Mr. Jean Andeka Djamba
President
Alliance des Nationalistes croyants congolais (ANCC)

Dear Mr. Andeka Djamba,

We, a coalition of 73 Congolese and international human rights organizations, are writing to you and the other presidential candidates to urge you and your supporters not to incite violence against your opponents, to refrain from using hate speech in your presidential campaign, and to take all necessary steps to ensure you abide by Congolese law and the electoral code of conduct you have signed.

Since March, our organizations have documented dozens of instances across the country of apparent ethnic hate speech, ethnic slurs and incitement to violence by political candidates. In some cases, we have documented candidates or their supporters inciting gangs, youth, the unemployed, or members of armed groups to use violence and intimidation against their opponents. We have also documented cases in which candidates and their supporters have used ethnic slurs against their opponents, such as commenting negatively on their opponents’ ethnicity, or that of their parents, to claim that they are not truly Congolese.

We are deeply concerned by such tactics. Candidates who use these strategies create a climate of fear, increase ethnic tensions, and risk provoking a violent election campaign. As someone aspiring to government office, we believe you should be held to the same international standards regarding incitement to violence and hate speech as any government official.

As the campaign begins today across the Democratic Republic of Congo, we believe all presidential candidates, their supporters, and others running for political office in the legislative elections should find ways to reduce Congo’s human rights problems and not conduct themselves in a way that could make them worse. The Congolese people have already suffered years of conflict and brutal human rights abuses. The upcoming elections should be a time for debate about the political issues facing the country, and not about using violence or intimidation to try to gain political office.

As a presidential candidate we believe it is crucial that you demonstrate strong leadership on responsible campaigning, and that you and your supporters abide scrupulously to Congolese and international law as well as the electoral code of conduct you have signed. We particularly wish to emphasize the following:

1. Do not incite or mobilize groups of your supporters – including youth groups, gangs, militia groups, street children, or members of state security forces – to use violence or intimidation against your opponents.
2. Do not intimidate or threaten journalists, human rights activists, or election observers seeking to report and document the activities of your election campaign.
3. Do not vandalize or destroy buildings, property, or materials belonging to your political opponents, media houses, or civil society organizations.
4. Do not attempt to prevent political opponents from freely meeting or demonstrating.
5. Refrain from using hate speech – including any language aimed at intimidating individuals or insulting another person or group of people on the basis of their ethnicity, race, sex, religion, or place of origin – during speeches, demonstrations, radio and television messages, or other public debates.
6. Publicly denounce and appropriately discipline any of the above actions taken by your supporters, and support judicial investigations into any illegal activity conducted by your supporters.

We understand that you and your supporters may also be victims of such abuses during the electoral campaign. If you have not done so already, we urge you to appoint someone in your party with the relevant experience to be a focal point for reporting on the violations and to immediately inform appropriate judicial authorities, members of the National Independent Electoral Committee (CENI), international and national election observers, and human rights organizations.

We also wish to inform you that we have been deeply concerned by the use of unnecessary and excessive force against political demonstrators employed by the police and other state security forces. We vigorously condemn such tactics. We will be calling on government authorities, police, and other security services to follow international guidelines on appropriate use of force, to use only that degree of force which is necessary and proportionate to protect people and property, and to use intentional lethal force only when strictly unavoidable to protect life.

* * *

The Honorable Adam Bombole Intole
Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC)

Dear Hon. Bombole Intole,

We, a coalition of 73 Congolese and international human rights organizations, are writing to you and the other presidential candidates to urge you and your supporters not to incite violence against your opponents, to refrain from using hate speech in your presidential campaign, and to take all necessary steps to ensure you abide by Congolese law and the electoral code of conduct you have signed.

Since March, our organizations have documented dozens of instances across the country of apparent ethnic hate speech, ethnic slurs and incitement to violence by political candidates. In some cases, we have documented candidates or their supporters inciting gangs, youth, the unemployed, or members of armed groups to use violence and intimidation against their opponents. We have also documented cases in which candidates and their supporters have used ethnic slurs against their opponents, such as commenting negatively on their opponents’ ethnicity, or that of their parents, to claim that they are not truly Congolese.

We are deeply concerned by such tactics. Candidates who use these strategies create a climate of fear, increase ethnic tensions, and risk provoking a violent election campaign. As someone aspiring to government office, we believe you should be held to the same international standards regarding incitement to violence and hate speech as any government official.

As the campaign begins today across the Democratic Republic of Congo, we believe all presidential candidates, their supporters, and others running for political office in the legislative elections should find ways to reduce Congo’s human rights problems and not conduct themselves in a way that could make them worse. The Congolese people have already suffered years of conflict and brutal human rights abuses. The upcoming elections should be a time for debate about the political issues facing the country, and not about using violence or intimidation to try to gain political office.

