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Source: Council of the European Union |

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): EU adopts sanctions against 7 individuals responsible for violence

The European Union and its Member States are deeply concerned about the political situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

With the 19 December deadline fast approaching, the European Union calls upon the Congolese people to show restraint and to promote dialogue by rejecting violence

BRUSSELS, Belgium, March 14, 2017/APO/ --

The Council has adopted travel restrictions and an asset freeze in respect of seven individuals occupying positions of authority in the chain of command over perpetrators of violence, with immediate effect. Meeting within the Council of the European Union, foreign affairs ministers discussed the latest developments in the country. Member states agreed on a declaration on the situation in the DRC.

EU declaration on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The European Union and its Member States are deeply concerned about the political situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The constitutional mandate of President Kabila will come to an end on 19 December, and the date approaches fraught with risk and uncertainty after the recent crackdowns and violations of fundamental rights. Any new government in place after that date must ground its legitimacy in a clearly and inclusively defined political framework, otherwise the country's relations with the European Union will suffer.

Efforts have been made to reconcile positions and to reach an inclusive agreement on a transition which will allow the country to hold peaceful, credible elections as soon as possible, in accordance with the Constitution of the DRC and UN Security Council Resolution 2277 (2016).

The European Union has supported these initiatives, in particular the ongoing mediation efforts of the DRC Catholic Bishops' Conference. It invites all political stakeholders, from both the government and the opposition, to heed its call to assume responsibility, show good will, and make full use of their good offices. It commends the constructive role that regional organisations and other countries in the region, in particular Angola and the Republic of the Congo, have played in attempting to find a peaceful solution.

With the 19 December deadline fast approaching, the European Union calls upon the Congolese people to show restraint and to promote dialogue by rejecting violence.

The acts of violence which caused the death of at least 50 people on 19 and 20 September in Kinshasa constitute serious violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, attested to by several observers, including the UN Joint Human Rights Office. In the Council Conclusions of 23 May and again on 17 October, the European Union pledged to adopt restrictive measures against those responsible for that violence and those who are allegedly trying to obstruct a peaceful and consensual solution to the crisis in the DRC.

Therefore, the EU Foreign Affairs Council have today taken the decision to impose restrictive measures against the seven individuals who hold positions of authority in the chain of command over the Congolese security forces which have exercised a disproportionate use of force.

The European Union calls upon the Government of the DRC to cooperate with a transparent and independent investigation with the goal of bringing to justice those responsible for the acts of violence. It also calls for full compliance with fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press.

The European Union will be monitoring the crucial political developments taking place in the DRC during the coming weeks with increased attention. In this context, additional restrictive measures may be considered in the event of further violence or the political process being impeded.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Council of the European Union.