In the year since he took office in a bitterly contested election, President Felix Tshisekedi hasn’t done enough to advance human rights in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Amnesty International said Friday.
The international NGO cited last week’s ban on meetings called by opposition leader Martin Fayulu, the Engagement for Citizenship and Development (ECiDé) party candidate many still believe was the rightful winner of a December 2018 election long delayed by former president Joseph Kabila.
The ECiDé meetings were banned in six cities including Kinshasa, with at least five people injured in clashes with security forces. The incidents followed 10 protester fatalities in Beni in November, where civilians have demanded more government action to counter rebel attacks in the country’s troubled east.
“Although President Tshisekedi has taken some positive steps, such as pardoning political prisoners and allowing exiled critics to return, his government’s failures on accountability mean warlords and suspected perpetrators of appalling violations and abuses remain at large,” said Deprose Muchena, the regional Amnesty director.
“Meanwhile brutal crackdown on peaceful protests has continued to cast doubt on respect for the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in the DRC.”
Tshisekedi, the organization said, has done little to counter the culture of impunity the Congolese have long suffered, and his government rarely investigates and charges those accountable.
“President Tshisekedi declared 2020 the year of action,” Muchena said. “Without accountability and justice for human rights violations and crimes under international law, it will be impossible for the Congolese people to move on from the trauma of past violations.”
The complete Amnesty statement is available here.