As a presidential candidate we believe it is crucial that you demonstrate strong leadership on responsible campaigning, and that you and your supporters abide scrupulously to Congolese and international law as well as the electoral code of conduct you have signed. We particularly wish to emphasize the following:

1. Do not incite or mobilize groups of your supporters – including youth groups, gangs, militia groups, street children, or members of state security forces – to use violence or intimidation against your opponents.
2. Do not intimidate or threaten journalists, human rights activists, or election observers seeking to report and document the activities of your election campaign.
3. Do not vandalize or destroy buildings, property, or materials belonging to your political opponents, media houses, or civil society organizations.
4. Do not attempt to prevent political opponents from freely meeting or demonstrating.
5. Refrain from using hate speech – including any language aimed at intimidating individuals or insulting another person or group of people on the basis of their ethnicity, race, sex, religion, or place of origin – during speeches, demonstrations, radio and television messages, or other public debates.
6. Publicly denounce and appropriately discipline any of the above actions taken by your supporters, and support judicial investigations into any illegal activity conducted by your supporters.

We understand that you and your supporters may also be victims of such abuses during the electoral campaign. If you have not done so already, we urge you to appoint someone in your party with the relevant experience to be a focal point for reporting on the violations and to immediately inform appropriate judicial authorities, members of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), international and national election observers, and human rights organizations.

We also wish to inform you that we have been deeply concerned by the use of unnecessary and excessive force against political demonstrators employed by the police and other state security forces. We vigorously condemn such tactics. We will be calling on government authorities, police, and other security services to follow international guidelines on appropriate use of force, to use only that degree of force which is necessary and proportionate to protect people and property, and to use intentional lethal force only when strictly unavoidable to protect life.

* * *

His Excellency President Joseph Kabila Kabange
People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD)

Dear President Kabila,

We, a coalition of 73 Congolese and international human rights organizations, are writing to you and the other presidential candidates to urge you and your supporters not to incite violence against your opponents, to refrain from using hate speech in your presidential campaign, and to take all necessary steps to ensure you abide by Congolese law and the electoral code of conduct you have signed.

Since March, our organizations have documented dozens of instances across the country of apparent ethnic hate speech, ethnic slurs and incitement to violence by political candidates. In some cases, we have documented candidates or their supporters inciting gangs, youth, the unemployed, or members of armed groups to use violence and intimidation against their opponents. We have also documented cases in which candidates and their supporters have used ethnic slurs against their opponents, such as commenting negatively on their opponents’ ethnicity, or that of their parents, to claim that they are not truly Congolese.

We are deeply concerned by such tactics. Candidates who use these strategies create a climate of fear, increase ethnic tensions, and risk provoking a violent election campaign. As the serving president, we hope you can set the example for other candidates. We believe all candidates should be held to the same international standards regarding incitement to violence and hate speech as any government official.

As the campaign begins today across the Democratic Republic of Congo, we believe all presidential candidates, their supporters, and others running for political office in the legislative elections should find ways to reduce Congo’s human rights problems and not conduct themselves in a way that could make them worse. The Congolese people have already suffered years of conflict and brutal human rights abuses. The upcoming elections should be a time for debate about the political issues facing the country, and not about using violence or intimidation to try to gain political office.

We believe it is crucial that you demonstrate strong leadership on responsible campaigning, and that you and your supporters abide scrupulously to Congolese and international law as well as the electoral code of conduct you have signed. We particularly wish to emphasize the following:

1. Do not incite or mobilize groups of your supporters – including youth groups, gangs, militia groups, street children, or members of state security forces – to use violence or intimidation against your opponents.
2. Do not intimidate or threaten journalists, human rights activists, or election observers seeking to report and document the activities of your election campaign.
3. Do not vandalize or destroy buildings, property, or materials belonging to your political opponents, media houses, or civil society organizations.
4. Do not attempt to prevent political opponents from freely meeting or demonstrating.
5. Refrain from using hate speech – including any language aimed at intimidating individuals or insulting another person or group of people on the basis of their ethnicity, race, sex, religion, or place of origin – during speeches, demonstrations, radio and television messages, or other public debates.
6. Publicly denounce and appropriately discipline any of the above actions taken by your supporters, and support judicial investigations into any illegal activity conducted by your supporters.

We understand that you and your supporters may also be victims of such abuses during the electoral campaign. If you have not done so already, we urge you to appoint someone in your party with the relevant experience to be a focal point for reporting on the violations and to immediately inform appropriate judicial authorities, members of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), international and national election observers, and human rights organizations.

We also wish to inform you that we have been deeply concerned by the use of unnecessary and excessive force against political demonstrators employed by the police and other state security forces. We vigorously condemn such tactics. We call on government authorities, police, and other security services to follow international guidelines on appropriate use of force, to use only that degree of force which is necessary and proportionate to protect people and property, and to use intentional lethal force only when strictly unavoidable to protect life.

* * *

Dr. François-Nicéphore Kakese Malela
President
Union pour le réveil et le développement du Congo (URDC)

Dear Dr. Kakese Malela,

We, a coalition of 73 Congolese and international human rights organizations, are writing to you and the other presidential candidates to urge you and your supporters not to incite violence against your opponents, to refrain from using hate speech in your presidential campaign, and to take all necessary steps to ensure you abide by Congolese law and the electoral code of conduct you have signed.

