MEDIA STATEMENT – 27 June, 2017
Africans Rising Condemns Congolese Activists’ Arrest and Detention without Charge
Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity calls for an end to a growing campaign by the regime of President Joseph Kabila, of arbitrary arrest, detention without charge and harassment with impunity, of activists in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
In the latest incident, two leaders of the Congolese youth movement, Quatrieme Voie/Il Est Temps (The Fourth Way / It is Time) are being held by security forces without charge or cause in the capital, Kinshasa.
On Friday, 23 June, Quatrieme Voie Coordinator Jean-Marie Kalonji was arrested by Congolese security forces in Kinshasa and taken to a military site in the city. When Kolanji’s laywer and Quatrieme Voie spokesperson, Sylva Kabanga Mbikayi tried to see him, he too was arrested and detained. No reason was given for his arrest. Both are being held without charge or cause.
This is Kolanji’s second arrest by security forces. He was abducted by Congolese intelligence services in December 2015, and was held incommunicado for months and tortured. The government only produced him and moved him to a prison, after pressure from DRC youth organisations and groups outside Congo. The authorities have kept him under close watch since his release last August.
Africans Rising joins Quartieme Voie, and other solidarity efforts, in calling on the Congolese authorities and the Kabila regime to immediately release these two activist leaders, and to end its campaign of arbitrary arrests, detention and harassment of activists and artists in the DRC.
Muhammed Lamin Saidykhan, Coordinator of Africans Rising: “This repressive action is an outright violation of democratic and human rights. We condemn it, and the impunity with which such acts are carried out in the DRC in the strongest terms.”
“We commend the youth activist organisation, Quartieme Voie for their commitment to challenge this repression, despite the excessive actions of the Kabila regime and pledge our solidarity and support for their work,” said Saidykhan.
Congolese activists and organizations are reporting an increase in repressive actions taken by the Kabila government, as the President attempts to hold on to power.
The Catholic Church in the DRC has issued a statement condemning state repression, calling it “unacceptable” and exhorting Congolese citizens to stand up and get engaged to seize their destiny.
Africans Rising also calls on South African president Jacob Zuma, who recently praised President Joseph Kabila’s “progress” in the DRC and is a close ally of his – as well as other African leaders who support Kabila – to urge the Congolese leader to respect the democratic rights of activists and civil society organisations in the DRC.