Maman S. Sidikou, the Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of MONUSCO, expressed his grave concern over the wave of ongoing arrests, some of which are arbitrary, and detentions in the last three days across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Since 16 December, the United Nations has documented 113 arrests in the country, including opposition leaders and sympathizers, civil society activists and human rights defenders, media professionals and other individuals. The majority of these arrests were undertaken by the Congolese National Police (PNC), Agence National de Renseignement (ANR) and the Republican Guard and took place in Goma, Kinshasa and Bukavu. The United Nations has not consistently been granted the required access to verify the conditions of those arrested.
“I am gravely concerned by the arrests of those who seek to express their political views. I urge the national authorities to strictly adhere to their international human rights obligations, to create a climate of political tolerance and respect at this important juncture in the DRC’s history, and to grant full access to United Nations personnel to all detention centers. I call on the relevant authorities to apply due process for all those who have been detained and to bring an end to politically-motivated detentions” said Maman S. Sidikou.
The Special Representative wishes to recall his Press Release dated 18 December where he highlighted the necessity for all Congolese, and in particular the law and security agencies, to respect the laws of the Republic, and ensure the promotion and protection of human rights, including the freedoms of opinion, expression and peaceful assembly enshrined in the Constitution, in an open political space. This is essential to create a conducive environment for the conduct of meaningful dialogue on the way forward in the DRC.