March 3 (EUROPA PRESS) –
The NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) has appealed this Friday to the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to discuss with the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Félix Tshisekedi, about the need to guarantee that the elections next month December are “free and transparent”.
According to the organization, both leaders must address the “pressing concerns” about Human Rights in the country during the visit of the French president to the African country on March 4, according to a statement.
“Presidents Tshisekedi and Macron should stress the need for the upcoming elections in Congo to meet international standards,” said Human Rights Watch deputy director for Africa Carine Kaneza Nantulya.
“These include ensuring a level playing field for all candidates, transparent vote tabulation and prompt notification of results,” Nantulya added.
The deputy director for Africa’s remarks come after the 2018 election was marred by widespread irregularities, including candidate and voter suppression, and official results that lacked credibility.
In this sense, HRW has highlighted that the human rights situation in the Congo remains serious, with internal conflicts, corruption and bad governance contributing to rampant abuses, political turmoil and the internal displacement of 5.8 million people.
For this reason, on the occasion of the meeting, the NGO has asked Tshisekedi and Macron to discuss and commit to promoting Human Rights and justice in the Congo, including for the Congolese government to end the repression by the authorities against protesters. peacemakers, activists and journalists, and hold those responsible accountable.
“Recent arbitrary arrests and attacks on freedom of expression and civic space raise concerns ahead of December elections, especially in Itiru and North Kivu provinces, where martial law has previously been used to stamp out dissent.” , reads the organization’s letter.
Meanwhile, HRW has called on Macron to express his support for a rights-based mediation process, in which the African Union and regional leaders call on Rwanda to stop supporting “the abusive” rebel group March 23 Movement ( M23).
“Macron should listen and take note of the calls from Congolese civil society groups and African reparations movements for effective remedies to address colonial legacies (…) Both presidents should discuss the importance of reparations to break the cycle of abuses and impunity”, stressed Nantulya.
The M23 has been accused since November 2021 of carrying out attacks against Army positions in North Kivu, despite the Congolese authorities and the M23 signing a peace agreement in December 2013 after fighting since 2012 with the Army, with the support of United Nations troops.