DR Congo: Reverse the suspension of SMS text-messaging services.
  • Petitioned Jean-Claude Mukendi

This petition was delivered to:

Bharti Airtel Africa, Director of Operations
Jean-Claude Mukendi
Vodacom
Millicom DRC, General Manager
Christophe Soulet
CCT DRC, Director
Cui Rensheng

DR Congo: Reverse the suspension of SMS text-messaging services.

    1. Daniel Solomon
    2. Petition by

      Daniel Solomon

      Washington, DC

Last week's general election in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has ignited significant social unrest and violence across the country, particularly in urban centers. On December 2, Human Rights Watch reported that 18 Congolese citizens died and at least 100 Congolese were seriously wounded as a result of election-related violence. As DRC commentators have observed over the past two weeks, the situation will get worse before it gets better.

During the days following the general election, Congolese government instituted a country-wide ban on SMS text-messaging services, citing reports of inflammatory rhetoric by opposition groups. The DRC's major telecommunications companies--Vodacom, Bharti Airtel, Millicom, and CCT--have readily complied with the government's demands. While their interest in restricting inflammatory text messages is well-intentioned, the SMS ban limits an essential source of information on instances of post-election violence and human rights abuses.

In 2008, during Kenya's post-election violence, the international community observed that SMS-based crowd-sourcing methods have become an essential tool of election monitoring and mass atrocities prevention in conflict zones. With few journalists reporting from the ground in the DRC, SMS technology represents the only opportunity for an active stream of information from grassroots actors and civil society in the DRC.

As concerned global observers and consumers, we're calling on the DRC's major telecommunications companies to reverse their suspension of SMS text-messaging services in the DRC.

Increased attention on human rights abuses in the DRC requires our ability to mobilize tens of thousands of concerned global citizens like you. After signing this petition, please share this action with your family, Facebook friends, and Twitter stream.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. SMS in the DRC is back on!

      Daniel Solomon
      Petition Organizer

      Earlier today, I was informed that SMS services have been restored to the DRC. While the Congolese government appears to have lifted this crucial restriction on civilian reporting, conflict prevention, and local communication, outstanding issues remain. The U.S. government continues to err on the side of the status quo, acceding to fraudulent election results, post-election violence by Congolese security forces, and the persistent repression of civil society activity.

      Both the DRC government's actions and incitements to violence among the Congolese population demand the international community's urgent attention. Rather than focusing on a short-term fix, international actors should look towards comprehensive, locally-based solutions to the DRC crisis, including the sweeping security sector and governance reform. Use this opportunity to educate friends, family, and your campuses about the need for comprehensive reform. Look for more opportunities at standnow.org, and take action now!

    2. Reached 500 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Florence Lathrop HULL, MA
      • almost 3 years ago

      To promote the ability of oppressed people to organize themselves to change their condition; and for everyone's right to free speech.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • miki Das IRVING, TX
      • almost 3 years ago

      Because it's the right thing to do

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Rebecca Rice SHAWNEE, KS
      • almost 3 years ago

      I am signing this because I disagree with the telecommunications companies decision to close off SMS texting. If those companies are just sitting idly by while violence is occuring right in front of them, then they may as well be carrying out the violence themselves.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • E Scott Dow AUGUSTA, ME
      • almost 3 years ago

      "The People" need this democratic technology to express their ideas and to plan their events.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Caleb Amundson SHAWNEE, KS
      • almost 3 years ago

      Communication is one of the most important aspects of life. Without a quick way to talk with family members in other areas of the DRC and the world, people will not know the welfare and livelihood of their relatives. It is vital that SMS services be reinstated so that people can communicate.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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