Since March, our organizations have documented dozens of instances across the country of apparent ethnic hate speech, ethnic slurs and incitement to violence by political candidates. In some cases, we have documented candidates or their supporters inciting gangs, youth, the unemployed, or members of armed groups to use violence and intimidation against their opponents. We have also documented cases in which candidates and their supporters have used ethnic slurs against their opponents, such as commenting negatively on their opponents’ ethnicity, or that of their parents, to claim that they are not truly Congolese.

We are deeply concerned by such tactics. Candidates who use these strategies create a climate of fear, increase ethnic tensions, and risk provoking a violent election campaign. As someone aspiring to government office, we believe you should be held to the same international standards regarding incitement to violence and hate speech as any government official.

As the campaign begins today across the Democratic Republic of Congo, we believe all presidential candidates, their supporters, and others running for political office in the legislative elections should find ways to reduce Congo’s human rights problems and not conduct themselves in a way that could make them worse. The Congolese people have already suffered years of conflict and brutal human rights abuses. The upcoming elections should be a time for debate about the political issues facing the country, and not about using violence or intimidation to try to gain political office.

As a presidential candidate we believe it is crucial that you demonstrate strong leadership on responsible campaigning, and that you and your supporters abide scrupulously to Congolese and international law as well as the electoral code of conduct you have signed. We particularly wish to emphasize the following:

1. Do not incite or mobilize groups of your supporters – including youth groups, gangs, militia groups, street children, or members of state security forces – to use violence or intimidation against your opponents.
2. Do not intimidate or threaten journalists, human rights activists, or election observers seeking to report and document the activities of your election campaign.
3. Do not vandalize or destroy buildings, property, or materials belonging to your political opponents, media houses, or civil society organizations.
4. Do not attempt to prevent political opponents from freely meeting or demonstrating.
5. Refrain from using hate speech – including any language aimed at intimidating individuals or insulting another person or group of people on the basis of their ethnicity, race, sex, religion, or place of origin – during speeches, demonstrations, radio and television messages, or other public debates.
6. Publicly denounce and appropriately discipline any of the above actions taken by your supporters, and support judicial investigations into any illegal activity conducted by your supporters.

We understand that you and your supporters may also be victims of such abuses during the electoral campaign. If you have not done so already, we urge you to appoint someone in your party with the relevant experience to be a focal point for reporting on the violations and to immediately inform appropriate judicial authorities, members of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), international and national election observers, and human rights organizations.

We also wish to inform you that we have been deeply concerned by the use of unnecessary and excessive force against political demonstrators employed by the police and other state security forces. We vigorously condemn such tactics. We will be calling on government authorities, police, and other security services to follow international guidelines on appropriate use of force, to use only that degree of force which is necessary and proportionate to protect people and property, and to use intentional lethal force only when strictly unavoidable to protect life.

* * *

The Honorable Vital Kamerhe
President
Union for the Congolese Nation (UNC)

Dear Hon. Kamerhe,

We, a coalition of 73 Congolese and international human rights organizations, are writing to you and the other presidential candidates to urge you and your supporters not to incite violence against your opponents, to refrain from using hate speech in your presidential campaign, and to take all necessary steps to ensure you abide by Congolese law and the electoral code of conduct you have signed.

Since March, our organizations have documented dozens of instances across the country of apparent ethnic hate speech, ethnic slurs and incitement to violence by political candidates. In some cases, we have documented candidates or their supporters inciting gangs, youth, the unemployed, or members of armed groups to use violence and intimidation against their opponents. We have also documented cases in which candidates and their supporters have used ethnic slurs against their opponents, such as commenting negatively on their opponents’ ethnicity, or that of their parents, to claim that they are not truly Congolese.

We are deeply concerned by such tactics. Candidates who use these strategies create a climate of fear, increase ethnic tensions, and risk provoking a violent election campaign. As someone aspiring to government office, we believe you should be held to the same international standards regarding incitement to violence and hate speech as any government official.

As the campaign begins today across the Democratic Republic of Congo, we believe all presidential candidates, their supporters, and others running for political office in the legislative elections should find ways to reduce Congo’s human rights problems and not conduct themselves in a way that could make them worse. The Congolese people have already suffered years of conflict and brutal human rights abuses. The upcoming elections should be a time for debate about the political issues facing the country, and not about using violence or intimidation to try to gain political office.

As a presidential candidate we believe it is crucial that you demonstrate strong leadership on responsible campaigning, and that you and your supporters abide scrupulously to Congolese and international law as well as the electoral code of conduct you have signed. We particularly wish to emphasize the following:

1. Do not incite or mobilize groups of your supporters – including youth groups, gangs, militia groups, street children, or members of state security forces – to use violence or intimidation against your opponents.
2. Do not intimidate or threaten journalists, human rights activists, or election observers seeking to report and document the activities of your election campaign.
3. Do not vandalize or destroy buildings, property, or materials belonging to your political opponents, media houses, or civil society organizations.
4. Do not attempt to prevent political opponents from freely meeting or demonstrating.
5. Refrain from using hate speech – including any language aimed at intimidating individuals or insulting another person or group of people on the basis of their ethnicity, race, sex, religion, or place of origin – during speeches, demonstrations, radio and television messages, or other public debates.
6. Publicly denounce and appropriately discipline any of the above actions taken by your supporters, and support judicial investigations into any illegal activity conducted by your supporters.

