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Booker-Flake Congo Resolution Passes Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee

Resolution urges Democratic Republic of Congo to hold credible elections

May 22, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bipartisan resolution written by U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) today passed the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee by voice vote. The resolution, introduced in January, urges the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to take concrete steps to ensure the peaceful transfer of power by holding free and fair elections before the end of the year. DRC President Joseph Kabila has refused to abide by an agreement brokered in 2016 to hold elections in 2017, leading to unacceptable political repression with security forces acting with impunity, and a deepening a humanitarian crisis.  The Resolution also calls on the Government of the DRC to enable a credible and independent investigation to the killing of Zaida Catalan and American Michael Sharp, both United Nations investigators working in the DRC.

Senator Booker issued the following statement after today’s passage in Committee:

“President Kabila’s decision to remain in office beyond his constitutional mandate has resulted in dire humanitarian conditions and a protracted political crisis. Over 4.5 million people have been displaced within the country, and over 735,000 refugees have fled to neighboring countries. This resolution sends a clear message to President Kabila, the DRC government, and the Congolese people that the United States is not only watching closely, but is prepared to significantly raise the stakes for those who continue to obstruct a free and fair electoral process. I urge Leader McConnell to move swiftly to bring this resolution up for a  vote on the floor of the Senate.”

As the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations’ Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, Booker has been an outspoken voice for addressing the turmoil in the DRC. Earlier this year, he led a bipartisan letter to DRC President Joseph Kabila urging him to hold free and fair elections. In October 2017, he led a letter to President Trump urging the President to address the political and humanitarian crises in the region. In July 2017, he led a bipartisan letter urging the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, to work with the UN Secretary-General to pursue an independent special investigation into the suspicious deaths of the two UN investigators killed in DRC in March. And in April 2017, he led a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) pushing the agency to keep in place key parts of the bipartisan Conflict Minerals Rule, which addresses the illicit mineral extraction that has helped fund armed groups in DRC.