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Booker-Flake Congo Resolution Passes in Senate

Resolution urges the Democratic Republic of Congo to hold credible elections

July 19, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bipartisan resolution written by U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) urging the Democratic Republic of Congo to hold credible elections has passed unanimously in the Senate. 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 refused to step down in 2016 at the end of his constitutionally mandated term or 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.

Senators Booker and Flake issued the following statement:

“This bipartisan resolution, which was unanimously adopted by the Senate, is a clear message to President Kabila that the United States will not remain silent while his government continues to worsen the DRC’s humanitarian and refugee crisis, obstruct a free and fair electoral process and undermine the rights of the Congolese people. We once again urge President Kabila and the DRC government to abide by the Saint Sylvestre agreement and hold free and fair elections by the end of this year.”

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.