We understand that you and your supporters may also be victims of such abuses during the electoral campaign. If you have not done so already, we urge you to appoint someone in your party with the relevant experience to be a focal point for reporting on the violations and to immediately inform appropriate judicial authorities, members of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), international and national election observers, and human rights organizations.

We also wish to inform you that we have been deeply concerned by the use of unnecessary and excessive force against political demonstrators employed by the police and other state security forces. We vigorously condemn such tactics. We will be calling on government authorities, police, and other security services to follow international guidelines on appropriate use of force, to use only that degree of force which is necessary and proportionate to protect people and property, and to use intentional lethal force only when strictly unavoidable to protect life.

* * *

Professor Oscar Kashala
President
Union for the Reconstruction of Congo (UREC)

Dear Prof. Kashala,

We, a coalition of 73 Congolese and international human rights organizations, are writing to you and the other presidential candidates to urge you and your supporters not to incite violence against your opponents, to refrain from using hate speech in your presidential campaign, and to take all necessary steps to ensure you abide by Congolese law and the electoral code of conduct you have signed.

Since March, our organizations have documented dozens of instances across the country of apparent ethnic hate speech, ethnic slurs and incitement to violence by political candidates. In some cases, we have documented candidates or their supporters inciting gangs, youth, the unemployed, or members of armed groups to use violence and intimidation against their opponents. We have also documented cases in which candidates and their supporters have used ethnic slurs against their opponents, such as commenting negatively on their opponents’ ethnicity, or that of their parents, to claim that they are not truly Congolese.

We are deeply concerned by such tactics. Candidates who use these strategies create a climate of fear, increase ethnic tensions, and risk provoking a violent election campaign. As someone aspiring to government office, we believe you should be held to the same international standards regarding incitement to violence and hate speech as any government official.

As the campaign begins today across the Democratic Republic of Congo, we believe all presidential candidates, their supporters, and others running for political office in the legislative elections should find ways to reduce Congo’s human rights problems and not conduct themselves in a way that could make them worse. The Congolese people have already suffered years of conflict and brutal human rights abuses. The upcoming elections should be a time for debate about the political issues facing the country, and not about using violence or intimidation to try to gain political office.

As a presidential candidate we believe it is crucial that you demonstrate strong leadership on responsible campaigning, and that you and your supporters abide scrupulously to Congolese and international law as well as the electoral code of conduct you have signed. We particularly wish to emphasize the following:

1. Do not incite or mobilize groups of your supporters – including youth groups, gangs, militia groups, street children, or members of state security forces – to use violence or intimidation against your opponents.
2. Do not intimidate or threaten journalists, human rights activists, or election observers seeking to report and document the activities of your election campaign.
3. Do not vandalize or destroy buildings, property, or materials belonging to your political opponents, media houses, or civil society organizations.
4. Do not attempt to prevent political opponents from freely meeting or demonstrating.
5. Refrain from using hate speech – including any language aimed at intimidating individuals or insulting another person or group of people on the basis of their ethnicity, race, sex, religion, or place of origin – during speeches, demonstrations, radio and television messages, or other public debates.
6. Publicly denounce and appropriately discipline any of the above actions taken by your supporters, and support judicial investigations into any illegal activity conducted by your supporters.

We understand that you and your supporters may also be victims of such abuses during the electoral campaign. If you have not done so already, we urge you to appoint someone in your party with the relevant experience to be a focal point for reporting on the violations and to immediately inform appropriate judicial authorities, members of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), international and national election observers, and human rights organizations.

We also wish to inform you that we have been deeply concerned by the use of unnecessary and excessive force against political demonstrators employed by the police and other state security forces. We vigorously condemn such tactics. We will be calling on government authorities, police, and other security services to follow international guidelines on appropriate use of force, to use only that degree of force which is necessary and proportionate to protect people and property, and to use intentional lethal force only when strictly unavoidable to protect life.

* * *

The Honorable Léon Kengo wa Dondo
President
Union des forces du changement (UFC)

Dear Hon. Kengo wa Dondo,

We, a coalition of 73 Congolese and international human rights organizations, are writing to you and the other presidential candidates to urge you and your supporters not to incite violence against your opponents, to refrain from using hate speech in your presidential campaign, and to take all necessary steps to ensure you abide by Congolese law and the electoral code of conduct you have signed.

Since March, our organizations have documented dozens of instances across the country of apparent ethnic hate speech, ethnic slurs and incitement to violence by political candidates. In some cases, we have documented candidates or their supporters inciting gangs, youth, the unemployed, or members of armed groups to use violence and intimidation against their opponents. We have also documented cases in which candidates and their supporters have used ethnic slurs against their opponents, such as commenting negatively on their opponents’ ethnicity, or that of their parents, to claim that they are not truly Congolese.

We are deeply concerned by such tactics. Candidates who use these strategies create a climate of fear, increase ethnic tensions, and risk provoking a violent election campaign. As someone aspiring to government office, we believe you should be held to the same international standards regarding incitement to violence and hate speech as any government official.

