Ahead of the March 9, 2021 elections in the Republic of Congo, Paradigm Initiative, a social advocacy group, has called on the government to act in accordance with the provisions of various fundamental laws on the protection of the rights of the citizens.
PIN made the call in a statement on Friday, saying it became necessary, going by past assaults on citizens by some African governments.
It said, “We note in the past, during the elections, some African governments have resorted, among others, to human rights violations, Internet disruptions as in Uganda in January 2021 or and in Niger in February 2021, violations of media freedoms and blocked access to the Internet.
“During such times, freedom of expression and access to information are highly at risk through crackdowns on the media and civil society actors, lack of transparency and unreliable information for citizens to make informed voting decisions.”
Calling on the Congolese government to respect digital rights, PIN said, “The government must keep the Internet on during elections and allow for access to information; educate and encourage the participation of vulnerable groups on the use, if any, of technology in the voting process; open up space for the media to perform their mandate and proactively disclose critical information to inform the electorate adequately in relation to the electoral process.”
The group said the government must be guided by Article 17(3) of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance to ensure fair and equitable access by contesting parties and candidates to state-controlled media during elections.
It further urged the Congolese government to consider the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa in providing access to information and proactively disclosing relevant information for an informed electorate.
Get real time update about this post categories directly on your device, subscribe now.