February 26, 2018

Menendez on Government-Sanctioned Violence Against Peaceful Protestors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

WASHINGTON –- U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the following statement condemning the government-sanctioned violence this weekend that resulted in the deaths of innocent people and the unjust imprisonment of peaceful protesters in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the violent suppression, mass arrests and killing of peaceful protesters in Kinshasa this past weekend.  The excessive use of force against those advocating peacefully for elections demonstrates a wanton disregard by President Kabila’s government for the lives of Congolese citizens.  Sadly, attempts to suppress dissent and free speech are emblematic of President Kabila’s response to those who want to see change through the ballot box, as called for by Congo’s own laws.  The government must respect the right of people to freely assemble and demonstrate as called for by Article 25 and 26 of the Congolese constitution, and refrain from using technicalities to stifle dissent.  To the detriment of the country and its people, President Kabila has continued to flout the rule of law and ignore the 2016 St. Sylvestre Agreement to step aside and allow for credible elections.  It is past time for him to live up to the commitments in the Agreement and unequivocally publicly state that he will not run for a third term as required currently by the constitution, and to immediately take truly meaningful actions towards elections preparations.” 

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