The DRC should respect its commitments by stopping Internet shutdowns
Goma, January 21, 2018 – The blogging community of Goma, BloGoma, Internet Without Borders and the pan-African network of web activists for democracy Africtivistes condemn with the last energy the Internet shutdown in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which began this 21 January 2018 shortly before one o’clock a.m.
By shutting down the Internet once again, the Congolese government is violating human rights and international law, in particular resolution A / HRC / 32 / L.20 of 2016, which strongly condemns Internet shutdowns. In addition, the government is violating article 23 of the Congolese constitution which guarantees freedom of expression, and article 24 which protects the right of citizens to information.
“It is unacceptable for the government to shut down the internet every time the security services are about to commit serious human rights violations by suppressing demonstrations,” said Blaise Ndola, Coordinator of the Gomatracian Blogosphere.
He also pleads for the revision of the law No. 013/2002 of October 16, 2002, governing the telecommunications sector. “The Congolese government is using this 16-year-old law to force internet service providers to shutdown, monitor, and censor the Internet on the pretext of preserving national security,” he added.
“It’s time for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to dissociate themselves from censorship in the DRC, by refusing to obey the Congolese government’s illegal demands, in accordance with the requirements laid down in the UN guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. » said Julie Owono, Executive Director of Internet Without Borders. “They should explain on what grounds they comply with the unlawful demands of the government, in particular, how they establish the proportionality, the necessity, and the legality of such Internet shutdowns. “
This new Internet shutdown comes less than a month after the December 31, 2017 blackout, which lasted about 48 hours. The Gomatracian blogosphere, Internet Without Borders, and Africtivistes call on the international community to consider sanctions against individuals and governments, which deprive citizens of their fundamental rights to expression and information on the internet.
For press inquiry on this issue please contact
Julie Owono, Executive Director of Internet Sans Frontieres firstname.lastname@example.org and +336 37 72 69 83
Blaise Ndola, Africtivist and coordinator of the Gomatracian Blogosphere +243 990 96 16 65.