IPU Deeply Disturbed by Democratic Republic of the Congo Decision to Invalidate Opposition MP Diomi Ndongala
|Publication Date||18 June 2013|
|Cite as||Inter-Parliamentary Union, IPU Deeply Disturbed by Democratic Republic of the Congo Decision to Invalidate Opposition MP Diomi Ndongala, 18 June 2013, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/52569a594.html [accessed 13 June 2021]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
IPU is deeply disturbed by the decision of the political authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to invalidate imprisoned opposition MP Diomi Ndongala as a parliamentarian, fearing it will endanger his life.
An IPU mission to the DRC last week led by the president of its Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians Kassoum Tapo says the decision confirms the political nature of the long-standing and violent harassment Ndongala has been subjected to.
Ndongala and four other high-profile opposition MPs in the DRC had their parliamentary mandate invalidated on 15th June for prolonged and unjustifiable absence from parliament.
Ndongala, has been in prison since April awaiting trial on alleged rape charges yet to be verified. In 2012, he was allegedly kidnapped and illegally detained from June to October after which he required urgent medical attention and recuperation with the full knowledge of parliamentary authorities.
The decision to invalidate his parliamentary status will facilitate new charges of alleged insurgency against Ndongala, who will then face the death penalty if convicted.
"We are deeply worried by these new developments given the past history of action against Diomi Ndongala," adds Tapo. "During a meeting with the Speaker of the National Assembly on the last day of our mission, the issue of invalidation of MPs was raised. We urged the authorities to not include Mr. Ndongala's name and were led to believe that it would not be. Of course, we are greatly disappointed at what has happened. IPU will not let this case go. Our Committee will continue working to ensure the rights of Mr. Ndongala are protected and respected."
The five-day mission by the IPU Committee to the DRC that ended on 14th June was aimed at resolving the cases of 33 MPs and former MPs in the DRC. This included Ndongala and former opposition party leader and MP and Pierre Jacques Chalupa, in prison for allegedly falsifying documents to gain Congolese nationality. Having served half of a three-year sentence, Chalupa remains in detention despite meeting the conditions for "anticipated release" under Congolese law and in need of medical attention.
On a case involving the invalidation of another 29 MPs, authorities are now seeking a financial compromise to compensate them. In addition, IPU is pushing for a draft law ending the arbitrary invalidation of MPs following an election to be adopted as soon as possible.
"It has been a difficult mission. The progress on the 29 invalidations is welcome. IPU also hopes that the assurances made to the mission last week on resolving Chalupa's case will be kept. However, what has now happened to Mr. Ndongala and the other four MPs will preoccupy us," Tapo states.
A full report of the mission's findings on all of the cases will be presented to the authorities and the IPU Committee.