23 October 2017

Congo-Kinshasa: Monusco Calls for the Immediate Release of Opposition Activists Arrested Yesterday in Lubumbashi

press release

The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) condemns the arrest of many members of the Rassemblement des forces politiques et sociales de la République démocratique du Congo acquises au changement by Congolese defense and security forces yesterday in Lubumbashi, in the province of Haut-Katanga.

The members of the Rassemblement were attending a private meeting at the headquarters of the Union pour la démocratie et le progrès social (UDPS). Three vehicles of the Police nationale congolaise (PNC) surrounded the venue before calling on a commando unit of the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC) to force entry of the meeting venue, where the members of the Rassemblement had barricaded themselves. The defense and security forces proceeded to arrest many individuals.

"I urge the Congolese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release those arbitrarily arrested yesterday in Lubumbashi," said Maman Sidikou, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of MONUSCO. "I also wish to remind the Congolese authorities of their obligations to respect the fundamental freedoms and civil and political rights of all persons, in accordance with the Constitution and the international obligations of the DRC ".

MONUSCO is deeply concerned by ongoing acts of intimidation against opposition members. Two incidents involving the use of firearms against the homes of Joseph Olengankoy and Alphonse Ntumba Luaba have also recently been reported in Kinshasa.

MONUSCO recalls the primary responsibility of the Congolese authorities to ensure the protection of all citizens under all circumstances, and to take the necessary measures to shed further light on these incidents.

MONUSCO further deplores the restrictions on freedom of movement which have been imposed on Kyungu wa Kamwanza, the national president of the opposition political party Union nationale des fédéralistes du Congo (UNAFEC), who has been under de facto house arrest for several months.

"Such restrictions on fundamental freedoms are incompatible with ongoing efforts to promote dialogue and to establish conditions conducive to the holding of free, credible and independent elections in a timely manner" said Maman Sidikou.

"Once again I urge the Congolese authorities to urgently implement confidence-building measures, and to open up democratic space for all".

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