As the campaign begins today across the Democratic Republic of Congo, we believe all presidential candidates, their supporters, and others running for political office in the legislative elections should find ways to reduce Congo’s human rights problems and not conduct themselves in a way that could make them worse. The Congolese people have already suffered years of conflict and brutal human rights abuses. The upcoming elections should be a time for debate about the political issues facing the country, and not about using violence or intimidation to try to gain political office.

As a presidential candidate we believe it is crucial that you demonstrate strong leadership on responsible campaigning, and that you and your supporters abide scrupulously to Congolese and international law as well as the electoral code of conduct you have signed. We particularly wish to emphasize the following:

1. Do not incite or mobilize groups of your supporters – including youth groups, gangs, militia groups, street children, or members of state security forces – to use violence or intimidation against your opponents.
2. Do not intimidate or threaten journalists, human rights activists, or election observers seeking to report and document the activities of your election campaign.
3. Do not vandalize or destroy buildings, property, or materials belonging to your political opponents, media houses, or civil society organizations.
4. Do not attempt to prevent political opponents from freely meeting or demonstrating.
5. Refrain from using hate speech – including any language aimed at intimidating individuals or insulting another person or group of people on the basis of their ethnicity, race, sex, religion, or place of origin – during speeches, demonstrations, radio and television messages, or other public debates.
6. Publicly denounce and appropriately discipline any of the above actions taken by your supporters, and support judicial investigations into any illegal activity conducted by your supporters.

We understand that you and your supporters may also be victims of such abuses during the electoral campaign. If you have not done so already, we urge you to appoint someone in your party with the relevant experience to be a focal point for reporting on the violations and to immediately inform appropriate judicial authorities, members of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), international and national election observers, and human rights organizations.

We also wish to inform you that we have been deeply concerned by the use of unnecessary and excessive force against political demonstrators employed by the police and other state security forces. We vigorously condemn such tactics. We will be calling on government authorities, police, and other security services to follow international guidelines on appropriate use of force, to use only that degree of force which is necessary and proportionate to protect people and property, and to use intentional lethal force only when strictly unavoidable to protect life.

* * *

Mr. François Mobutu Nzanga
President
Union des Démocrates Mobutistes (UDEMO)

Dear Mr. Mobutu Nzanga,

We, a coalition of 73 Congolese and international human rights organizations, are writing to you and the other presidential candidates to urge you and your supporters not to incite violence against your opponents, to refrain from using hate speech in your presidential campaign, and to take all necessary steps to ensure you abide by Congolese law and the electoral code of conduct you have signed.

Since March, our organizations have documented dozens of instances across the country of apparent ethnic hate speech, ethnic slurs and incitement to violence by political candidates. In some cases, we have documented candidates or their supporters inciting gangs, youth, the unemployed, or members of armed groups to use violence and intimidation against their opponents. We have also documented cases in which candidates and their supporters have used ethnic slurs against their opponents, such as commenting negatively on their opponents’ ethnicity, or that of their parents, to claim that they are not truly Congolese.

We are deeply concerned by such tactics. Candidates who use these strategies create a climate of fear, increase ethnic tensions, and risk provoking a violent election campaign. As someone aspiring to government office, we believe you should be held to the same international standards regarding incitement to violence and hate speech as any government official.

As the campaign begins today across the Democratic Republic of Congo, we believe all presidential candidates, their supporters, and others running for political office in the legislative elections should find ways to reduce Congo’s human rights problems and not conduct themselves in a way that could make them worse. The Congolese people have already suffered years of conflict and brutal human rights abuses. The upcoming elections should be a time for debate about the political issues facing the country, and not about using violence or intimidation to try to gain political office.

As a presidential candidate we believe it is crucial that you demonstrate strong leadership on responsible campaigning, and that you and your supporters abide scrupulously to Congolese and international law as well as the electoral code of conduct you have signed. We particularly wish to emphasize the following:

1. Do not incite or mobilize groups of your supporters – including youth groups, gangs, militia groups, street children, or members of state security forces – to use violence or intimidation against your opponents.
2. Do not intimidate or threaten journalists, human rights activists, or election observers seeking to report and document the activities of your election campaign.
3. Do not vandalize or destroy buildings, property, or materials belonging to your political opponents, media houses, or civil society organizations.
4. Do not attempt to prevent political opponents from freely meeting or demonstrating.
5. Refrain from using hate speech – including any language aimed at intimidating individuals or insulting another person or group of people on the basis of their ethnicity, race, sex, religion, or place of origin – during speeches, demonstrations, radio and television messages, or other public debates.
6. Publicly denounce and appropriately discipline any of the above actions taken by your supporters, and support judicial investigations into any illegal activity conducted by your supporters.

We understand that you and your supporters may also be victims of such abuses during the electoral campaign. If you have not done so already, we urge you to appoint someone in your party with the relevant experience to be a focal point for reporting on the violations and to immediately inform appropriate judicial authorities, members of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), international and national election observers, and human rights organizations.

