Procedure : 2016/3001(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-1320/2016

Texts tabled :

B8-1320/2016

Debates :

PV 01/12/2016 - 3
CRE 01/12/2016 - 3

Votes :

PV 01/12/2016 - 6.24
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2016)0479

DRAFT MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 261kWORD 50k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-1310/2016
28.11.2016
PE593.757v01-00
 
B8-1320/2016

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure


on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2016/3001(RSP))


Hilde Vautmans, Ivan Jakovčić on behalf of the ALDE Group

European Parliament resolution on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2016/3001(RSP))  
B8-1320/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its earlier resolutions on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in particular those of 9 July and 17 December 2015 and 10 March and 23 June 2016, and to the debates without resolutions of 10 October 2016,

–  having regard to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly resolution of 15 June 2016 on the pre-electoral and security situation in the DRC,

–  having regard to the statement of 20 September 2016 on the situation in the DRC, in which the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly called for calm to resolve the crisis through dialogue and with respect for the constitution,

–  having regard to the statements on the situation in the DRC issued by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign and Security Policy (VP/HR) and her spokesperson, in particular that of 23 November 2016 on efforts underway in the DRC,

–  having regard to the United Nations Security Council resolutions on the DRC, in particular Resolution 2198 (2015) on renewing the DRC sanctions regime and the mandate of the Expert Group,

–  having regard to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2277, which emphasised the importance of seeking consensus among all political, civil society and religious community stakeholders and of the principles laid down in the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance,

–  having regard to the revised Cotonou Agreement,

–  having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights of June 1981,

–  having regard to the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance,

–  having regard to the DRC Constitution of 18 February 2006,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the ruling party and the President bear primary responsibility for the recurrent conflicts and continuing violence in the DRC, owing to their desire to remain in power beyond 19 December 2016 in breach of the letter and spirit of the constitution;

B.  whereas in September 2015 President Kabila announced the launch of a national dialogue which his opponents believed to be an administrative and technical manoeuvre designed to delay the elections;

C.  whereas the presidential and parliamentary elections due to be held in November 2016 were put back until April 2018 under the agreement of 18 October 2016 concluded as a result of the ‘inclusive national political dialogue’ facilitated by Mr Edem Kodjo between the presidential majority and a section of the opposition and of civil society; 

D.  whereas that inclusive dialogue was boycotted by a large section of the opposition – the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), the G7, the Dynamic Opposition and the Congo Liberation Movement (MLC) – in the ‘Rassemblement’ coalition; whereas this situation resulted in an increase in political tension, unrest and violence throughout the country;

E.  whereas the dialogue had to be temporarily broken off owing to the authorised demonstrations organised on 19 and 20 September 2016 by the opposition and civil society groups in order to call for the presidential election to be held within the constitutional deadline; whereas those demonstrations were brutally put down by the police, with 37 deaths being reported by the authorities and more than 100 by the opposition;

F.  whereas the agreement of 18 October 2016 has failed to bring the hoped-for stability, owing to its lack of inclusivity, to the length of the transitional period and to uncertainty over the question of compliance with the constitution and with electoral law;

G.  whereas the independent national electoral commission (CENI) needs to take appropriate steps to restore its credibility;

H.  whereas, according to the information available, there has been an upsurge in serious human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law by members of the army (FARDC), the National Intelligence Agency, the Republican Guard and the national police, in particular against opposition members and civil society representatives in connection with the electoral process, resulting in a shrinking of the country’s democratic space and political arena;

I.  whereas the continuing increase in human rights violations and the crackdown on political opponents have been accompanied by an onslaught on press freedoms, as illustrated by the murder of a journalist working for the state broadcaster RTNC and the blocking of the signal of radio stations such as Radio France Internationale, the Voice of America, the BBC, the Belgian French-language station RTBF and the United Nations station Radio Okapi;

J.  whereas, following this unacceptable restriction of freedom of expression, on 5 November 2016 the communications minister signed an order amending the broadcasting rules applying to foreign media in the DRC and effectively placing them under the direct control of the government;

K.  whereas the DRC ranks 152nd out of a total of 180 countries in the 2016 World Press Freedom Index drawn up by Reporters without Borders (RSF);

L.  whereas the steady increase in violence and human rights and international law violations – in particular in measures targeted against certain groups and arbitrary arrests – is undermining all the efforts being made to reach a settlement and stabilise the situation in the DRC;

M.  whereas Frédéric Boyenga Bofala, an opposition party leader who had contacted a number of members of the presidential majority and the opposition in order to highlight the need for a more inclusive dialogue, was taken away, together with his bodyguard, by the security forces on 17 November 2016, and whereas the two men have not been seen since then;

N.  whereas President Kabila’s state of the nation address of 15 November 2016 was unconvincing and even failed to win over the members of the ‘Rassemblement’ coalition, despite the fact that they were more in favour of the idea of initiating a genuinely inclusive dialogue and reaching a political settlement that could involve a handing over of power on the basis of sound guarantees of compliance with the constitution;

O.  whereas the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO), which offered to help seek a broad consensus – which is essential – on the basis of the agreement of 18 October 2016, was not encouraged by the address given by President Kabila;

P.  whereas the appointment of a new prime minister on 17 November 2016 and the formation of a new government in the DRC come at a critical time, only a few weeks before the constitutional deadline of 19 December 2016;

Q.  whereas the day after 19 December, the government will be required, on the basis of temporary and inclusive arrangements, to take the steps necessary in order to hold credible, transparent and peaceful elections and to handle urgent day-to-day business;

1.  Reminds the authorities, and first and foremost the President, of the DRC of their duty to protect the public throughout the country, in particular against all abuses and crimes, and to discharge their governmental duties in strict compliance with the rule of law;

2.  Reiterates its commitment and its determination to speak out against all human rights abuses and to defend the rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression, association and assembly and freedom of the press, of all citizens of the DRC; strongly condemns the abuses and bloody crackdown that took place during the peaceful authorised demonstration of 19 September 2016 and on the following day;

3.  Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience and for the charges against them to be dropped; calls also for a thorough, transparent and independent investigation into all crimes and abuses committed in the country and for those responsible, irrespective of their political affiliations, to be brought before the courts to answer for their crimes;

4.  Condemns the measures taken against foreign media organisations and calls for them to be lifted without delay; calls for an end to all forms of intimidation and harassment of DRC and foreign journalists;

5.  Calls on all political parties and on civil society organisations to exercise restraint, so as not to plunge the country into an even more serious political crisis, the humanitarian consequences of which could exacerbate instability throughout the region;

6.  Offers its full support to the CENCO in the mediation efforts it is undertaking with a view to reaching a genuinely inclusive agreement that meets the approval of the population as a whole;

7.  Draws attention to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2217, which emphasised the importance of seeking consensus among all political, civil society and religious community stakeholders; urges the international community, in particular the European Union and its Member States, to act on this resolution in such a way as to help establish the peaceful political environment that is a precondition for constructive cooperation between the DRC’s government and opposition with a view to finding a way out of the crisis;

8.  Encourages the President to take steps to dissipate tension and to agree to engage in a political dialogue under Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement;

9.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the VP/HR, the African Union, the ACP-EU Council, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the United Nations Human Rights Council and the President, Prime Minister and Parliament of the DRC.

 

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