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Congo (Kinshasa): Civil Society Statements
Congo (Kinshasa): Civil Society Statements
Date distributed (ymd): 021020
Document reposted by Africa Action
Africa Policy Electronic Distribution List: an information
service provided by AFRICA ACTION (incorporating the Africa
Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American
Committee on Africa). Find more information for action for
Africa at http://www.africaaction.org
Region: Central Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +economy/development+
This posting contains excerpts from two documents on the Democratic
Republic of Congo recently distributed by Partnership Africa
Canada (PAC). The full text of the documents, and instructions on
joining the pacnet-l or pacres-l listservs (in English and French
respectively) can be found at:
Fuller contact information can be found in the documents below, the
first a Canadian NGO position paper on the Congo, and the second
conclusions from a workshop in Kinshasa on the plunder of Congo's
natural resources. Both documents were distributed by PAC on Oct.
Additional recent links on the peace process and resource issues:
UN Regional Integrated Information Networks (IRIN),
"Foreign Forces may Return to DRC"
UN officials warn of dangerous situation caused by escalation
of fighting by local militias in eastern Congo.
Worldwatch Institute, "From War Zones to Shopping Malls"
New report on how consumer demand fuels resource wars,
including cell phones and demand for coltan in the Congo.
More details at:
For more current news and commentary,see
"The Congo, a test of Canada's African involvement"
Paper presented by the Table de Concertation sur les Droits Humains
au Congo-Kinshasa, September 11, 2002
Presented at a one-day roundtable held by the Canadian Department
of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). The Table de
Concertation sur les Droits Humains au Congo-Kinshasa is a network
of NGOs, missionary groups and Congolese associations in Canada.
Contact: Table de Concertation sur les Droits Humains au
Congo/Kinshasa, Entraide Missionnaire, 15, rue de Castelnau Ouest,
Montreal, Quebec, H2R 2W3, Canada. Tel: 1-514-270-6089 Fax:
1-514-270-6156 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Recent developments in the long process towards peace in the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) should provide an opportunity
for a determined effort by the international community to involve
itself to bring to an end one of the most murderous wars on the
African continent, and for Canada to stop hesitating and adopt an
efficient, energetic strategy of multiple intervention.
N1. An opportunity for peace
First, the peace agreement signed July 30 between the DRC and
Rwanda, then Zimbabwe's announcement that it was beginning to
withdraw its troops, followed by a new agreement between Kinshasa
and Kampala to resume relations between the two countries, all
present an opportunity to advance the peace process which must not
be missed. These agreements are the result of pressure by the
international community on those countries whose troops still
occupy areas of Congolese territory; there is no doubt that their
implementation will succeed only if this pressure is increased,
since all the warring parties are gaining important advantages from
the situation, political advantages, but above all economic
advantages, thanks to the illegal looting of the Congo's natural
Much still has to be done to ensure the return of peace to the
Congo and security to the larger region. A determined, concerted
effort by the international community is more essential than ever
if certain indispensable conditions for the return of peace are to
2. A State in urgent need of reconstruction
- the occupation forces, particularly those from Rwanda, as well as
those of the Kinshasa government's allies, must withdraw in
compliance with international law and with the numerous Security
Council resolutions on this topic. Trying to make this withdrawal
depend of the result of various steps, like the Inter-Congolese
Dialogue or the disarming of militia groups, is a denial of
international law and gives an unacceptable legitimacy to the
extension of the occupation of Congolese territory by foreign
- the mandate of the UN Observers Mission to the Congo (MONUC) must
be transformed into a peace-keeping mandate, as the agreement
between Kigali and Kinshasa includes among its stipulations.
MONUC's capacity to intervene should be strongly reinforced, in
terms of troops and authority, so that, among other duties, it can
be deployed on the Eastern borders of the DRC to safeguard the
frontiers on both sides, to protect civilians in danger, and to
implement immediately the programme of Demobilisation, Disarmament,
Repatriation, Resettlement and Reintegration (DDRRR) for the
different armed groups. ...
- the "Third Party" created by South Africa and the UN Secretary
General, whose role, defined by the Pretoria agreement, will be to
facilitate contact between the two countries, supervise the
implementation of the agreement, and draw up eventual laws, should
be got underway speedily and begin its work;
- starting immediately, Canada should show the seriousness of its
involvement in peace in the Congo by providing a significant number
of core observers and soldiers for MONUC. This could serve as a
reminder to other western countries, the majority of whom have
abandoned the African peace missions. ...
- for the same reasons, Canada should commit itself to the
preparations for a regional conference on security, whose goal will
be to normalize relations between the countries in the area; Canada
should go ahead without waiting to hear the latest overtures made
by each of the countries to the others, and should start a regional
peace process which will obviously be arduous;
- now Canada also has the chance to play an important role in
bringing the Congolese Dialogue back again to come to an "inclusive
agreement. " Canada was one of the few countries which did not
applaud the signature of the partial agreement at Sun City, but
pushed for further negotiations. So far its interventions, which
have, among other things, facilitated the participation of truly
representative groups, have commanded respect. It should continue
on this path.
