February 17, 2012 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:
“I am deeply concerned by reports that the peaceful public demonstration planned by the Roman Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo to protest the irregularities in last November’s elections was not allowed to take place.
“We urge the Congolese authorities to respect freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Both are fundamental building blocks for healthy democracies.
“Newly elected members of the National Assembly took their seats for the first time on February 16. We encourage them to work swiftly toward strengthening the democratic values that are essential for a peaceful and prosperous society.
“Canada calls on the Congolese authorities to heed the advice of national and international election observers and improve the country’s electoral process. We hope that any new measures implemented will restore public confidence and strengthen the capacity and transparency of the country’s democratic institutions.
“We encourage all parties to resolve their differences through peaceful means and to avoid any actions that would lead to a further deterioration of the security situation in the country.”
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