DRC WELCOMES DIALOGUE WITH U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY TOM MALINOWSKI DURING VISIT TO KINSHASA
Kinshasa—June 4, 2015— The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) this week welcomed U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski to the capital for consultations on subjects of mutual interest to the DRC and United States, including combating sexual violence, continued economic growth, and the DRC’s commitment to and ongoing preparations for free, fair transparent and peaceful elections later this year and in 2016.
“The DRC appreciates Assistant Secretary Malinowski’s visit to Kinshasa, and looks forward to continued cooperation and support from the United States as we advance our democratic and human rights objectives,” said Minister of Communications Lambert Mende. “Our government is committed to upholding the Constitution with regard to the upcoming elections, and to ensure that the voice and views of the Congolese people are heard throughout this process.”
During his visit, Mr. Malinowski met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Raymond Tshibanda, who discussed with him the DRC’s electoral timetable for local, provincial, parliamentary and presidential elections in 2015 and 2016, as well as President Joseph Kabila’s recently initiated national dialogue to promote an environment for a peaceful electoral process. As noted in Assistant Secretary Malinowski’s subsequent public remarks, both the DRC and the U.S. Government recognize the importance of the electoral calendar and its implementation in accordance with the Constitution.
Assistant Secretary Malinowski also held talks with Jeanine Mabunda Lioko, Presidential Adviser on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence and Child Recruitment, and noted that he was “very impressed” with the DRC’s efforts to improve the lives of women and children. The assistant secretary noted that the DRC can set an example to Africa and the world by the actions it is taking to combat sexual violence and by holding elections in keeping with its constitutional obligations.
Since Ms. Mabunda’s appointment, which was hailed by the United Nations as a “new dawn,” the DRC has strengthened efforts against sexual violence. Ms. Mabunda's focus on combating impunity has resulted in an increase of prosecutions and convictions of those charged with sexual violence criminals, including within the country's security forces. Recent actions include:
- Between July and December 2014, 135 cases were brought before the courts in the government’s efforts to “fight against impunity” for perpetrators of sexual assault. These cases brought sexual violence charges against military and police personnel, including high-ranking officers in each force.
- The DRC government established an emergency hotline in November 2014 to respond to victims of sexual violence seeking medical or legal assistance.
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