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Congo (Kinshasa): Civil Society Statement
Congo (Kinshasa): Civil Society Statement
Date distributed (ymd): 990208
Document reposted by APIC
Region: Central Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +security/peace+
This posting contains the Final Statement of the Montreal
Conference for Peace in Congo, held on January 29-30, 1999.
Thanks to Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) for providing the
English translation. Both French and English versions are
available on the PAC web site (http://www.web.net/pac/). For
information on the English and French e-mail services provided
by PAC, visit their web site or write to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more
information on the conference contact the organizations
mentioned in the preface to the statement.
The Montreal Conference for Peace in Congo (DRC)
February 4, 1999
Congolese civil society has launched a campaign for peace in
Congo (DRC). Representatives from Congolese organizations are
currently visiting different parts of the world seeking
support from the international community. Here is the final
statement from a conference that has just taken place in
Montreal, in which participated an important delegation from
Congolese civil society.
For more information contact:
International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic
Development, Montreal: Tel: (514) 283 6073 Fax: (514) 283
National Council of Development NGOs of Congo (CNONGD), B.P.
5744, Kinshasa. Fax: (243) 12-34441 E-mail: email@example.com
The Montreal Conference for Durable Peace and Democratic
Development in the Democratic Republic of Congo - Statement of
Principles and Plan of Action
The Montreal Conference on Durable Peace and Democratic
Development in the Democratic Republic of Congo took place
January 29 and 30, 1999, under the auspices of the
International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic
Development, and in collaboration with the following Congolese
organizations in Canada: Collective of Solidarity for
Democracy in Congo-Kinshasa (CSD-CK), Forum Baraza La Kivu, la
maison Lukula, Safari maison interculturelle, and
Axe-Quebec-Canada-Afrique, as well as Rally for a New Society
(RNS), African Association for the Defence of Human Rights in
Congo/Kinshasa (ASADHO), CNONGD, Comite Droits de l'homme
Maintenant, and the Coordination of Civil Society in Congo.
The Montreal Conference falls within the framework of an
international campaign to bring about peace in Congo that
began with the November 1998 civil society meetings held in
Kinshasa and Morat, Switzerland, and the January 1999 meeting
in Antwerp, Belgium. This conference is also a part of the
initiatives of several African states, SADC, the OAU, the
European Union and the UN to bring about peace and stability
in the DRC and the surrounding region.
The Conference's objectives were:
- To enhance the contribution and participation of internal
and external civil society and non-violent democratic forces
to the peace negotiation process, and to achieving respect for
human rights and democratic development in Congo;
- To provide an opportunity for a frank and constructive
dialogue between representatives of internal and external
civil society, non-violent political parties, the Congolese
government and armedopposition groups, toward durable peace
and the revival of the democratic process in the DRC and the
Great Lakes Region.
- To sensitize in particular the Government and the people of
Canada to the dramatic situation in the Democratic Republic of
About one hundred participants representing internal and
external Congolese civil society, political parties and
organizations such as UDPS, PALU, PDSC, FONUS, MNC-L and CNR,
churches, observers from the Canadian Government, Canadian and
African NGOs and African states as well as independent figures
took part in the proceedings.
The participants regret the absence of representatives of the
Congolese Government and the rebel forces (RCD) from this
peace-promoting initiative, despite the efforts by the
conference organizers, and invite them to participate in this
continuing process to bring about a quick end to the state of
war that is affecting the population in general and vulnerable
groups in particular, including women and children, and to
revive the democratic development process.
The participants regret also the absence of the leaders of
political parties forming the democratic forces within the DRC
who have been prevented until now by the restrictive measures
and obstruction of the Congolese government to move freely and
leave the country to attend personally this initiative for
peace and search for political consensus.
The participants owe a debt of gratitude to the Canadian
Government and people for their generous hospitality, and call
on them to continue supporting the Congolese people's efforts
to bring about durable peace and democratic development and,
as host, to assist particularly in the implementation of the
resolutions of the Montreal Conference.
The participants in the Montreal Conference addressed in
workshops the following themes:
- Cease-fire and peace-keeping, deployment of peace-keeping
- Preliminary conditions for the creation of a democratic
- Transitory democratic institutions and the conditions for
- Permanent democratic institutions for the new republic.
