Procedure : 2017/2703(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0397/2017

Texts tabled :

B8-0397/2017

Debates :

PV 13/06/2017 - 11
CRE 13/06/2017 - 11

Votes :

PV 14/06/2017 - 8.10
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0264

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 264kWORD 47k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0397/2017
7.6.2017
PE605.506v01-00
 
B8-0397/2017

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 (2017/2703(RSP))


Michèle Rivasi, Maria Heubuch, Heidi Hautala, Judith Sargentini, Bart Staes, Jordi Solé, Igor Šoltes on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

European Parliament resolution on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2017/2703(RSP))  
B8‑0397/2017

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC),

–  having regard to the DRC’s political agreements of 31 December 2016 and of 18 October 2016,

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

–  having regard to the resolution of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly of 18 May 2011 on challenges for the future of democracy and respecting constitutional order in ACP and EU countries,

–  having regard to the joint press statement by the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union and the International Organisation of La Francophonie of 16 February 2016,

–  having regard to the statements by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and her spokesperson on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,

–  having regard to the statements by the EU delegation to the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the situation of human rights in the country, the electoral process and the so-called national dialogue,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 6 March 2017 and of 17 October and 23 May 2016 on the Democratic Republic of the Congo,

–  having regard to the statement of 2 September 2015 by the Team of International Envoys and Representatives for the Great Lakes region of Africa on Elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,

–  having regard to the statements of 2 November and 15 August 2016 by the UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region on the situation in the region and eastern Congo,

–  having regard to the midterm report of the UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo of 28 December 2016,

–  having regard to the joint press release of 12 February 2015 by the African Union Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and the African Union Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention in Africa on the human rights situation following the events surrounding the amendment of the electoral law in the DRC,

–  having regard to the report by the UN Joint Human Rights Office MONUSCO-OHCHR on human rights violations in the DRC in the context of the events of 19 December 2016,

–  having regard to the preliminary investigation report by the UN Joint Human Rights Office MONUSCO-OHCHR on human rights violations and violence perpetrated during demonstrations in Kinshasa between 19 and 21 September 2016,

–  having regard to the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights and the activities of the UN Joint Human Rights Office in the Democratic Republic of the Congo of 27 July 2015,

–  having regard to the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework agreement for the DRC and the region, signed in Addis Ababa in February 2013,

–  having regard to the EU Council decisions of 12 December 2016 and of 29 May 2017 concerning restrictive measures against the Democratic Republic of the Congo,

–  having regard to the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, signed on 23 June 2000 and revised on 25 June 2005 and 22 June 2010,

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

–  having regard to the Nairobi Declarations of December 2013,

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

A.  whereas, in accordance with the Congolese Constitution, elections should have taken place in 2016;

B.  whereas the Constitution states that a president cannot serve for more than two terms; whereas, accordingly, the current president, Joseph Kabila, is not permitted to serve a third term;

C.  whereas President Kabila has made every possible effort to postpone these elections;

D.  whereas on 31 December 2016 the ruling Congolese party AMP and the main opposition coalition, Rally of Forces for Social and Political Change (Rally), signed a landmark political agreement after talks mediated by the National Bishops’ Conference of the Congo (CENCO) outlining a political solution to the electoral crisis; whereas the agreement extends President Kabila’s term until a successor is elected before the end of 2017;

E.  whereas no progress has been made on the implementation of the agreement, and whereas CENCO withdrew from its mediation role in late March, due to the impasse in the implementation of the deal;

F.  whereas, in violation of the December agreement, President Kabila did not appoint an interim Prime Minister from the opposition;

G.  whereas the constitutional crisis continues to be accompanied by severe repression of the opposition, harassment of human rights defenders, the killing and beating of protesters, disappearances, incommunicado detentions and the stifling of the media;

H.  whereas freedom of expression and assembly in the country have been strongly curtailed, including through the use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrators, journalists, political leaders and others who oppose attempts to allow President Kabila to stay in power beyond the constitutionally mandated two-term limit;

I.  whereas in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, security forces shot dead at least 20 protesters who poured onto the streets to demand that Kabila step down after his constitutional mandate expired;

J.  whereas previous protests in September 2016 against President Kabila staying in power have led to a brutal crackdown on protesters and opposition forces; whereas the UN reported 422 victims of human rights violations in Kinshasa by state agents, including 48 people killed and 143 injured, eight journalists and 288 others arrested and unlawfully detained, and premises belonging to political parties being destroyed;

K.  whereas the UN-supported radio station Radio Okapi and the broadcaster Belgian Radio-Television of the French Community (RTBF) have been temporarily jammed; whereas Radio France Internationale (RFI) in Kinshasa has been shut down;

L.  whereas the UN and a number of human rights organisations have stated that a large number of human rights abuses have been perpetrated by state officials and that only limited progress has been achieved in bringing the leading perpetrators to justice;

M.  whereas a new conflict has emerged in the central Kasai region; whereas in March 2017 two members of the UN expert group on Congo were killed, while in the same month insurgents ambushed and killed 40 police officers; whereas, according to the UN, fighting between insurgents and government troops has resulted in at least 500 deaths and 1 million refugees; whereas the UN found 40 mass grave sites; whereas DRC armed forces have been accused of using excessive force in violation of international humanitarian law;

N.  whereas on 8 March 2017 the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, called for the creation of a commission of inquiry to investigate violence in the Kasai region;

O.  whereas the security situation in the east continues to be of concern as well;

P.  whereas informal, or ‘artisanal’, mining accounts for up to one fifth of the country’s economic output and employs millions of people in eastern Congo; whereas it is a ready source of income for rebels and corrupt government soldiers alike, as well as for traders from neighbouring countries operating directly or through local armed allies;

Q.  whereas as part of an effort to address the underlying causes of violence in the east, the Government of the DRC, along with 10 other countries and four regional and international institutions, adopted a framework to consolidate peace in the country in February 2013; whereas the various approaches taken by the Congolese Government and its foreign partners – including the stabilisation programme, demobilisation efforts and security sector reform – have produced meagre results;

1.  Strongly regrets the delays in the organisation of the next presidential and legislative elections in the DRC, which constitute a severe violation of the Congolese Constitution;

2.  Welcomes the political agreement reached between Congolese parties outlining a solution to the current crisis, remains seriously concerned, however, by the impasse in the implementation of the agreement;

3.  Urges President Kabila therefore to respect the terms of the agreement and to allow the organisation of presidential elections in 2017, in which he must not stand;

4.  Urges the Alliance of the Presidential Majority to negotiate in good faith the implementation of the agreement and not to use delaying tactics which would allow President Kabila to stay in power even longer;

5.  Urges the Congolese Government to immediately address open questions related to the sequencing of the electoral calendar, its budget and the updating of the electoral register in order to allow free, fair and transparent elections to take place within the coming months;

6.  Recalls that the Independent National Electoral Commission should be an impartial and inclusive institution with sufficient resources to allow for a comprehensive and transparent process;

7.  Calls on the Congolese authorities to ratify the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance at the earliest opportunity;

8.  Strongly condemns all the violence perpetrated, the breaches of human rights, the arbitrary arrests and illegal detentions, the political intimidation of civil society and members of the opposition, and the violations of freedom of the press and freedom of expression in the context of the electoral crisis in the DRC; calls for the release of all political detainees; considers that their detention constitutes a serious violation of the fundamental values of the Cotonou Agreement;

9.  Recalls the commitment made by the DRC under the Cotonou Agreement to respect democracy, the rule of law and human rights principles, which include freedom of expression and freedom of the media, good governance, and transparency in political offices; urges the Congolese Government to uphold these provisions in accordance with Articles 11b, 96 and 97 of the Cotonou Agreement;

10.  Urges the Congolese authorities to restore an environment conducive to the free and peaceful exercise of freedom of expression, association and assembly and freedom of the press;

11.  Considers this step to be of the utmost importance in order for the scheduled elections to be free and fair, if they ultimately take place;

12.  Calls on the Congolese Government to immediately revoke Ministerial Order No 010 CAB/M-CM/LMO/010/2016 of 12 November 2016 on the regulation of radio and television broadcasting by foreign entities, as it places undue restrictions on the right to information as provided for under Article 24 of the Congolese Constitution;

13.  Calls on the Congolese authorities to guarantee the independence and accountability of the Congolese security services, including the national intelligence agency and police; calls in this context for the EU to use its existing justice and security programmes in the DRC as leverage for dialogue with the Congolese authorities on the ongoing crackdown by security forces and to consider terminating these programmes if no progress is being made;

14.  Calls on the Congolese authorities to investigate, prosecute and appropriately sanction security force and intelligence officers and others responsible for the violent and illegal crackdown on activists, opposition leaders and others who have opposed attempts by President Kabila to extend his stay in power;

15.  Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all detainees incarcerated for political reasons and for all charges against them to be dropped; recalls that releasing political prisoners is part of the confidence-building measures provided for in the December agreement;

16.  Is concerned by recent reports of serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law committed by local militias in the Kasai region, including the recruitment and unlawful use of child soldiers and the killing of civilians by members of the DRC security forces, which could constitute war crimes under international law; calls for an independent investigation of the mass graves that were discovered and the events and human rights violations committed;

17.  Notes that the Congolese authorities have been slow in their disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) plan in the east; calls on them to step up their efforts and on the international community to increase its support for the plan;

18.  Welcomes the Congolese authorities’ efforts to implement legislation forbidding trade in and processing of minerals in areas where there is illegal exploitation of minerals, such as areas controlled by armed groups; calls on the Congolese authorities to reinforce the implementation of its legislation to put an end to the illegal exploitation of its mineral resources and urges the DRC to continue efforts to comply with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative;

19.  Regrets the EU’s very lenient approach to the crisis in the DRC, and does not understand why the EU has still not opened consultations under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement, despite constant violations of key provisions of this agreement by the DRC authorities;

20.  Welcomes, however, the fact that the EU has finally imposed targeted sanctions on those responsible for the crackdown on the opposition and the delays of the elections, including travel bans and asset freezes;

21.  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 European External Action Service, the African Union, the ACP-EU Council of Ministers, the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Government and Parliament of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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