Alliance des Patriotes pour la Refondation du Congo
Of the many political crises around the world today, the bloody dictatorship of Joseph Kabila in the Democratic Republic of Congo goes largely unreported in Western Media. It appears that it is of little concern to Western Governments. There is nothing new here., When the current president Kabila’s father seized power during the Congo Wars of the late 1990s and early 2000s, they are estimated to have led to more than five million deaths – but five million African lives failed to make headlines in western capitals. Today too, President Kabila clings to power beyond the end of his mandate and repeatedly delays elections, as demonstrations are met with arbitrary shootings, arrests and torture, and as Kabila stokes further violence in the country’s tense Kasai province. This appears to mean little to British journalists and politicians who are focused on concerns closer to home.
Two RAPAR members, Maurice Luzolo and Barly Koyangbwa, are in the UK having fled persecution by President Kabila. They are also members of the DRC opposition group, APARECO (Alliance des Patriotes pour la Refondation du Congo), which works around the world to lobby and protest for the removal of President Kabila. They have brokered a partnership between RAPAR and APARECO to raise awareness of the situation in Congo, and to pressurise the UK government to do more.
Watch Maurice and Barly speak about the situation in DRC here.
Read more about the situation in DRC here and here.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
Write to your MP, asking them to raise the situation in DRC with the British government, and to urge the granting of asylum to those in the UK fleeing DRC.
Please send a copy of your letter or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can use this website: https://www.writetothem.com/. A suggested template is below:
I am writing to express my deep concern at the violence and political crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and am writing to you as my MP to ask that you call on the UK government to condemn the violence, urge the resignation of President Kabila, and grant asylum to DRC nationals currently in the UK who have fled political persecution and violence in DRC.
President Kabila has now been in power in DRC since he took over from his father in 2001. He has since presided over a bloody, never-ending civil war in the east of the country, two elections which were widely suspected of being rigged, and widespread political violence and persecution of anyone who dares oppose him. In 2016, his mandate came to an end and there were supposed to be elections. But the elections were delayed and Kabila extended his term. Massive demonstrations on 19 September 2016 and on 20-22 December 2016 were met with deadly violence. In a deal brokered by the Catholic church at the end of 2016, elections were to be held by the end of 2017, with Kabila standing down. But Kabila is now backing away from the deal [http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/spiegel-interview-with-congo-president-joseph-kabila-a-1150521.html], and refuses to rule out a third term in power. Meanwhile, violence is escalating in Kasai province, displacing more a million civilians as government troops and rebels are reported to have carried out atrocities. It is suspected that Kabila is stoking the violence in a bid to justify postponing elections.
The UK government has been worryingly silent on the situation in DRC – although the UK is the second-largest bilateral donor to the country. As a donor, the UK has considerable leverage over DRC, but failure to speak out about the violence and human rights abuses amounts to complicity. Please urge the Prime Minister Theresa May, the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, and the Minister for Africa Tobias Ellwood to condemn the violence and call for an immediate cessation to hostilities across DRC, especially in Kasai Province.
At present, the international community is urging that elections are held. This is a welcome goal. However, the experience of the last two elections in DRC involved widespread irregularities, intimidation and violence – and the process simply gave a democratic veneer to Kabila’s rule. After sixteen years of dictatorship, corruption and civil war, the international community must be clear that Kabila has no role to play in the future of DRC. Therefore, please urge the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Minister for Africa to call for the rapid resignation of President Kabila, with free and fair elections to follow.
Finally, the UK has a poor track record of recognising those fleeing DRC as political refugees. Those who have been tortured in Kabila’s prisons, or who have seen their close relatives shot arbitrarily by government forces, are routinely disbelieved and dismissed as liars by the UK Home Office. Many are stuck in legal limbo in the UK, terrified to return to persecution in DRC, but not recognised as refugees, while others have been sent back. Many who have been deported back to DRC have since disappeared [http://justicefirst.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Executive-Summary-of-Unsafe-Return1.pdf] Therefore, please urge the Home Secretary to grant asylum to all those in the UK who have fled violence and persecution in DRC.
NEWS & UPDATES
2.8.2017 - Watch APARECO member and activist Barly speak about the situation in DRC. Join this APARECO/ RAPAR campaign by writing a letter to your MP in the UK.
2.8.2017 - Watch APARECO member and activist Maurice Luzolo speak (in English and Lingala) about the situation in DRC.