UN chief urges DRC to de-escalate tensions for elections

Xinhua News Agency


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday urged political leaders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to de-escalate tensions and create an environment conducive to holding of timely elections.

Protests erupted in Congolese capital Kinshasa and elsewhere as President Joseph Kabila's mandate has expired on Dec. 19 and the country has failed to hold elections in time to choose a successor.

In a statement released by his spokesperson, Ban deplored the reported loss of life in confrontations between the security forces and protesters, stressing the need for the national security forces to exercise the utmost restraint in the maintenance of public order.

"The Secretary-General calls on all political actors, including the opposition, to exercise maximum restraint in their actions and statements and urge their supporters to refrain from violence," said the statement.

"He urges the authorities, once again, to promote and protect human rights and to uphold the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Constitution," it added.