We also wish to inform you that we have been deeply concerned by the use of unnecessary and excessive force against political demonstrators employed by the police and other state security forces. We vigorously condemn such tactics. We will be calling on government authorities, police, and other security services to follow international guidelines on appropriate use of force, to use only that degree of force which is necessary and proportionate to protect people and property, and to use intentional lethal force only when strictly unavoidable to protect life.

* * *

Reverend Josué-Alex Mukendi Kamama
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Dear Rev. Mukendi Kamama,

We, a coalition of 73 Congolese and international human rights organizations, are writing to you and the other presidential candidates to urge you and your supporters not to incite violence against your opponents, to refrain from using hate speech in your presidential campaign, and to take all necessary steps to ensure you abide by Congolese law and the electoral code of conduct you have signed.

Since March, our organizations have documented dozens of instances across the country of apparent ethnic hate speech, ethnic slurs and incitement to violence by political candidates. In some cases, we have documented candidates or their supporters inciting gangs, youth, the unemployed, or members of armed groups to use violence and intimidation against their opponents. We have also documented cases in which candidates and their supporters have used ethnic slurs against their opponents, such as commenting negatively on their opponents’ ethnicity, or that of their parents, to claim that they are not truly Congolese.

We are deeply concerned by such tactics. Candidates who use these strategies create a climate of fear, increase ethnic tensions, and risk provoking a violent election campaign. As someone aspiring to government office, we believe you should be held to the same international standards regarding incitement to violence and hate speech as any government official.

As the campaign begins today across the Democratic Republic of Congo, we believe all presidential candidates, their supporters, and others running for political office in the legislative elections should find ways to reduce Congo’s human rights problems and not conduct themselves in a way that could make them worse. The Congolese people have already suffered years of conflict and brutal human rights abuses. The upcoming elections should be a time for debate about the political issues facing the country, and not about using violence or intimidation to try to gain political office.

As a presidential candidate we believe it is crucial that you demonstrate strong leadership on responsible campaigning, and that you and your supporters abide scrupulously to Congolese and international law as well as the electoral code of conduct you have signed. We particularly wish to emphasize the following:

1. Do not incite or mobilize groups of your supporters – including youth groups, gangs, militia groups, street children, or members of state security forces – to use violence or intimidation against your opponents.
2. Do not intimidate or threaten journalists, human rights activists, or election observers seeking to report and document the activities of your election campaign.
3. Do not vandalize or destroy buildings, property, or materials belonging to your political opponents, media houses, or civil society organizations.
4. Do not attempt to prevent political opponents from freely meeting or demonstrating.
5. Refrain from using hate speech – including any language aimed at intimidating individuals or insulting another person or group of people on the basis of their ethnicity, race, sex, religion, or place of origin – during speeches, demonstrations, radio and television messages, or other public debates.
6. Publicly denounce and appropriately discipline any of the above actions taken by your supporters, and support judicial investigations into any illegal activity conducted by your supporters.

We understand that you and your supporters may also be victims of such abuses during the electoral campaign. If you have not done so already, we urge you to appoint someone in your party with the relevant experience to be a focal point for reporting on the violations and to immediately inform appropriate judicial authorities, members of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), international and national election observers, and human rights organizations.

We also wish to inform you that we have been deeply concerned by the use of unnecessary and excessive force against political demonstrators employed by the police and other state security forces. We vigorously condemn such tactics. We will be calling on government authorities, police, and other security services to follow international guidelines on appropriate use of force, to use only that degree of force which is necessary and proportionate to protect people and property, and to use intentional lethal force only when strictly unavoidable to protect life.

* * *

The Honorable Antipas Nyamwesi Mbusa
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Dear Hon. Nyamwesi Mbusa,

We, a coalition of 73 Congolese and international human rights organizations, are writing to you and the other presidential candidates to urge you and your supporters not to incite violence against your opponents, to refrain from using hate speech in your presidential campaign, and to take all necessary steps to ensure you abide by Congolese law and the electoral code of conduct you have signed.

Since March, our organizations have documented dozens of instances across the country of apparent ethnic hate speech, ethnic slurs and incitement to violence by political candidates. In some cases, we have documented candidates or their supporters inciting gangs, youth, the unemployed, or members of armed groups to use violence and intimidation against their opponents. We have also documented cases in which candidates and their supporters have used ethnic slurs against their opponents, such as commenting negatively on their opponents’ ethnicity, or that of their parents, to claim that they are not truly Congolese.

We are deeply concerned by such tactics. Candidates who use these strategies create a climate of fear, increase ethnic tensions, and risk provoking a violent election campaign. As someone aspiring to government office, we believe you should be held to the same international standards regarding incitement to violence and hate speech as any government official.

As the campaign begins today across the Democratic Republic of Congo, we believe all presidential candidates, their supporters, and others running for political office in the legislative elections should find ways to reduce Congo’s human rights problems and not conduct themselves in a way that could make them worse. The Congolese people have already suffered years of conflict and brutal human rights abuses. The upcoming elections should be a time for debate about the political issues facing the country, and not about using violence or intimidation to try to gain political office.