Participants in these thematic workshops reaffirmed the
- Respect for the Democratic Republic of Congo's national
sovereignty and territorial integrity;
- Cessation of hostilities and a negotiated cease-fire;
- Withdrawal of all foreign troops currently deployed in Congo
following the negotiated cease-fire agreement;
- Deployment of a peace-keeping force;
- Internal dialogue and implementation of a mediation
- Formation of a government and parliament with a broader
- Self-determination and the capacity of the citizens of the
Democratic Republic of Congo inside and outside the country to
choose their own political leaders through peaceful,
- The need for an inclusive political roundtable process with
international guarantees as the most appropriate means of
reviving the process of transition towards stable democratic
institutions in the Democratic Republic of Congo;
- Respect for international human rights and humanitarian law
conventions and the need to bring to justice alleged
perpetrators of massive violations under these conventions;
- Need to demobilize child soldiers;
- Consensus as a means of political dialogue;
- Seizing political power by force of arms is illegal and
They also adopted the following recommendations:
- Inclusion of democratic forces and civil society at the
negotiating table during upcoming talks between the Congolese
Government and the rebel forces.
- Liberation of political prisoners and prisoners of
conscience and non-restrictive liberalization of political
party activities. A national commission was proposed to bring
the resolutions of the Sovereign National Conference (CNS) up
to date in the form of a national charter of democratization.
- Convocation of an internal dialogue Forum or Roundtable.
This forum or roundtable will have to take place in a country
other than the Democratic Republic of Congo under safe
conditions. A truth commission on economic and war crimes and
massive violations of human rights will also need to be
- A political will to bring about a quick end to the war. A
political agreement will be required to back the negotiations
of the Forum or Roundtable. The participants recommended that
political and social forces play a role in implementing the
- Deployment of an international peace-keeping force of
approximately 12,000 troops and implementation of an
international observer mission to supervise the withdrawal of
foreign troops, to oversee the process of establishing a
national republican army and democratic institutions.
- Use of a legal framework called a transitional constitution
to govern the transitional period to be negotiated during the
Forum or Roundtable.
- Establishment by the Forum or Roundtable of a
constitutional commission responsible for adapting the draft
constitution of the CNS in the light of developments in the
Congolese political situation since the end of that
- Involvement of the population in the building of a durable
peace and the revival of the democratic development process
through general assemblies at the commune level.
- Establishment of a follow-up committee for implementation
of the plan of action stemming from this Montreal conference.
The participants put forward two arenas of lobbying and
political pressure both inside and outside the country:
- Inside the country, continue the campaign of civil society
and pursue a full-scale revitalization of the political
parties in order to achieve peace and democratic renewal.
- Outside the country, pursue lobbying efforts and an
education and sensitization campaign aimed at governments and
international institutions. Pursue a full-scale revitalization
of Congolese groups outside the country working for peace and
a revival of the democratic process.
The participants agreed on the following timetable for these
- February 16, 1999: Start of simultaneous worldwide events
with a commemoration of "Martyrs of Democracy" day, calling
for a quick end to the war, the liberation of political
prisoners and prisoners of conscience, the non-restrictive
liberalization of political party activities, and the lifting
of the ban on non-governmental organizations.
- February 16 to June 30, 1999: Promote peaceful actions
leading to the conclusion of the work of the internal dialogue
Forum or Roundtable. Support internal mediation initiatives
already in progress.
The participants call on the United Nations Secretary-General
and Security Council, the current Chair and the Secretary
General of the Organization of African Unity, the current
Chair and the Commission of the European Union, the Prime
Minister of Canada and the President of the United States of
America to play a vigorous role in the rapid return of peace
and in the democratic process in the Democratic Republic of
The participants draw the attention of the international
community to the massacres of civilians and other massive
human rights violations in this war, in both the eastern and
western parts of the country as well as to the misery of the
civilian population who are victims of this useless war.
Adopted in Montreal, January 30, 1999.
This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the
Africa Policy Information Center (APIC). APIC's primary
objective is to widen the policy debate in the United States
around African issues and the U.S. role in Africa, by
concentrating on providing accessible policy-relevant
information and analysis usable by a wide range of groups and