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Interactive Dialogue on the Democratic Republic of Congo
March 22, 2017

Statement of the United States of America
as delivered by Jessica Carl

Human Rights Council 34th session
Geneva, March 22, 2017

Thank you Mr. President.

The December 31 agreement between the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and opposition is the best path forward for the holding of elections and a peaceful, democratic transfer of power.  While this is a positive indication of the government’s commitment to peace and stability, only a successful implementation of the agreement, including the formation of a transitional government and the holding of elections, will bring a long-term resolution to the current political impasse.  The human rights situation remains deeply concerning.

We are troubled by continued reports of harassment and intimidation of political leaders, human rights defenders, journalists, and members of civil society.  We are particularly disturbed by the state security forces’ use of excessive force in response to protests against the government for its failure to organize presidential elections in accordance with the constitution.

Arbitrary and unlawful killings, torture, and sexual and gender-based violence are all too common.  Authorities often took no steps to investigate, prosecute, or punish officials who committed these crimes.  Action should be urgently taken to put an end to the extreme violence suffered by the population and to guarantee the protection of civilian population by the armed forces of the DRC, with the support of MONUSCO, and in particular through joint missions.

The government must ensure that all individuals, whatever their political affiliation, can freely and equally participate in political dialogue and public affairs, and enjoy fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.  These elements are necessary for holding a genuine and credible political dialogue and to prevent future violence.  We therefore call on the Government and all stakeholders to work constructively and in good faith to implement the December 31 agreement and work toward free, transparent, inclusive and peaceful elections.

We would like to ask the panelists the following questions:

What actions can the Independent National Electoral Commission take to hold credible elections?  What is needed to ensure a transparent, credible, and timely judicial process?  What actions can be taken to encourage parties to commit to negotiations in good faith?

Thank you Mr. President.