Markey, Durbin, Murphy Introduce Resolution Calling for Democratic Transition of Power in Democratic Republic of Congo
Call on President Obama to impose targeted sanctions on DRC govt. officials who are responsible for violence and human rights violations
Washington (May 27, 2016) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the Foreign Relation’s Africa and Global Health Policy Subcommittee, Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.) this week introduced a Senate resolution calling on the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to comply with Constitutional limits on presidential terms and fulfill its constitutional mandate for a democratic transition of power in December 2016. In 2006, DRC adopted a new constitution that limits the president to two consecutive terms. Despite this constitutional mandate, the current president of DRC, Joseph Kaliba, who has already served two terms, has refused to publicly affirm that he will step down when his term is over, and his government has undertaken a number of actions that many observers regard as blatant attempts to delay elections from taking place on time.
A copy of the Senate resolution can be found HERE.
The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC (MONUSCO) has registered more than 312 human rights violations committed by officials of the government of DRC between January 2015 and January 2016, most of which targeted political opponents, civil society like – Fred Bauma and Yves Makwambala – and journalists. Opposition protests this week resulted in clashes between protesters and security forces in many cities across the country. Security forces fired teargas at protesters and there are reports that at least one person was killed and two others were injured during protests in the eastern city of Goma. According to the UN, these were most likely caused by police gunfire. Against a backdrop of many years of persistent instability and conflict, including the Second Congo War in which millions were killed, there is concern that the growing tension caused by President Kabila’s attempts to hold on to power risks sending DRC back into conflict.
In the resolution, the Senators condemn efforts by the DRC government to subvert the constitution, intimidate and harass political opposition, and engage in human rights violations. They also call on President Obama to impose targeted sanctions on those officials of the DRC government who are responsible for violence and human rights violations and undermining the democratic processes or institutions in DRC, including visa bans and asset freezes, until President Kaliba publicly commits to a peaceful transition of presidential power.