re posted from Presstv.com
UN says DR Congo rights violations put vote at risk
The United Nations has warned the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that its crackdown on opposition groups ahead of the 2016 presidential election could “compromise the credibility” of the electoral process.
“Arbitrary arrests and detentions … of political opponents, civil society activists or demonstrators, were … used by the security forces to restrict freedoms of expression,” said a Tuesday report by United Nations Joint Human Rights Office in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The report added that in the first nine months of 2015, at least “143 human rights violations linked to the electoral process” have been documented and hundreds of political opponents have been arrested in this regard.
The UN office blames the African country’s national intelligence agency, also known as the ANR, for the crackdown.
The violations mainly took place in the provinces of Kinshasa, North and South Kivu and Eastern Kasai, where opposition parties and civil society are active, the report said.
“This trend of restricting freedom of expression … indicates a shrinking of the democratic space likely to compromise the credibility of the electoral process.”
Political tension has been on the rise in the DRC over the past months as the country nears the presidential election for 2016.
Under the current constitution, President Joseph Kabila, who has been in office since 2001, must give the post to a successor.
Last month, President Kabila said he wished to form a “national dialogue” aimed at reaching a wide consensus to enable “appeased elections” to go ahead. The opposition has rejected the formation of such a dialogue.
The DRC opposition considers any national dialogue as a means to enable Kabila to extend his constitutional stay in office beyond 2016