DR Congo: The EU cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the aggravating political and security situation, more sanctions needed




On Sunday 25 February 2018, for the third time in a mere two months, Congolese people have taken to the streets across the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Kinshasa, Kisangani, Goma, Mbadanka, Lubumbashi, Mbuji-Mayi, Bukavu, Kananga, Beni, Butembo or Kikwit, with an ever-increasing turnout, to demand the respect for the New Year’s Eve Agreement signed in December 2016 and for President Joseph Kabila to step down. And for the third time in two months, the violent repression by the regime of these peaceful demonstrations organised by the Comité Laïc de Coordination (CLC) resulted in several deaths of civilians, the wounding of dozens and the arrest of over a hundred more, according to the CLC and MONUSCO. And once again, the Congolese government shut down internet and telephone services throughout the country.

In reaction to this, EurAc and its 38 European member organisations relentlessly continue to denounce the apathy and resignation in which the European Union (EU) finds itself, unable to act concretely and strongly and stand against a Congolese regime that does not respect any commitment it has undertaken. EurAc reiterates its calls for the EU to quickly take bold action with concrete measures instead of empty and weak statements. The targeted sanctions already applied by the EU against sixteen Congolese individuals responsible for grave human rights violations concern only a restricted list of persons but still spare Joseph Kabila's close inner circle as well as those responsible for the recent human rights abuses being currently perpetrated in the country. Moreover, the EU does not speak with one strong voice: some member states seem to pursue their own agendas dictated by their own bilateral economic and geostrategic interests.

Therefore, in support of the National Bishop’s Conference (CENCO), the CLC and all Congolese civil society actors and citizens' movements, EurAc urges the EU and its member states to extend the targeted sanctions already imposed to new individuals, key senior security forces officers and government officials, closer to the inner circle of President Kabila, responsible for serious human rights violations taking place across the country, including the recent killings and acts of violence during the 31 December 2017, 21 January and 25 February 2018 protests and/or for hindering the democratic process and obstructing a consensual and peaceful solution to the crisis. In terms of human rights, we demand that pressure be exerted on the Congolese state for the immediate and unconditional release of all those arbitrarily detained following the demonstrations in December 2017, January and February 2018, including the many activists from the pro-democracy movements Filimbi and Lutte pour le Changement (Lucha). Finally, the establishment of truly independent investigations into the violence of 25 February and 21 January 2018 and 31 December 2017, as well as the months of September and December 2016, is essential to establish the individual responsibility for this unacceptable violence and to render justice to the victims and their families.

The European Union today has all the cards in hand to act effectively and defend the values ​​on which it is based.


For media inquiry and/or more information please contact:

Julie Capoulade - Communications & Advocacy Officer - EurAc

Office : +32 2 725 47 70 // Mobile : +32 499 81 01 77