UN / DRC

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ENGLISH , FRENCH 11-Oct-2017 00:02:22
The chief of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo told the Security Council that the publication of a “realistic electoral calendar, the establishment of a budget for the holding of elections, the implementation of pacification measures, and insuring the respect of fundamental rights and freedoms are the main conditions to advance the political process” in the country. UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / DRC
TRT: 02:30
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / FRENCH / NATS

DATELINE: 11 OCTOBER 2017, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

RECENT - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UNHQ exterior

11 OCTOBER 2017, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Security Council
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Maman Sidikou, Special Representative of the Secretary General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, United Nations:
“Recently, discussions have centred on the notion that elections would most probably not be held before the end of 2017, as had been foreseen in the political agreement. This has generated renewed political discourse around varying interpretations of the 31 December Agreement, particularly the implementation of the transitional arrangements moving forward. This has also, regrettably, led to the re-emergence of a climate of political uncertainty and tensions.”
4. Wide shot, Sidikou addressing Security Council
5. SOUNDBITE (French) Maman Sidikou, Special Representative of the Secretary General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, United Nations:
“I strongly condemn attacks by the Kamuina Nsapu militia, the recruitment of children, and the targeting of schools, churches, and other protected sites. I also denounce the disproportionate use of force and the deliberate targeting of civilians attributed to the Congolese armed forces. Violence must stop, and its perpetrators must be held accountable.”
6. Med shot, delegates
7. SOUNDBITE (French) Maman Sidikou, Special Representative of the Secretary General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, United Nations:
“At the present time, the publication of a realistic electoral calendar, the establishment of a budget for the holding of elections, the implementation of pacification measures, and insuring the respect of fundamental rights and freedoms are the main conditions to advance the political process.”
8. Wide shot, Security Council
9. SOUNDBITE (French) Lèonard She Okitundu, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Democratic Republic of the Congo:
“I would like to tell you here in front of the Council that we are party to the international pact on civil and political rights. The pact does not make these freedoms absolute. These freedoms are relative and restrictions exist, but those restrictions apply to democratic societies. In our country when some people are looking for a rebellion and want to have a demonstration and call for a rebellion within that manifestation, obviously, this does not follow under democratic freedom of expression. The necessity to maintain public order and public safety here takes precedence over exercising these freedoms.”
10. Wide shot, Security Council

STORYLINE:

UN Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Maman Sidikou, said the publication of a “realistic electoral calendar, the establishment of a budget for the holding of elections, the implementation of pacification measures, and insuring the respect of fundamental rights and freedoms are the main conditions to advance the political process” in the country.

Briefing the Security Council today (11 Oct), Sidikou said challenges related to the implementation of the 31 December Agreement have unfortunately persisted in recent months and discussions in the DRC “have centred on the notion that elections would most probably not be held before the end of 2017.” He emphasised that this has “regrettably led to the re-emergence of a climate of political uncertainty and tensions.”

The Special Representative noted that progress has been made with regard to the voter registration process, however uncertainty persists regarding the registration of members of the diaspora, adding that the financial resources required to ensure sustained progress towards the holding of elections are not yet forthcoming. He stressed the need for all stakeholders to ensure the respect for rights and freedoms in this period of heightened political uncertainty, including the respect of political rights and freedoms for all such as the freedoms of opinion, expression, and peaceful assembly.

Sidikou said the security situation in the DRC has also deteriorated further in several regions, with an increase in targeted attacks against the national security forces by the Maï-Maï groups. He also pointed to violent incidents which continued in the Kasai region, characterized by clashes between the Kamuina Nsapu militias and the security forces, as well as inter-ethnic conflicts. Sidikou strongly condemned attacks by the Kamuina Nsapu militia, “the recruitment of children, and the targeting of schools, churches, and other protected sites” and also denounced “the disproportionate use of force and the deliberate targeting of civilians attributed to the Congolese armed forces.” He said, “Violence must stop, and its perpetrators must be held accountable.”

Congolese Foreign Minister Lèonard She Okitundu said registration for the elections was in the final phase and the electoral commission was expected to publish the electoral calander shortly. He said his government believes in the irreversibility of organizing elections, but in a manner that avoids the bad experiences of 2006 and 2011. Okitundu said his country did not have a deliberate policy to use disproportionate force in its military operations adding that, if any cases exist, they fall under individual responsibility.

Turning to the issue of freedom of assembly, The Foreign Minister said the DRC is party to the international pact on civil and political rights, however the pact “does not make these freedoms absolute.” Okitundu said these freedoms “are relative and restrictions exist, but those restrictions apply to democratic societies.” He said, in the DRC, “when some people are looking for a rebellion and want to have a demonstration and call for a rebellion within that manifestation, obviously, this does not follow under democratic freedom of expression; the necessity to maintain public order and public safety here takes precedence over exercising these freedoms.”
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