FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The end of 2017 saw a rise in violent suppression of peaceful protests organized by churches in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), resulting in the deaths of at least five people. The government’s security forces engaged in excessive force against their own citizens, using live ammunition against protesters and tear gas inside churches, and arresting civilians – including altar boys. As the Security Council heard earlier today, Congolese security forces denied the UN Human Rights Office access to morgues, hospitals, and detention centers as they attempted to determine the extent of the violence.
“To hear reports of such brutality and cruelty against innocent civilians and children in the most sacred of places is truly horrifying. President Kabila must hold his security forces accountable, respect the human rights of his citizens, and follow through with his commitment to step down, in accordance with the DRC constitution, following credible elections in December 2018. The United States and the international community will be watching and we will continue to fight for the Congolese people and their democracy,” said Ambassador Haley.