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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 194th session
(Geneva, 20 March 2014)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Pierre Jacques Chalupa, a former member of the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and to the resolution it adopted at its 193rd session (October 2013),

Referring to the letter from the Speaker of the National Assembly of 19 February 2014, the information provided by the delegation of the DRC at the hearing organized during the 130th IPU Assembly (Geneva, March 2014) and the information provided by the sources,

Also referring to the report of the mission conducted to the DRC from 10 to 14 June 2013 (CL/193/11b)-R.2),

Recalling thatMr. Chalupa, a former member of the majority who joined the opposition at the most recent elections, was: (i) arrested on 2 February 2012 by soldiers from the President’s Office after having been given a bogus appointment by telephone, just as the strongly-contested election results were being proclaimed; (ii) accused of having fraudulently obtained Congolese nationality and charged with forgery and the use of falsified documents; (iii) remanded in custody and then sentenced to three years in prison,

Further recalling that it had observed that the judicial proceedings were marred by flaws, that many of the items in the file tended to indicate that the case was political in nature and that it could not rule out that the judicial proceedings initiated against Mr. Chalupa were intended to neutralize him politically as a result of his having joined the political opposition,

Considering the following information on file: the Congolese authorities held national consultations from 7 September to 5 October 2013 in order to strengthen national unity; the Head of State presented the recommendations of the final report that emerged from the consultations to both houses of parliament on 23 October 2013 and set up a national committee tasked with implementing them; the final report recommends that, “among the measures taken to ease the political tension and announced by the President of the Republic, the public authorities: grant, depending on the case, a presidential pardon, release on parole and/or amnesty to inter alia (...) Chalupa (...)”; in application of that recommendation, a presidential pardon order was adopted on 23 October 2013 and Mr. Chalupa was released on 22 November 2013 after having served over half of his sentence,

Bearing in mind, on the question of nationality, that Mr. Chalupa considers that he is Congolese because he was born in the DRC and was unable to obtain Portuguese nationality through his father because of Portuguese nationality law, and that such cases are covered by Article 9(2) of the 2004 Law on Congolese Nationality, which stipulates that “…children born in the DRC to foreign parents who cannot transmit their nationality to the child because their State of origin recognizes only jus soli or does not allow natural parents to transmit nationality” are presumed to have Congolese nationality,

Considering the following: Portugal’s Basic Law No. 2/2006 on nationality recognizes only jus soli; Article 1(c) provides that, in exceptional cases, “children with one Portuguese parent, if they are born abroad and provided they declare their wish to be Portuguese or register the birth with the Portuguese civil register”, may request Portuguese nationality; according to Mr. Chalupa, his parents did not register his birth at the Consulate and he never informed the Portuguese authorities in writing that he intended to acquire Portuguese nationality, as the Portuguese authorities have officially confirmed; consequently, Mr. Chalupa does not have Portuguese nationality and explicitly renounced the possibility to acquire it in 1992 in order to obtain recognition of his Congolese nationality at birth, which is unique and exclusive under Article 10 of the DRC Constitution,

Also considering that, given that Mr. Chalupa was elected to the Parliament of the DRC and has uncontested ties to the DRC (birthplace, residence, marriage with a DRC national, etc.), recognition of his nationality should pose no legal difficulties, especially since it was never ever contested before he joined the political opposition at the last legislative elections,

Further considering the following: Mr. Chalupa applied for nationality in 1992; according to the Minister of Justice, the attestation of nationality issued to Mr. Chalupa in 2001 (and deemed a forgery by the Congolese courts during the above-mentioned judicial proceedings) did not confer citizenship on him, as the procedure for obtaining nationality requires a decree from the Council of Ministers to be to finalized and the Congolese administration has yet to complete that procedure; Mr. Chalupa’s application can be processed by the competent authorities, given that, under Article 50 of the Law on Congolese Nationality, any applications filed in a regular manner prior to the law’s entry into force remained valid,

Considering finally that, during the hearing organized at the 130th IPU Assembly, the delegation of the DRC affirmed the following: Mr. Chalupa was not a Congolese citizen by birth because his parents were not Congolese; Congolese law did not recognize jus soli, only jus sanguine; Mr. Chalupa therefore had only one option, namely to request Congolese nationality by applying for naturalization; it would appear, but had not been confirmed, that Mr. Chalupa’s dual citizenship was the cause of the current situation; in view of the principle of the separation of powers, Parliament could not intervene in a matter that came under the jurisdiction of the Executive,

Recalling the following: the right to nationality is set out in many international instruments, notably Article 24(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 5(d)(iii) of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, both of which the DRC has ratified; Human Rights Council resolution 20/5 of 16 July 2012, on human rights and arbitrary deprivation of nationality, calls on “States to observe minimum procedural standards in order to ensure that decisions concerning the acquisition, deprivation or change of nationality do not contain any element of arbitrariness”, “[r]eafirms that the right to a nationality of every human person is a fundamental human right” and “[r]eiterates that arbitrary deprivation of nationality, especially on discriminatory grounds such as political or other opinion (…) is a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms”,

  1. Thanks the Speaker of the National Assembly and the delegation of the DRC for the information they provided;

  2. Notes with appreciation that Mr. Chalupa received a presidential pardon and was released;

  3. Regrets that the question of Mr. Chalupa’s nationality was not resolved by the presidential pardon and notes with concern the lack of progress on this point;

  4. Urges the competent authorities to take appropriate measures swiftly to recognize Mr. Chalupa’s Congolese nationality, in particular in view of the provisions of Article 9(2) of the Law on Congolese Nationality; requests the authorities to keep it informed of the progress made to that end;

  5. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the parliamentary authorities, the Minister of Justice, the sources and any third party likely to be in a position to supply relevant information;

  6. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and to report back to it in due course.

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