image-resizer-phpIn a statement issued by the UN Security Council on 21 September 2016, its members “expressed their deep concerns about the violent clashes between protestors and security forces” which flared up in Kinshasa and other major cities of the DRC earlier this week. The fifteen-member institution “strongly condemned the violence, which has already led to the death of at least 32 people, including four police officers in the Kinshasa”, regretting the loss of lives and requesting those responsible be brought to account.

All protagonists to exercise restraint

Fearing possible re-occurrence of violence in the DRC, the UN body “called upon all political parties, their supporters, and other political actors to refrain from further violence or other provocations and to address their differences peacefully”. They urged all parties to remain calm and called on the Congolese authorities to exercise maximum restraint in their response to protests.

They further called on the authorities to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially the right of peaceful assembly. They also called on all concerned political leaders and their supporters to desist from undertaking any further acts that could continue to exacerbate the situation and heighten tensions. They called on the Government of the DRC to hold accountable those responsible for violations and abuses of human rights.

It is worth mentioning that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on 22 September 2016 issued a strong warning about the deteriorating situation in the DRC, and insisted that “there must be accountability for the killing of dozens of civilians and other human rights violations that took place during the outbreak of violence” in the DRC.

Recalling UNSC resolution 2277, the members of the Security Council stressed the crucial importance of peaceful, credible, inclusive, transparent and timely presidential elections, in accordance with the Constitution, for the stability, development, and consolidation of constitutional democracy in the DRC.

Reiterated support to Edem Kodjo but caution for inclusivity  

They reiterated their call upon all stakeholders to engage into an open, inclusive and peaceful political dialogue over the holding of presidential elections, in accordance with the Constitution, and expressed their support for AU appointed Edem Kodjo’s efforts in facilitating the dialogue. They urged all political parties to show responsibility by committing to the conclusion of the dialogue and called upon all involved to ensure inclusivity of the process.

The members of the Security Council expressed their determination to continue to closely follow the situation in the DRC, in particular the security conditions on the ground and the efforts to successfully conclude the electoral process.