EU cancels DRC electoral observation mission over security concerns News
© WikiMedia (MONUSCO/Myriam Asmani)
EU cancels DRC electoral observation mission over security concerns

The European Union (EU) claimed on Wednesday that they were “forced to cancel” the electoral observation mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) after planning to deploy long-term observers across the DRC. EU Spokesperson Nabila Massrali stated that the cancellation was due to “technical constraints” outside of the EU’s control. However, the EU and the DRC are in the process of forming other options, including keeping a group of electoral experts in various provinces to observe the electoral process, aiming to ensure that Congolese people can expertise their political and civil rights in future elections.

The DRC general election is scheduled for December 20, 2023, and Congolese authorities are required under regional and international human rights law to ensure citizens’ political rights as well as fairness and legitimacy towards all candidates. More than 20 candidates will be running against President Felix Tshisekedi of the UDPS party.

Since May, the DRC has seen a series of politically motivated arrests and crackdowns, especially against opposition parties. In the capital Kinshasa, 30 demonstrators were injured, and military official Colonel Kangoli Ngoli was arrested in June on suspicion of attacking security forces. In the east, rebel activity persists against the UN’s peacekeeping mission. Furthermore, police have been accused of contributing to the violence by using tear gas against protesters, and mayoral orders have been used to prevent opposition members from participating in demonstrations.

Journalists also have been facing violence in the DRC. The NGO Journaliste en Danger denounced the arrest of journalist Sunday Kamate, who was accused of broadcasting a “prohibited program” on the radio in August. Journaliste en Danger denounced this arrest and maintained that the journalist did not violate any known provision of law.

Multiple countries, including the US, UK and Germany, released a joint statement in June stating their desire to see a peaceful election..