From Human Rights Watch
(Kinshasa) – The Democratic Republic of Congo’s new administration should demonstrate its human rights commitment by impartially investigating and prosecuting the killing of at least 10 people by security forces during post-election demonstrations on January 10, 2019. Many of those killed and injured were protesting Félix Tshisekedi’s disputed election victory in presidential elections held on December 30, 2018.
On January 10, Congo’s state-controlled electoral commission, the Commission électorale nationale indépendante (Independent National Electoral Commission, CENI), provisionally declared the opposition candidate Tshisekedi the president. This conflicted with leaked data from the commission and the Catholic Church observation mission that showed that another opposition candidate, Martin Fayulu, won about 60 percent of the vote. Fayulu’s supporters from a broad array of political parties began protests in many cities across Congo. While some demonstrators engaged in violence, the security forces often responded with excessive force, including unnecessary lethal force.
“Although the killings occurred before he took office, President Tshisekedi’s response to the post-election violence is an important first test for his administration,” said Ida Sawyer, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “After years of brutal government repression under Joseph Kabila, Tshisekedi should demonstrate that victims of abuses and their families can obtain justice.”
Human Rights Watch interviewed 66 people, including witnesses to the January 10 violence, victims and their families, activists, journalists, social workers, and political party leaders.
Security forces injured dozens of people during protests following the announcement of the provisional election results. At least 28 people suffered gunshot wounds in Kikwit, Kananga, Goma, and Kisangani when security forces dispersed demonstrators.
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