According to the U.S. State Department’s annual country reports on human rights practices around the world, in The Democratic Republic of Congo during 2015, “there were numerous reports the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings. Most reports concerned political tensions related to the national elections scheduled for 2016 or military operations in the East.”'
Authorities charged political prisoners with a variety of common crimes, including abuse of confidence, inciting tribal hatred or civil disobedience, and attacking state security.
There were reports of government intimidation of opposition members, such as denying opposition groups the right to assemble peaceably limiting travel within or outside the country, and political influence in the distribution of media content.
Both state security forces and rebel and militia groups routinely arrested or detained persons arbitrarily. Additionally, rebel and militia groups committed arbitrary and unlawful killings throughout the year.
In a statement issued on April 28th, State Department press spokesman John Kirby noted, “The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is experiencing a historic year that should – according to that country’s constitution – culminate in the DRC’s first democratic transfer of executive power.
The United States supports the Congolese people in their pursuit of timely, free, and fair elections and underscores the importance of open political space to a credible electoral process.
We are deeply concerned by the government’s arrest and intimidation of Congolese citizens participating in and preparing for peaceful political activity in Kinshasa and Haut Katanga Province the weekend of April 24.
The DRC government has, under its own constitution and its international human rights obligations, the responsibility to respect its citizens’ human rights including the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. Repression destroys the trust and confidence of the very citizens who are needed for any credible dialogue amongst all Congolese stakeholders.
The United States underscores UN Security Council resolution 2277’s pronouncement that a peaceful and credible electoral cycle, in accordance with the constitution, is critical to the DRC’s long-term stabilization and consolidation of democracy. The United States strongly believes that the Congolese people, free of fear, should shape the future of Congo.”