DRC: Release of prisoners of conscience first step towards restoring human rights
Following last night’s presidential pardon of about 700 people, including many detained solely for expressing their political views or participating in peaceful protests over the period 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2018, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Sarah Jackson said:
“President Tshisekedi’s decision to pardon prisoners of conscience and other people arbitrarily detained is to be applauded as a crucial first step towards restoration of human rights in the country. It must now be followed by their immediate and unconditional release from prison.
“While their release will fulfil a promise he made to free political activists [from the opposition] in his first 100 days in office, his administration must now go further and guarantee that no one else is arrested, detained or prosecuted simply for expressing their opinions or for peacefully exercising their human rights.
“Much remains to be done to improve the country’s dire human rights record. It is essential that those responsible for violating human rights in the DRC are held accountable, and victims receive appropriate reparations.”
Last month, Amnesty International Secretary General Kumi Naidoo wrote to President Tshisekedi calling for swift action to reverse the country’s abysmal human rights record and outlined a ten-point proposal for quick human right wins in the president’s first 100 days in office.
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