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Democratic Republic of Congo: Politics and Government

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 24 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports his Department has received of political action in the Bas-Congo region in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 19 March 2008; what assessment he has made of (a) such reports and (b) the number of casualties; and if he will make a statement. (199223)

The violence which took place in the Bas Congo province in early 2008 is under investigation by the UN. A report is expected in due course. It has not yet been possible to determine reliably the number of casualties either of the violence on 19 March or of the clashes in Bas Congo in 2008 overall.

I am concerned by the violence seen since January in Bas Congo. The development of democratic governance in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) depends on representation of diverse political views, tolerance of opposition, respect for human rights and effective and accountable state institutions. I support the recent EU statement on events in the province, which called for the authority of the state to be upheld and for talks between the DRC Government and the political leaders of the Bundu dia Kongo, whose members have clashed with the Congolese security forces.