The U.N. Security Council is heading to the Democratic Republic of Congo this week ahead of December elections amid tensions between Congolese authorities and the UN. President Joseph Kabila had earlier warned for foreign intervention in DRC and argued that DRC did not need international assistance. DRC lawyers have accused the European Union of interfering in its upcoming presidential election. This is after the EU did not heed Kinshasa’s call to lift sanctions on Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary. The hand-picked candidate was interior minister during violent crackdowns on protesters demonstrating against Kabila’s refusal to step down when his second term expired in December 2016. The EU imposed sanctions on Ramazani and 15 others for what it said were human rights violations and interference with the election process. EU is due to vote on whether to renew these sanctions on December 12, 2018. DRC’s presidential election is scheduled for December 23, 2018.
Armed militia activity, as well as community resistance, continues to threaten the response to Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Stories of armed escorts, red zones, and community whisperings about Ebola as “witchcraft” and even a ploy to keep elections from being held, peppered the talk about the unique challenges of this outbreak. Three Red Cross workers were attacked while attempting to contain the latest deadly Ebola outbreak in Congo. Since the outbreak was declared, Congo’s health ministry says there have been 130 confirmed Ebola cases, including 74 deaths. Human Rights Watch urges an investigation into massacres that have killed well over 200 civilians this year in and around Beni, where health workers’ Ebola efforts are based.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize to Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist treating victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nadia Murad, a Yazidi human rights activist and survivor of sexual slavery by Islamic State in Iraq. In a statement, the Committee said that the award recognizes “their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.”