As a presidential candidate we believe it is crucial that you demonstrate strong leadership on responsible campaigning, and that you and your supporters abide scrupulously to Congolese and international law as well as the electoral code of conduct you have signed. We particularly wish to emphasize the following:

1. Do not incite or mobilize groups of your supporters – including youth groups, gangs, militia groups, street children, or members of state security forces – to use violence or intimidation against your opponents.
2. Do not intimidate or threaten journalists, human rights activists, or election observers seeking to report and document the activities of your election campaign.
3. Do not vandalize or destroy buildings, property, or materials belonging to your political opponents, media houses, or civil society organizations.
4. Do not attempt to prevent political opponents from freely meeting or demonstrating.
5. Refrain from using hate speech – including any language aimed at intimidating individuals or insulting another person or group of people on the basis of their ethnicity, race, sex, religion, or place of origin – during speeches, demonstrations, radio and television messages, or other public debates.
6. Publicly denounce and appropriately discipline any of the above actions taken by your supporters, and support judicial investigations into any illegal activity conducted by your supporters.

We understand that you and your supporters may also be victims of such abuses during the electoral campaign. If you have not done so already, we urge you to appoint someone in your party with the relevant experience to be a focal point for reporting on the violations and to immediately inform appropriate judicial authorities, members of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), international and national election observers, and human rights organizations.

We also wish to inform you that we have been deeply concerned by the use of unnecessary and excessive force against political demonstrators employed by the police and other state security forces. We vigorously condemn such tactics. We will be calling on government authorities, police, and other security services to follow international guidelines on appropriate use of force, to use only that degree of force which is necessary and proportionate to protect people and property, and to use intentional lethal force only when strictly unavoidable to protect life.

* * *

Mr. Étienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba
President
Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS)

Dear Mr. Tshisekedi,

We, a coalition of 73 Congolese and international human rights organizations, are writing to you and the other presidential candidates to urge you and your supporters not to incite violence against your opponents, to refrain from using hate speech in your presidential campaign, and to take all necessary steps to ensure you abide by Congolese law and the electoral code of conduct, which we hope you will sign as soon as possible.

Since March, our organizations have documented dozens of instances across the country of apparent ethnic hate speech, ethnic slurs and incitement to violence by political candidates. In some cases, we have documented candidates or their supporters inciting gangs, youth, the unemployed, or members of armed groups to use violence and intimidation against their opponents. We have also documented cases in which candidates and their supporters have used ethnic slurs against their opponents, such as commenting negatively on their opponents’ ethnicity, or that of their parents, to claim that they are not truly Congolese.

We are deeply concerned by such tactics. Candidates who use these strategies create a climate of fear, increase ethnic tensions, and risk provoking a violent election campaign. As someone aspiring to government office, we believe you should be held to the same international standards regarding incitement to violence and hate speech as any government official.

As the campaign begins today across the Democratic Republic of Congo, we believe all presidential candidates, their supporters, and others running for political office in the legislative elections should find ways to reduce Congo’s human rights problems and not conduct themselves in a way that could make them worse. The Congolese people have already suffered years of conflict and brutal human rights abuses. The upcoming elections should be a time for debate about the political issues facing the country, and not about using violence or intimidation to try to gain political office.

As a presidential candidate we believe it is crucial that you demonstrate strong leadership on responsible campaigning, and that you and your supporters abide scrupulously to Congolese and international law. We are also deeply concerned that you have not yet signed the electoral code of conduct, and we urge you to promptly do so. We particularly wish to emphasize the following:

1. Do not incite or mobilize groups of your supporters – including youth groups, gangs, militia groups, street children, or members of state security forces – to use violence or intimidation against your opponents.
2. Do not intimidate or threaten journalists, human rights activists, or election observers seeking to report and document the activities of your election campaign.
3. Do not vandalize or destroy buildings, property, or materials belonging to your political opponents, media houses, or civil society organizations.
4. Do not attempt to prevent political opponents from freely meeting or demonstrating.
5. Refrain from using hate speech – including any language aimed at intimidating individuals or insulting another person or group of people on the basis of their ethnicity, race, sex, religion, or place of origin – during speeches, demonstrations, radio and television messages, or other public debates.
6. Publicly denounce and appropriately discipline any of the above actions taken by your supporters, and support judicial investigations into any illegal activity conducted by your supporters.

We understand that you and your supporters may also be victims of such abuses during the electoral campaign. If you have not done so already, we urge you to appoint someone in your party with the relevant experience to be a focal point for reporting on the violations and to immediately inform appropriate judicial authorities, members of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), international and national election observers, and human rights organizations.

We also wish to inform you that we have been deeply concerned by the use of unnecessary and excessive force against political demonstrators employed by the police and other state security forces. We vigorously condemn such tactics. We will be calling on government authorities, police, and other security services to follow international guidelines on appropriate use of force, to use only that degree of force which is necessary and proportionate to protect people and property, and to use intentional lethal force only when strictly unavoidable to protect life.

