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UN Security Council urges political dialogue in DRC, calls for credible polls

UN Security Council urges political dialogue in DRC, calls for credible polls

Democratic Republic Of Congo

The United Nations Security Council has urged parties in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to commit to peaceful political dialogue whiles focusing on holding peaceful and credible elections.

The Council acknowledged the efforts of the Congolese authorities and especially by the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), with the support of various partners to revise the voters register and take concrete steps towards the upcoming elections.

They however expressed deep concern at increased restrictions of the political space in the DRC, in particular recent arrests and detention of members of the political opposition and of civil society, as well as restrictions of fundamental freedoms such as the freedom of opinion and expression.

They urged the government DRC as well as all relevant parties to respect human rights and to refrain from violence and provocation.

They reminded all involved of UNSC resolution 2277, which stressed the need to open and commit to a dialogue whiles ensuring the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of citizens.

Members of the Council welcomed the peace efforts by African Union and United Nations mediators working with political players to ensure that the country goes through the current political phase peacefully.

Kabila has been in power since 2001, and is constitutionally bound to step down after serving two terms (after winning 2006 and 2011 elections), opponents however accuse him of deliberately delaying the Nov. 27 polls to cling on to power.

Earlier this year, the country’s highest court ruled that Kabila could remain in power until the next election is held.

In March, the Security Council called on the country to organize the election this year, but the government says logistical and budgetary obstacles make it unrealistic. The election commission has said it needs more than a year to update voter rolls.

The government has however contracted Gemalto, a world leader in the area of digital security to help CENI with 22,000 mobile biometric voter enrollment kits.

The kits are to support over 18,000 enrollment centers to capture a detailed and updated national voter register through the acquisition of photographs, fingerprints and signatures of citizens as well as issue them personalized voter cards for the upcoming polls.