1023599671Following the demonstrations in Kinshasa and other major cities across the DRC that claimed more than 20 lives, the US government issued a communiqué on 19 September 2016 condemning the violence and killing of civilians and police officers.

The communiqué stated “the US government is disappointed by the DRC electoral commission’s (CENI) failure to announce an elections calendar on 19 September 2016 as called for by the DRC constitution”. Washington was also “deeply alarmed by reports of violence that occurred alongside civic protests in Kinshasa”. The violence resulted in the deaths of 14 demonstrators and 3 police officers, according to the government; but the opposition says it claimed 54 lives.

The US government condemned all violence and called upon all Congolese stakeholders to exercise restraint and avoid provocation, while reiterating that the DRC Government had the primary responsibility for protecting human rights, including the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

The communiqué noted that the demonstrations underscored “the need for a truly inclusive dialogue process aimed at reaching consensus on holding presidential elections as soon as technically feasible and guaranteeing the country’s first democratic transition of power”.

The United States believes that any individuals who are responsible for perpetrating violence or repression should be held accountable, and remains ready to impose additional targeted sanctions.