A Federal Foreign Office spokesperson issued the following statement on 21 January on the unrest following parliamentary deliberations on a new electoral law in the Democratic Republic of the Congo:
The Federal Foreign Office is monitoring the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo very closely and is following reports of clashes with deaths and injuries following parliamentary deliberations on a new electoral law with great concern.
The freedom of assembly and the freedom of opinion are fundamental rights that must be protected.
The Constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Congo sets out clear rules for elections, which must be respected. Against this backdrop, we call on the Government and security authorities, as well as the protesters, to exercise restraint and to resolve these disputes democratically.
On 17 January 2014, the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of the Congo passed an electoral law that requires a national census to be held prior to the next presidential and parliamentary elections. The law has yet to be adopted by the Senate and signed by the President in order to enter into force. Parts of the opposition and other social forces such as the Catholic Church fear that the law is an attempt by the Government to keep President Kabila in office beyond the constitutional term of four years. Since Monday, there have therefore been clashes with the police in Kinshasa leading to deaths and injuries.