Last Sunday, a large number of Congolese citizens suffered a brutal crackdown in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Goma… while they only wished to gather peacefully and pray.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders strongly condemns the use of violence by the Congolese security forces, the interruption of church services, the obstructions to peaceful demonstrations as well as measures taken to block the press and social media.
He calls for the release of prisoners and for an independent enquiry on these recent events. He presents his condolences to the families of the victims and expresses his solidarity with the Congolese people.
The European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council called last December for the respect of freedom of expression. In the face of the tragic events of last Sunday, the individual responsibility of their authors, but also of those who have not respected the New Year’s Eve agreement, is engaged.
The Minister will raise the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the next Council meeting. Only the full implementation of all commitments taken in the framework of the New Year’s Eve agreement, in particular those required to relax the current political climate and to open up the democratic space, will enable free and inclusive elections which are necessary to get out of the current deadlock.
*Kingdom of Belgium – Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation