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Statement of concern over recent protests (against an electoral law) in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Statement of concern over recent protests (against an electoral law) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

22 January 2015

The World Council of Churches (WCC) and its member churches are deeply concerned by reports of widespread violent demonstrations in Kinshasa since 19 January, and call for restraint on all sides and for open dialogue on the electoral process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

We mourn the lives lost and regret the arrests and violence against protesters that have occurred in the context of demonstrations in different areas of the capital, and which are now reported to be spreading to Goma (North Kivu) and Bukavu (South Kivu).

We urge law enforcement officers not to use excessive force on unarmed civilians, and appeal to demonstrators to employ only nonviolent means of protest.

The demonstrations are in response to a draft electoral law which ties the next parliamentary and presidential elections to the implementation of a general census, which will take several years, thereby allowing President Kabila to extend his term beyond its anticipated conclusion in 2016. We call on the government of the DRC to respect the electoral calendar in accordance with the Constitution.

The WCC calls for prayers for the people of DRC, who have suffered decades of internal strife and violence. We pray for a new chapter in the history of the country, in which all sides join hands in building a better future based on social justice and human dignity.

God of life, lead the Democratic Republic of Congo to justice and peace.

Georges Lemopoulos

WCC acting general secretary