"Alarming" use of force against demonstrators in DRC

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Demonstrators in Kinshasa. Photo: Eddy Isango/IRIN

The apparent use of force by law enforcement officials against demonstrators in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been described as "alarming" by the UN human right office (OHCHR).

More than 13 people have reportedly been killed and 30 injured in the context of several days of demonstrations in the cities of Kinshasa and Goma.

The protests are against the passing of a controversial electoral bill in the lower house of the legislature.

The bill is now before the Senate, which OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville said may escalate the situation and result in more violence.

” We urge the Government to promptly conduct a thorough and independent investigation into any excessive use of force by law enforcement officials – and in particular the reported use of live ammunition against protestors. Any use of force during demonstrations must be exceptional and, when used, must be proportional and strictly necessary.”

OHCHR also reported on Friday that State authorities had restricted Internet and mobile messaging services for more than three days.

It reminded authorities that it is the duty of the State to ensure that the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are respected.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 1’17″

 

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