USAID Democracy, Rights, and Governance Director, Kevin Sturr, was detained by Congolese authorities along with a number of journalists and other participants attending a press conference in Masina on Sunday, March 15. While we have not yet been officially informed as to why he was detained, Mr. Sturr was attending a press conference about a civil society event that brought Congolese youth together with several youth activists from the continent to exchange ideas about the importance of civic engagement in the political process. The press conference was to be followed by a music concert.
This event, sponsored in part by the U.S. government, is one of many activities the U.S. government supports that involve youth and civil society as part of our broader commitment to encourage a range of voices to be heard. These well-known, well-regarded, non-partisan youth groups as well as the organizers of the weekend’s events intended to promote Congolese youth participation in the political process and encourage young people to express their views about issues of concern to them. DRC government officials and ruling coalition parties were invited to and some were present during the event.