Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms During the Pre-election Period in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Nov. 15, 2011, 7:57 p.m.

The United Nations Joint Human Rights Office recently issued a report describing human rights violations and incidents of violence in preparation for the national  elections  in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The report includes suggestions for various stakeholders to reduce further incidents  before the Nov. 27th elections. The full report can be found here.

This report acknowledges progress made in some areas of consolidation of democracy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and improvement, especially in recent months, in the behavior of some police  units tasked with maintaining order during political demonstrations. Nevertheless, most of the violations noted in the report targeted members or supporters of opposition parties, in particular the Union pour la démocratie et le progrès social (UDPS) and the  Union pour la nation congolaise (UNC). Journalists were also harassed or arrested on numerous occasions, most frequently by State intelligence and security actors, apparently for carrying out their functions. The report also notes worrying trends of manipulation of the State's police, intelligence and justice sectors by political actors. The report expresses serious concern regarding the current situation and concludes that the continued repression of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the pre-electoral period may increase the likelihood of individuals and political parties resorting to violent means, endanger the democratic process and lead to post-electoral violence.

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