The resolution, adopted unanimously, provides new protections for human rights in view of the recent crackdown against civil society ahead of the elections. We are pleased that the resolution takes into account a number of concerns and recommendations shared with UN Security Council members by FIDH and its Congolese member organizations in early March, including the need to hold free, fair, and credible elections by November 2016, in accordance with the constitution.
In the last year, the situation for human rights defenders, journalists, and political opponents has seriously deteriorated. Congolese security forces have violently cracked down on peaceful protesters and other voices of dissent opposed to President Kabila’s move to run for a third term. Some activists and peaceful protesters have been arbitrarily killed, tortured, and illegally detained simply for practicing their fundamental freedoms. This trend presents worrying signs for the upcoming election. In this case, we welcome the UN Security Council’s decision to provide MONUSCO with a mandate to protect civilians, including in the context of elections.
The UN Security Council also rejected appeals by the Congolese Government to reduce MONUSCO forces, reflecting the Council’s reluctance to begin MONUSCO’s drawdown while armed groups continue to destabilize the eastern part of the country.