More than thirty years of a predatory dictatorship and six years of
war have effectively destroyed the Congolese state. Presently the
country is parcelled out into territories controlled by authorities
with no legitimacy, and a large part of the population has been
left to fend for itself, without a national army able to rein in
the ambitions of neighbouring countries or the violence of local
warlords, without a public administration even to manage national
sovereignty or to deliver basic services to the population. If
peace is to be maintained, so that the reconstruction of the
country can really get underway, the Congolese men and women need
urgent help in reconstructing the institutions every state must
have, or every state run by law. This situation in Africa,
exceptional because of its magnitude and its negative repercussions
on the rest of the continent, demands an immense international
In its aid policy towards the Congo, Canada must show more
resolution and long-term commitment by adopting an efficient and
tailor-made programme commensurate with the Congo's importance:
3. The fight against impunity and the reconstruction of the justice
- the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has for some
years worked tentatively with the Congo, mostly on a case by case
basis. This attitude should end; the Agency should add the Congo to
its list of project-countries, which would commit long-term funds,
without waiting until all the conditions necessary to re-establish
" normal " bilateral relations have been fulfilled. Canada should
actively monitor the delicate transition period, to forward
transparent elections and the pursuit of political democratization;
- the programme should monitor the reconstruction of the Congolese
state and its public administration, but also the repair of its
social fabric. Thus, more than just giving support to different
government services, the programme should maintain and increase
support to organizations of civil society; ...
- Canadian help should be "structured" with the aim of building or
reinforcing Congolese competence in all areas touched on by the
programme; humanitarian aid, support for public administration,
civil society. . . Among the latter, an important role should be
reserved for women's organizations, which have proved that they are
reliable and efficient, and for projects for education in
democracy; the dictatorship's culture of corruption, the use of
violence, and an unwillingness to risk getting involved, which have
characterized the last decades, will have to be fought against
- next, given the Congo's particularly dramatic situation, the
urgent need for intervention and the necessary delays before the
state can be re-established, a special Reconstruction and
Rehabilitation fund should be set up at the core of the Canadian
c-operation programme. This temporary fund would facilitate the
implementation of a variable range of projects (national,
provincial, local) which could not meet all the agency's criteria
for regular programmes, but which are in line with the principle
that the people should take charge of the reconstruction of their
A state ruled by law cannot take root in the Congo, nor in the rest
of the region, without a national, regional, and international
drive against impunity. Too many human rights violations, war
crimes, and possible acts of genocide have plunged too many into
mourning to allow any compromise with a special judiciary process
in which crimes are brought to the bar and the guilty judged. Other
examples in Africa, particularly in Sierra Leone, have shown that
freedom from responsibility for such crimes must be non-negotiable.
Already, the parties which participated in the InterCongolese
Dialogue in Sun City are agreed on the structure of this process:
- the establishment of a Commission of Justice and TruthN
- the setting up of an International Criminal Tribunal for the DRCN
- the creation of an Office to monitor human rights
However, the whole of the Congolese judicial system has to be
rebuilt to put an end to the arbitrariness of the present system
and restore the people's confidence. Under this heading, the
question of army reform should speedily be considered. Throughout
the Congo, it is the military who have been guilty of the major
The fight against impunity and the reconstruction of the justice
system must be part of any emergency plans for the reconstruction
of the Congo.
4. Foreign investment which will really profit the people
The DRC's abundant natural resources should have ensured its
continuous development and the well-being of its people.
Unfortunately today they are one of the principal reasons for
foreign troops' occupation of Congolese territory and the
continuation of the war. The past and present history of foreign
investment in the natural resource exploitation sector,
particularly in mining, has mainly proved that it is far from
ensuring the development of the Congo. This is an area that needs
great attention, as all the participants in the Inter-Congolese
Dialogue in Sun City indicated. The consensus achieved on this
point should guide intervention by Canadian businesses and by
government agencies which support and underwrite foreign
- looting and illegal exploitation of the Congo's natural resources
must cease; the recommendations of the Expert Group on the Illegal
Exploitation of Natural Resources and other Sources of Wealth in
the DRC, set up by the Security Council, must be implemented in
their entirety when they are published;N
- all contracts between foreign countries and any Congolese
authority, depending on the territory controlled, must be reviewed
to make sure they comply with the accepted legal framework of a
To counter the all too numerous negative experiences in this area,
particular directions must guide the operations of Canadian
businesses and government agencies supporting foreign investment.
Such projects must:
- comply with development objectives set by the Congo itself;N
- ensure significant returns to the communities in which the
projects are situated, returns in the form of employment paid at
the normal national rate, transfer of technology, infrastructure
- be managed transparently, particularly in this sector, to respect
the principles of good government;N
- to respect the environment in accordance with Canadian standards
By keeping discussion of Africa on the agenda of the last G8 summit
at Kananakis, in spite of a troubled international situation, Prime
Minister Chrétien openly indicated Canada's commitment to support
the African peoples in their efforts to emerge from poverty and
marginality. Intervening in the Congo, now and with determination,
when peace opportunities have to be seized, must give Canada the
chance to show a concrete commitment to the restoration of peace
and development, not only in this one country, but in all of
central Africa. A country like the DRC, at peace and on the way to
democracy, would undoubtedly be one of the chief vectors for
development throughout the continent. For Canada, it is equally an
exceptional opportunity to translate its verbal commitments into
real and effective action!
