UN highlight differences in treatment between DRC ruling and opposition parties

October 22, 2015 OPINION/NEWS

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By

Darell Maurice

The United Nations Office of Human Rights (OHCHR) has stated its concern over the differential treatment in the Democratic Republic of the Congo of demonstrations organised by the opposition and those by the government. The UN representative gave an update on the events of September 2015, its report indicating a marked shift.

In September 2015 five events organised by the opposition or civil society were either prohibited or repressed by the security forces, according to the Census Bureau for Human Rights of the UN. Meanwhile, seventeen events, support marches organised by the ruling party, were able to take place without hindrance.

This was particularly the case in Mbuji-Mayi, for example, on September 22nd. The city had banned a gathering of the leading opposition party the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), the local authorities having earlier been warned.

Jose Maria Aranaz, Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the DRC is concerned about double standards: “What worries us is that freedom of peaceful demonstration is the fundamental freedom of the Congolese Constitution for all citizens, even the opposition and power. Also, there are the duties of the authorities to provide protection to all citizens and all political parties without discrimination,” a reference to the opposition demonstration on 15th September in Kinshasa, which was violently interrupted by plainclothes men close to the ruling party, according to several sources.

According to the government spokesman, Lambert Mende, it is not the opposition that is specifically covered by these bans. He would rather it be “preventive measures when gatherings of power and the opposition are scheduled on the same day” as was the situation in Lubumbashi, Katanga last week.

 

 

 

 

 

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Darell Maurice

Darell Maurice is a Journalist based in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital city Kinshasa and works for Canal7kintv. He also blogs here.

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