Sanctioning Those Who Undermine Democracy in DRC

Oct 18, 2016

The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, recently sanctioned two individuals, Gabriel Amisi Kumba and John Numbi, following increasing indications that the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC, continues to suppress political opposition in the country, often through violent means.

Specifically, on September 28st, the United States designated John Numbi for engaging in actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in the DRC, and Gabriel Amisi Kumba for being the leader of an armed group that has threatened the peace, security, or stability of the DRC.

These steps reflect the United States' continued commitment to disrupt this destructive behavior and foster a better and more stable future for the DRC and the Congolese people.

As a result of these actions, all of the designated individuals' assets within U.S. jurisdiction are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

In announcing these designations, John E. Smith, Acting OFAC Director stated, “These current and former Democratic Republic of the Congo government officials have engaged in actions that undermine democratic processes in the DRC and repress the political rights and freedoms of the Congolese people, risking further and more widespread instability in the DRC, and the broader Great Lakes region. [This] action is not directed against the people of the DRC. It is intended to alter the behavior of the targeted individuals.”

DRC state agents have reportedly continued to violate the human rights and fundamental freedoms of people in the DRC, including through the use of excessive force in response to political demonstrations.

Most recently, large-scale demonstrations in Kinshasa on September 19 and 20 in response to delays in the announcement of elections erupted into violent clashes resulting in fatalities between demonstrators and security forces in Kinshasa and elsewhere in the country. There were reports of lethal use of force by DRC state agents in response to the recent demonstrations, as well as violent criminal acts committed by individuals in Kinshasa.

The violence of September 19-20 underscores the need for an inclusive dialogue process on an electoral timetable to ensure a peaceful and democratic transfer of power.

The United States continues to call on all stakeholders to refrain from violence. In this respect, we would stress that the government and its security forces have an obligation to respect and ensure human rights, and we would note that violence will hinder, not enhance, the prospects for an inclusive dialogue.