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Take Action: Tell Your Member of Congress to Co-Sponsor H.R.6207

The Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo) is barreling towards another national crisis that would send ripple effects throughout Africa’s Great Lakes region. Congo’s government recently announced plans to hold elections on December 23, 2018 but restrictions to political space, continued harassment and intimidation of pro-democracy civil society groups, and concerns with potential logistic and security vulnerabilities in electronic voting technology undermine the process. In addition, President Joseph Kabila has telegraphed strong signals that he is preparing to put his name on the ballot.

On June 28, 2018, the House of Foreign Affairs committee passed legislation out of committee that seeks to support free and fair elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The bill comes at crucial moment as the electoral process has been riddled with corruption and violence, and Kabila is weighing whether to run for a third- term, which would violate both the constitution as well as previous commitments he has made including the St. Sylvestre accord which was brokered Catholic Church in Congo, known by the French acronym CENCO, and allowed Kabila to remain in power until December 2017.

The legislation (H.R.6207, the Democratic Republic of Congo Democracy and Accountability Act of 2018) co-sponsored by Representatives Ed Royce (R-CA), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Karen Bass (D-CA), cites U.S. security concerns over “election-related political instability, endemic corruption, armed conflict, gross human rights abuses, and humanitarian crises, which destabilizes the region and causes massive suffering.”  If passed, the bill would require the Administration to send Congress a list of senior Congolese political figures who meet sanctions criteria. The bill also calls for U.S. action to support credible and transparent elections, freedom of the press, expression, and right to assembly in order to “ensure free and fair presidential elections in accordance with the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

We urge you to contact your member of Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 6207 them to immediately introduce this legislation.