MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in particular the case of two detained human rights activists Yves Makwabala and Fred Bauma
7.7.2015 - (2015/2757(RSP))
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure
Ignazio Corrao, Fabio Massimo Castaldo on behalf of the EFDD Group
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0690/2015
European Parliament resolution on The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in particular the case of two detained human rights activists Yves Makwabala and Fred Bauma
The European Parliament,
Having regard to the appeal of last 15 June 2015 launched by over 200 Human Rights Groups, "Free Filimbi activists", calling for respect for free expression in the DRC and for Congolese authorities to release two activists who were arrested following a workshop to launch “Filimbi” (“whistle” in a local language) – a platform to promote youth participation in the democratic process and which brings together youth from across Congo, including activists, musicians, bankers, insurance brokers, students, and community organisers;
Having regard to the Declaration of the local Delegation of the EU to DRC on the Human rights situation in DRC of 11 February 2015;
Having regard to the information report of the DRC National Assembly of 7/5/2015 Rapport de mission d'information relatif á la gestion par les services publics du dossier de rencontre "Y'A EN MARRE";
Whereas on March 15, 2015, Congo’s National Intelligence Agency (Agence Nationale de Renseignements, ANR) arrested about 30 pro-democracy activists and others at a Filimbi press conference organized by the youth movement in Masina, Kinshasa ;
Whereas DRC authorities released most of the detainees in the first week, but two remain in detention in Makala prison in Kinshasa: Fred Bauma, member of a Goma-based movement, The Struggle for Change (La Lutte pour le Changement, LUCHA), and Yves Makwambala, a webmaster and graphic artist and also the nephew of Kiakwama Kia Kiziki, a prominent member of the political opposition who is highly critical of the regime;
Whereas Makwambala and Bauma, as well as four Filimbi leaders who have not been arrested, were charged with belonging to an association formed for the purpose of attacking people and property, forming a conspiracy against the Head of State, and attempting to either destroy or change the “constitutional regime” or planning terrorist activities;
Whereas Congolese authorities have been holding Fred Bauma and Yves Makwambala for months without any credible basis;
Whereas the information report of the DRC National Assembly of 7/5/2015 Rapport de mission d'information relatif á la gestion par les services publics du dossier de rencontre "Y'A EN MARRE" found no evidence of plans for terrorist activities or violent crimes by Filimbi leaders and workshop participants;
Whereas other human rights defender Christopher Ngoyi and political party leaders Cyrille Dowe, Jean-Claude Muyambo, Jean-Bertrand Ewanga, Ernest Kyaviro, and Vano Kalembe Kiboko have all been detained for over four months, in some cases without charge and without access to their families or lawyers, for what appear to be politically motivated reasons;
Whereas it is clear that these activists are detained solely for exercising, peacefully, their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, and for having participated in a workshops on youth mobilisation to launch the movement.
Whereas the arrests of the Filimbi members and of others came in the context of a broader crackdown on peaceful protests against attempts to allow President Joseph Kabila to stay in power beyond his constitutionally mandated two-term limit, which ends in late 2016.
Whereas the state’s failure to provide adequate basic services – such as public health, education, employment, and security – over the years has created a strong civil society that helps fill the void in all vital public policy areas.
Whereas Civil groups have been particularly active in in DRC influencing the 2003 political transition, the 2006 and 2011 elections, the revision of mining contracts, the 2013 suspension of Congo from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the electoral law of 2013, and legislation against sexual violence.
Whereas there is growing opposition to the attempts to extend Kabila’s time in office beyond the constitutionally-mandated term limit, while Congolese democracy activists say that, in response, the hardliners are raising the level of intimidation of the opposition.
1. Calls on the DRC authorities to stop any further attack on rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly and urges them to free immediately and unconditionally Yves Makwambala and Fred Bauma and to drop all charges against them and other Filimbi leaders;
2. Urges DRC authorities to ensure that none of these young activists is submitted to torture or other ill-treatment and all of them are allowed to maintain regular contact with their families and their lawyers;
3. Calls on the DRC authorities to release other human rights defenders and political party leaders who have been detained because of their peaceful political views or participation in non-violent demonstrations or other activities, including the human rights defender Christopher Ngoyi and the political party leaders Cyrille Dowe, Jean-Claude Muyambo, Jean-Bertrand Ewanga, Ernest Kyaviro, and Vano Kalembe Kiboko;
4. Reminds that Congolese judicial authorities should assert their independence and ensure the protection of rights recognised by the DRC Constitution, as well as by the international human rights treaties ratified by DRC.
5. Asks the DRC political authorities to stop the use of justice for political purposes; arbitrary arrests and detentions by the intelligence services; the disproportionate use of force by the forces of order; physical threats against politicians and journalists; interruption of certain television signals; interference with RFI radio; and the indiscriminate blocking of access to mobile internet and SMS for extended periods.
6. Calls for the respect of the principles defined by the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance and invites all the relevant stakeholders to maintain a peaceful political climate allowing a calm debate, to ensure an open political space, and to guarantee freedom of expression, information, and assembly and the impartiality of the justice sector.
7. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Government of DRC, the Governments of G8 countries, the African Union and the African Union Commission, the African National Development Bank, the EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly.