The Minister of State for Development and Trade, Joe Costello T.D., met with members of the Congolese community in Ireland to discuss allegations of fraud and violence around the Presidential and Parliamentary elections which were held in November. In response to their concerns the Minister said:
“Along with our EU colleagues, Ireland has been monitoring the situation in the DRC closely and we are deeply concerned at the widespread allegations of serious violence and fraud. Six Irish experts participated in the EU Election Observer Mission which monitored the recent elections. Their preliminary report is highly critical of the process and pointed to irregularities and a lack of transparency in the elections.
I was pleased to meet with the representatives of the Congolese community and hear their views of the political situation in DRC and to discuss Ireland’s role in supporting democratic progress and assisting communities who have been affected by ongoing conflict. Through Irish Aid, we have provided significant humanitarian assistance to vulnerable communities in DRC, including €13 million over the past two years.
Ireland has repeatedly condemned the war crimes and serious human rights violations which have blighted the lives of so many Congolese. We fully support international efforts to bring those responsible to justice, including through the International Criminal Court. Ireland is currently campaigning for a seat on the Human Rights Council. Tackling human rights abuses such as those which have devastated so many families in DRC will be among our priorities.”
Minister Costello has agreed to meet with representatives of the Congolese community in Ireland again after the votes for the election of members of the Congolese Parliament have been counted and the EU Observer Mission report is complete.