The Role of Human Rights Activism for Democracy and Development of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Since the colonial epoch, the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo have endured series of gross human rights abuses and violations that contributed to mass poverty. The advent of democracy following the fall of the dictatorial has brought less hope for true democracy in the country.  Democracy can be easily tested through the extent to which the provisions of a constitution are respected.  Similarly, the basic human right of citizens  is to participate in free and fair elections. Since 2006, elections happened in the country. Unfortunately, during the 2006 and 2011 elections, cases of gross human rights abuses and violations were observed with aggravated casualties. As the country prepares for the 2016 elections, voices are being raised about concealment to delay or cancel the ballots resulted into violent demonstrations with negative consequences on the human rights of the once more. Through the review of local and international laws and policies on elections as well as reports and literature on human rights abuses and violations especially those linked to elections, this paper: (1) establishes that, for a young democracy such as the one of the Democratic Republic of Congo, free and fair elections are paramount human rights; (2) argues that human rights abuses and violations linked to elections have not only falsified the democracy process but contributed to worsening the under-development of the country and (3) recommends an effective human rights activism whereby citizens hold the government accountable and responsible in implementing democracy processes that respect human rights and facilitate development.

Paulin Mbecke . University du Moyen Lualaba (DRC) & University of the Free State (South Africa) .

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