United Nations Secretary-General today expressed deep concern about the violent clashes between protestors and security forces in Kinshasa, and several other locations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“He condemns the violence that has already led to the death of at least 17 people, including three police officers in the capital,” according to a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson in New York.
The Secretary-General in his statement urged all concerned political leaders and their supporters to refrain from any further violence that could exacerbate the situation.
“He calls on the Congolese authorities to ensure that the national security forces exercise maximum restraint in their response to protests,” the statement said, adding that the UN chief also called on all political leaders to address their differences peacefully and through dialogue, in line with Security Council resolution 2277 (2016).
Mr. Ban’s call follows similar concern was expressed over the weekend by the UN Mission in the DRC, known by the French acronym MONUSCO, which noted that 16 civil society activists of the Union of Congolese Youth for Change were arrested on 15 and 16 September in Kinshasa while holding an activity on electoral civic education. The arrests were conducted by ANR and PNC officers.
The mission recalled that the freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly are fundamental rights enshrined in the Congolese constitution.
Maman Sambo Sidikou, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in the DRC and Head of MONUSCO, called upon all actors in the political process to "abide by the tenets of the Constitution, including peaceful freedom of expression," whether politicians, civil society activists or media organizations.