Target: President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Joseph Kabila
Goal: Immediately release activists who were teaching kids about peaceful protest from alleged illegal imprisonment.
Activists were allegedly illegally arrested for teaching youth to engage peacefully in the political and electoral process of the Congo. The Congolese constitution allows for freedom of assembly and peaceful protest. These liberties were stolen from Fred Bauma and Yves Makwambala when authorities demonstrated that they were more powerful than Congolese law. The Congo’s president has a civic duty to free these men from prison. Urge President Joseph Kabila to immediately release Fred and Yves from their unlawful detention.
Both Fred and Yves have been key supporters of civil assemblies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With young people accounting for up to 60 percent of the population, they have taught and encouraged youth to stand up for their rights. One protest happened after the Congolese government tried to pass a national census that would have extended President Kabila’s term in office. This was constitutionally illegal and after a week of protesting, the census was withdrawn. Shortly after, these two men were arrested at a youth engagement workshop.
When they were detained, Fred and Yves were allegedly not given proper treatment and were unlawfully interrogated without the presence of their lawyer. After that, the Commission of the Congo’s National Assembly found no evidence as to why these two should stay imprisoned. However, they are still held captive at the Makala prison in Kinshasa. All of this is not in alignment with the DRC’s constitution.
Extrajudicial arrests in the Congo need to be stopped. Citizens have fought bravely for their constitution to be upheld and the government must abide by it. Demand President Kabila protect the freedom of speech and peaceful assembly by immediately releasing Fred Bauma and Yves Makwambala.
Dear President Kabila,
I am writing to ask you to immediately release Fred Bauma and Yves Makwambala from illegal detention. These men were gathering peacefully at a youth workshop before being arrested. This is their constitutional right and their freedom of speech and peaceful assembly must be honored.
The Commission of Congo’s National Assembly reportedly found no reason why these two men should be held. Under Article 17, no one may be prosecuted for an act that does not violate a law. These men have not acted outside the law, yet they are being treated that way. I request that you promote peace and democracy within the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Show that unlawful arrests must end and immediately release Fred Bauma and Yves Makwambala.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Helene C. Stikkel