||<p>We remain deeply concerned by the Congolese authorities’ response to the civil
unrest that affected Kinshasa and the wider Democratic Republic of Congo in January,
and subsequent peaceful political activity. It is unacceptable to hold the arrested
participants in detention for long periods without charge or due legal assistance.
We are concerned by reports that their testimony was obtained under duress and that
this may be used in legal proceedings against the activists.</p><p>In response, and
together with other EU Missions, officials from our Embassy in Kinshasa twice lobbied
the Congolese government to voice our concern at the arrest and detention without
charge of the activists. Officials also joined other international observers in monitoring
court hearings in this case and those of a number of other activists detained in recent
months. Officials have stressed to the Congolese authorities that civil society organisations
must be allowed to hold workshops on the democratic process without fear of arrest
or reprisal, that all legal proceedings must fully respect the international standards
of due process and that the right to peaceful demonstration and assembly must be upheld.
Our concerns were set out in an EU Heads of Mission press statement issued on 11 February.</p><p>