Boston (December 20, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee’s Africa and Global Health Policy Subcommittee, released the following statement on the refusal of Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila to step down on December 19, the constitutionally-mandated end of his term. Media sources report that government security personnel have used force to break up peaceful protest in Kinshasa and other cities and that some protestors have been detained.


“I strongly condemn President Kabila’s refusal to leave office as mandated by the country’s constitution. Kabila’s persistent efforts to cling to power are a flagrant violation of democratic norms and an affront to the people of the DRC, whose right to choose their next leader through free and fair elections is guaranteed by the constitution.


“I also am deeply troubled by reports that the DRC’s security forces are using force against peaceful protestors. I reiterate my call on the DRC’s government to cease all intimidation and violence, end restrictions on the media and internet, and allow peaceful political activity.


“President Kabila and other DRC officials must understand that the eyes of the international community are upon them.  If they continue to stifle the democratic process and violate human rights, they will suffer further consequences, including additional U.S. sanctions.”