(Translated from the original French)
Workshop on the Plunder of the Democratic Republic of Congo's
Centre Lasallien de Kintambo, Kinshasa, August
Contact: CENADEP, Avenue Haut Congo No. 3, Kinshasa l Gombe, B.P.
14582 Kinshasa I, Democratic Republic of Congo. Tel: (+243) 9982097
Partnership Africa Canada, 323 Chapel Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1
7Z2, Canada. Tel: 1-613-237-6768 Fax: 1-613-237-6530
Important note: Below excerpts only. for full text see orginal source available through PAC.
I. NATIONAL AWARENESS RAISING STRATEGIES
- Set up a National Natural Resource Management Network for the
DRC, with its focal point at CENADEP, to coordinate all activities
in relation to the plunder of the country's natural resources. ..
- Undertake campaigns to raise awareness and lobby nationally and
internationally against the plunder of Congo's natural resources.
- Involve the network in the follow-up and in the extension of
the (Kimberley) certification process to other resources. ...
II. RESOLUTIONS DESTINED FOR INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGNS (especially for
the September 18-19, 2002, Brussels workshop)
- Support the peace process so that the Democratic Republic of
Congo can regain its territorial integrity
- Support the DRC's civil society campaigns to discourage northern
companies from trading in conflict diamonds and other minerals and
from collaborating with countries that have attacked Congo, so as
to encourage them to work directly through the Congolese State
- Support the request for an embargo on natural resources coming
from the eastern regions where conflict is occurring
- Participants at the Brussels conference should do everything
possible to demand that the Security Council set up an
international tribunal in the DRC to try economic crimes
- Support the DRC's civil society in their appeal to transit and
trading countries to no longer allow diamond transactions which are
not certified by the country of origin and to support the
application of control mechanisms as contained in the Kimberley
- Support civil society in its appeal that all products that do
not hold a certificate of origin should be seized wherever they are
being sold, and that these products should then be sold for the
benefit of the countries in which the plunder occurred
- Exert pressure on Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi to stop plundering
the DRC's natural resources
- Support the recommendations made by civil society on the
importance of establishing a Marshal Plan in order to rebuild the
DRC, following the reestablishment of a bilateral and multilateral
- Strengthen the national legal system so that it can instigate
proceedings against offenders world wide
- Support the actions taken by the DRC's National Network of
Natural Resource Management.
RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE CIVIL SOCIETY WORKSHOP ON THE PLUNDER
OF THE DRC'S NATURAL RESOURCES
NI. TO THE GOVERNMENT
- Accelerate the peace process and the country's reunification
- Foster the rapid growth of a state that is constitutional and
- Ensure follow-up on the work done by the National Experts Group
on the plunder of natural resources (minerals, lumber, animals,
agricultural products etc.) ...
- Make available the list of those exploiting natural resources in
the DRC in order to identify those who are operating illegally. ...
- Accelerate the national certification process for diamonds and
support training and recycling for the Congolese valuators of
- Establish a policy of incentives for private initiatives which
would add value by creating local diamond cutting enterprises.
- Promote financial support to local and national businesses in
order to encourage them to become involved in mining and other
sectors, areas which attract plunderers and which lose enormous
resources to Congo.
- Institutionalize debates on the plunder of the DRC's resources
by the launching of a national forum and by setting up provincial
meetings to discuss the issue.
- Establish a support fund for community development in mining
and forest exploitation zones, the management of which would
involve government, civil society and the private sector. ,,,
- Demand reparations for losses through the courts.
II. TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY: USA, Belgium, France, Great
Britain, Germany, Sweden, South Africa, European Union, SADC,
United Nations, African Union, etc.
- Exert pressure on transit and trading countries dealing in our
natural resources in order to stop the plunder of these resources.
- Impose an embargo of Congolese natural resources plundered by
Rwanda and Uganda, including the companies operating illegally in
the eastern part of the DRC, as well as the multinationals that are
connected to these companies.
- Request that the Security Council establish an international
criminal court for the DRC to try war crimes and economic crimes in
order to put an end to impunity.
- Ensure that the conventions and control mechanisms on natural
resources are respected.
III. TO INTERNATIONAL NGO PARTNERS
3. Support the campaign for reparations for losses incurred by the
4. Exert pressure to set up certification processes for other
resources (coltan, gold, lumber etc.) in accordance with the
(Translated from the original French)
This material is being reposted for wider distribution by
Africa Action (incorporating the Africa Policy Information
Center, The Africa Fund, and the American Committee on Africa).
Africa Action's information services provide accessible
information and analysis in order to promote U.S. and
international policies toward Africa that advance economic,
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