* * *

Yours sincerely,

1. Action des Chrétiens Activistes des Droits de l’Homme à Shabunda (ACADHOSHA)
2. Action des Chrétiens pour l’Abolition de la Torture – Nord-Kivu (ACAT-NK)
3. Action pour la Paix, l’Education et le Développement (APED)
4. ActionAid International Democratic Republic of Congo (AAIDRC)
5. Actions pour la Promotion Socio-économique des Ménages (APROSEM)
6. Appui aux Femmes Démunies et Enfants Marginalisés (AFEDEM)
7. Arche d’Alliance
8. Assistance Judiciaire aux Indigents (AJI)
9. Association Africaine de Défense des Droits de l’Homme (ASADHO)
10. Association des Enfants et Jeunes Travailleurs (AEJT)
11. Association des Femmes des Médias du Sud-Kivu (AFEM-SK)
12. Association des Femmes Juristes du Congo (AFJCO)
13. Association Locale pour le Développement Intégral (ALDI)
14. Association pour la Protection des Droits de l’Enfant Congolais (APDEC)
15. Association pour le Développement de Kitamba (ADEKI)
16. Bénévolat pour l’Enfance (BENENFANCE)
17. Bureau de Coordination Société Civile du Sud-Kivu
18. Cadre de Concertation Provinciale de la Société Civile du Katanga
19. Caucus des Femmes Congolaises du Sud-Kivu pour la Paix
20. Centre d’Etudes et de Formation Populaire pour les Droits de l’Homme (CEFOP/DH)
21. Centre d’Initiatives pour le Développement Intégral (CIDI)
22. Centre d’Observation des Droits de l’Homme et d’Assistance Sociale (CODHAS)
23. Centre de Promotion Socio-Sanitaire (CEPROSSAN)
24. Centre de Recherche sur l’Environnement, la Démocratie et les Droits de l’Homme (CREDDHO)
25. Centre des Droits de l’Homme et du Droit Humanitaire (CDH)
26. Centre Olame
27. Centre pour la Paix et les Droits de l’Homme – Peace and Human Rights Center (CPDH-PHRC)
28. Children’s Voice
29. Clinique Juridique d’Assistance Judiciaire aux Vulnérables (ADV)
30. Collectif des Organisations des Jeunes Solidaires du Congo-Kinshasa – Sud-Kivu (COJESKI-SK)
31. Collectif des Organisations des Jeunes Solidaires du Congo-Kinshasa – Nord-Kivu (COJESKI-NK)
32. Commission Diocésaine pour la Justice et la Paix – Dungu (CDJP-Dungu)
33. Conseil Régional des Organisations Non Gouvernementales – Nord-Kivu (CRONGD-NK)
34. Communicateurs pour la Promotion, Protection et Défense des Droits de l’Homme (COPPRODDHO)
35. Dauphins Munzihirwa-Kataliko – Sud-Kivu
36. Défense et Assistance aux Femmes et Enfants Vulnérables en Afrique (DAFEVA)
37. Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI)
38. Enough Project
39. Femmes Unies pour le Progrès Social (FUPROS)
40. Fond pour les Femmes Congolaises
41. Groupe d’Appui aux Exploitants des Ressources Naturelles (GAERN)
42. Groupe d’Assistance aux Marginalisés (GAM)
43. Groupe Equitas (GE)
44. Groupe Justice et Libération (GJL)
45. Groupe LOTUS
46. HEAL Africa
47. Human Rights Watch
48. Initiative Congolaise pour la Justice et la Paix (ICJP)
49. Initiative pour la Transparence dans la Gestion des Extractives
50. Jewish World Watch
51. Ligue des Electeurs
52. Ligue pour la Solidarité Congolaise (LSC)
53. Maniema Libertés (MALI)
54. Mutuelle d’Assistance aux Déshérités du Nord-Kivu (MADNOKI)
55. Nouvelle Dynamique Syndicale (NDS)
56. Nouvelle Société Civile Congolaise (NSCC)
57. Observatoire Congolais des Droits Humains (OCDH)
58. Observatoire de la Parité
59. Observatoire des Recherches et Informations sur les Droits de la Femme et de l’Enfant – Bas-Congo (OPRORIDEF-Bas-Congo)
60. Organisation pour la Défense des Droits de l’Enfant (ODDE)
61. Organisation pour la Défense des Droits des Communautés Locales et Peuples Autochtones / Nationale (ODECOLA-N)
62. Regard Rural Sans Frontières au Sud-Kivu
63. Réseau des Associations de Développement pour la Réhabilitation et la Maintenance des Routes et Désertes Agricoles (Réseau ARDA)
64. Réseau Provincial des Organisations Non Gouvernementales des Droits de l’Homme au Congo – Katanga (REPRODHOC-Katanga)
65. Réseau Provincial des Organisations Non Gouvernementales des Droits de l’Homme au Congo – Nord-Kivu (REPRODHOC-NK)
66. Service For Peace (SFP)
67. Solidarité et Assistance Intégrale aux Personnes Démunies – Dungu (SAIPED-Dungu)
68. Solidarité Féminine pour la Paix et le Développement Intégral
69. Solidarité pour la Promotion Sociale et la Paix (SOPROP)
70. Solidarités des Volontaires pour l’Humanité (SVH)
71. Synergie des Femmes pour les Victimes des Violences Sexuelles (SFVS)
72. Union de Familles pour la Recherche de la Paix (UFAREP)
73. Union des Jeunes pour le Changement et les Droits des Marginalisés (UJCDM)