DRC: EU and US slap individual sanctions in response to violent repression

(Brussels, December 14, 2016) On 12 September 2016, the Council of the European Union adopted travel restrictions and asset freezes against 7 individuals occupying « positions of authority in the chain of command over perpetrators of violence. » These sanctions target senior officials and agents of the armed forces responsible for the swathe of violence in quashing demonstrations calling for a political transition. The EU Foreign Ministers had previously stated in October that the EU would « use all means at its disposal » against individuals responsible for serious human rights violations, who promote violence, or who « obstruct a consensual and peaceful solution to the crisis » and the European Parliament called for targeted sanctions in its November resolution.

On the same day, the government of the United States of America also imposed sanctions on Evariste Boshab, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior and Security and Kalev Mutondo, General Administrator of the National Intelligence Agency, for « engaging in actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in the DRC ». This is the third wave of sanctions taken by the US government this year, after those imposed on 23 June 2016 to General Célestin Kanyama, chief of Police of Kinshasa, and on 28 September 2016 on Gabriel Amisi (known as “Tango Four”), army commander of the country’s western region, and John Numbi, the former inspector general of the national police, who have long been involved in serious human rights violations in the DRC.

FIDH along with its member and partner organisations from the DRC, participated in a series of advocacy mission before the UN (New York, Geneva), the EU (Brussels, Strasbourg), the AU as wells as influential diplomacies (France, UK, etc.). The sanctions adopted by the US and the EU particularly echo the recommendations made by our organisations during high-level advocacy meetings organised with key interlocutors at the beginning of December. FIDH and a coalition of 72 Congolese and 14 international human rights organisations also published a call demanding such targeted sanctions.

President Joseph Kabila’s constitutionally mandated two-term limit officially ends on December 19, 2016. As yet, he shows no signs of stepping down. FIDH and its member organisations will continue to monitor the unfolding crisis and support Congolese civil society in its struggle for democracy and justice.

For more information [in French] see here

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