Freedom in the World

Freedom in the World 2017

Congo, Democratic Republic of (Kinshasa)

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Freedom Status: 
Not Free
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Freedom in the World Scores

(0=Least Free, 100=Most Free)
(1=Most Free, 7=Least Free)

Quick Facts

Population: 
79,800,000
Capital: 
Kinshasa
GDP/capita: 
$456
Press Freedom Status: 
Not Free

Ratings Change:

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s political rights rating declined from 6 to 7 due to the authorities’ failure to hold constitutionally mandated elections before President Joseph Kabila’s term expired in December, a flawed “consensus” deal to extend Kabila’s term, and human rights violations perpetrated by security forces while putting down opposition protests.

Overview: 

Civilians and opposition politicians are increasingly unable to influence politics by participating in elections. Civil liberties are limited, but the population continues to exercise rights to association and freedom of expression despite growing state repression. Armed groups and insecurity are prominent in the country’s east, and state security forces have also been implicated in abuses.

Key Developments in 2016: 
  • Constitutionally mandated national elections were not held, and President Joseph Kabila overstayed his term limit.
  • In December, Kabila’s administration and the opposition came to a fragile agreement that revised the expected date for elections to December 2017.
  • There were several fatal attacks by state security forces against civilian protesters.
  • Various militia groups carried out acts of violence against civilians in the eastern part of the country. Security forces were also implicated in abuses.
Executive Summary: 

Political rights constricted in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2016, as authorities failed to hold constitutionally mandated national elections and President Kabila overstayed his term limit. Civilian influence in politics declined as the government cracked down on Kabila’s political opponents and antigovernment demonstrators. Journalists and human rights advocates faced escalating harassment, abuse, and unlawful detention at the hands of state security forces. In December, Kabila’s administration and the opposition came to a fragile agreement that revised the expected date for elections to December 2017.

Armed groups remained active in the country’s eastern provinces, committing human rights abuses and contributing to large-scale internal displacement. Officers affiliated with the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) remained implicated in human rights violations, with little effective civilian control over their activities.

Aggregate Score: 
19
Freedom Rating: 
6.5
Political Rights: 
7
Civil Liberties: 
6

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Congo, Democratic Republic of (Kinshasa)

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