Inside DRC

US senator tells Obama to ensure Kabila steps down

DRC President Joseph Kabila. (AFP)

DRC President Joseph Kabila. (AFP)

Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee’s Africa and Global Health Policy Subcommittee, released the following statement today after the Obama administration announced targeted sanctions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a measure that Senator Markey has advocated since February 2016.

“I welcome the administration’s decision to impose sanctions today against a key official responsible for human rights violations in January and February 2015, when police killed more than 50 people participating in demonstrations called in response to what many viewed as the government’s efforts to delay elections,” said Senator Markey.

“While the sanctions announced today were against only one official of the DRC government, they send a clear message that the United States will not turn a blind eye to human rights violations, attempts to silence political dissent, or efforts to undermine DRC’s young democracy.”

President Kabila is prohibited by the DRC constitution from running for an additional term.

“I remain convinced that continued delay by the DRC government in committing to schedule an election to choose his successor would severely undermine DRC’s democracy.”

Markey said it is time for President Kaliba to publicly affirm that he will step down when his term is over at the end of this year.

In May, Senators Markey, Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) introduced SRes. 479 calling for the imposition of targeted sanctions against officials in the DRC for human rights violations and for undermining DRC’s democratic processes.

In February, Senator Markey sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry encouraging him to consider imposing targeted sanctions on DRC government officials if they failed to meet clear benchmarks for holding free and fair elections in time for a transition later this year.

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