Letter to Secretary of State Blinken Regarding Situation in Democratic Republic of the Congo, August 8, 2023
August 8, 2023
Honorable Antony Blinken
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C. St. NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Blinken:
As Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I write to express my increased level of concern for the deteriorating situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. You will recall the visit of the CENCO-ECC delegation to Washington in April and my follow up letter to you in mid-May.
I attach for your consideration the latest message from the Congolese Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CENCO). I share my Congolese brother bishops’ concerns over the long list of government failures to: (1) stem the violence in the eastern DRC generally, (2) ensure an independent audit of the electoral voter lists, and (3) stop the political violence perpetrated against opposition political candidates including some incidents conducted by the President’s political party. I am also alarmed over CENCO’s report of government repression of opposition demonstrations, restrictions on the freedom of movement of opponents, attempts to pass discriminatory bills, the manipulation of the justice system, and arbitrary arrests. CENCO reminded the Congolese people that Article 64 of the Constitution gives them the right and duty to peacefully defend the integrity of the ballot boxes. This is a clear call to non-violent action to thwart what the Church fears will be a failed election.
In response to CENCO’s message, the President of the Republic is reported to have lashed out directly at the Church. I have included this link to a news report from an American Catholic news service on this event for your consideration.
I urge you to take these warning signs seriously and to act promptly to ensure a free, fair, and credible election. I hope you will work publicly with CENCO-ECC and other civil society organizations to defend the democratic values that our country holds dear. As my Committee stands with the bishops of the DRC, we are ready to work with you towards that goal.
Most Reverend David J. Malloy
Bishop of Rockford
Chairman, Committee on International Justice and Peace
CC: Assistant Secretary of State Mary Catherine Phee
Attachments: Message de CENCO le 23 Juin 2023 ; CRUX Article of June 28, 2023