Jewish World Watch is deeply concerned by the latest attempt of President Joseph Kabila to silence any objective research and reporting by human rights defenders.
Today, Human Rights Watch (HRW) announced that Ida Sawyer, a Senior Researcher for HRW based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) had her work permit revoked and is being forced to leave the country. Sawyer has been living in and reporting from the DRC since 2008. As the pressure ramps up on President Joseph Kabila to conduct elections before the end of 2016, his government has increasingly been cracking down on opposition voices, independent researchers, and human rights defenders.
This isn’t the first time the Congolese government has acted to silence an international researcher. Earlier this year, veteran DRC expert Jason Stearns, director of the Congo Research Group, was also forced out of the country.
The United States Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, Tom Perriello, tweeted this after hearing the news:
The Congolese government cannot simply declare any human rights monitor persona non grata, and oppress local voices by imprisoning or forcing individuals out of the country. These tactics only serve to show the true colors and intentions of Kabila’s government. Repressive dictatorships act to silence human rights monitors and dissenting views and this latest action should merit a strong response by international governments who have been on the fence about what to do with Kabila’s attempt to hold onto power.
Resolutions have been introduced in the United States House and Senate calling for additional sanctions against Kabila’s inner circle, and any who stand in the way of free and fair elections. President Obama must act to increase the pressure on Kabila to step aside and allow for democratic transition to take place in the DRC.
Send an email to your member of Congress and urge them to support H.Res. 780, and support peaceful democratic elections in the DRC.