eastern Congo for more than a decade. She described the situation as “one of mankind’s greatest atrocities.” But since flawed November 2011 elections led to renewed violence in other parts of the country, she has failed to defend human rights—and political rights—in the DRC with the same conviction.
After a wave of recent violence resulting in several injuries and the death of one person, authorities in Kinshahsa— a state in the Democratic Republic of Congo— have imposed a five-day ban on political protests. Police used tear gas and gunfire to silence protests related to the upcoming November election, targeting in particular supporters of opposition party the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS). UDPS’ headquarters were attacked on September 13 by supporters of President Joseph Kabila’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy –PPRD accused UDPS of previously setting fire to its headquarters.
A majority of Americans see democracy in the U.S. as weak and getting weaker, according to a national survey released by The Democracy Project, a joint initiative of Freedom House, the George W. Bush Institute, and the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.
Freedom House released an analysis of democracy in sub-Saharan Africa showing that the region has experienced notable increases in freedom over the past generation, although more setbacks than gains were seen in 2006.
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