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This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Congo (Kinshasa): Recent Documents

Congo (Kinshasa): Recent Documents
Date distributed (ymd): 991110
Document reposted by APIC

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: Central Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +security/peace+ Summary Contents:
This posting contains several recent documents concerning the peace process and human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. For recent news please refer to: http://www.reliefweb.int/IRIN/archive/drc.htm and http://www.africanews.org/central/congo-kinshasa

+++++++++++++++++end profile++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Democratic Republic of Congo

Final Declaration from the Workshops of the Churches and Civil Society, October 4-9, 1999, Kinshasa

[Source: Inter-Church Coalition on Africa (ICCAF), Toronto, an ecumenical organization involved in research, lobbying, and advocacy. InfoSERV: A free e-mail information service offered by the Inter-Church Coalition on Africa. It features up-to-date reports on African events, issues, and people,drawn from a variety of Africa sources, both church and secular. Available under 6 countries, 4 regions, and 4 topics. To subscribe to InfoSERV, receive a list of publications or learn more about us, please contact us at: Inter-Church Coalition on Africa, 129 St. Clair Avenue West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 1N5; Tel: 416-927-1124; Fax:416-927-7554; e-mail: iccaf@web.net; Web: http://www.web.net/~iccaf]

We, members of Civil Society and the Churches, delegates from all the provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, meeting at the Nganda Catholic Centre in Kinshasa, from October 4 to 9, 1999, to examine the Lusaka Peace Accord and to prepare for our participation in the Inter-Congolese Dialog:

  • Considering the war currently being waged on Congolese territory;
  • Having closely followed the accounts of delegates coming from all the provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo about the grave situation facing our people;
  • Considering that Accord signed at Lusaka has been, from beginning to end, a text of a people desiring peace above all else;

We condemn the aggression against our country by the Rwandan, Ugandan and Burundian armies, aided by certain Congolese compatriots and we demand the withdrawal of these aggressors.

We hail and support the Lusaka Cease-Fire Accord which marks an important stage on the road to a lasting peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

We congratulate those who created and signed it for their willingness to put an end to this absurd and devastating war;

We exhort all parties to respect the Accord in all its provisions;

We call on all the warring parties to abstain from any acts suggesting willingness to continue the war, particularly movement of troops and military equipment towards potential battle zones;

We ask that the Government of the Congo

  • consolidate the cohesion of the Congolese people
  • reform and open up the political arena
  • give precedence to peace negotiation through constructive diplomacy which will effectively defend the integrity and sovereignty of our country
  • take economic management measures to reasssure all those involved in socio-economic affairs, and to guarantee the Congolese people a minimum standard of living in spite of the war.

We ask the Congolese in the RCD and the CLM:

  • to do everything they can to put an end to this war which puts our national sovereignty in others' hands
  • to stop the looting and destruction of our country by the Rwandans, Ugandans and Burundians, and the multiple violations for human rights.

To the Congolese people:

  • We appeal to the patriotism of every Congolese so that no son or daughter of this country will ever help foreigners to destabilize the country.
  • We make a solemn appeal to the whole Congolese people, in the East as in the West, the North as in the South, to make a common front and to stay united in the one resolve to work together for national reconciliation, for territorial integrity, and national sovereignty.

We demand that the UN Security Council

  • Make available the money, supplies and personnel necessary to implement the Lusaka Peace Accord;
  • We make a heartfelt appeal to the international community for emergency humanitarian aid for those who are victims of war;
  • We invite the Security Council to set up a Commission of Inquiry into the violation of Congolese territorial integrity and into the looting of Congolese resources;
  • We ask the international community to set up the financial mechanisms to reconstruct the economy of the Congo following the National Dialog.
  • We hope for the speedy summoning of a Regional Conference for the countries of the Great Lakes region to find a definitive, lasting solution to peace in Central Africa.

Finally, we assert that the Churches and Civil Society are already prepared to participate in the National Dialog and to make a constructive contribution to it. May God protect the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the lives of its people.


Press Briefing

PRESS BRIEFING BY SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON HUMAN RIGHTS, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

Source: http://www.un.org

5 November 1999

At a Headquarters press briefing this morning, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Roberto Garreton, said that during the month of April, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNHCR) had renewed the mandate of the old joint mission to check the allegations of massacres undertaken by the rebel forces in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Government of Mr. Kabila had banned the mission's enquiries. But the mission would be carrying out its task again as soon as it was safe to do so. For the moment, that was not possible, since the territory where the massacres had taken place was still in a state of war despite the cease-fire. But the war was not over, and it was not safe to send a mission there. It was important at this juncture, he had, to say that the United Nations had not forgotten the victims of the so-called war of liberation of 1994-1997.

He said that the cease-fire, achieved after many tortuous discussions between the various parties and countries concerned, was the result of African efforts, for it was mainly African countries such as Zambia, The Republic of South Africa, and Libya as well, that had thrown enormous effort into establishing a cease-fire. However, the cease-fire was a very fragile thing; it would appear that there were countries and groups on the lookout for an excuse to break it.

As far as human rights were concerned, things were much worse in terms of the frequency of acts of aggression. "What is going on in the East of the country?", he asked. The Security Council had apparently decided it was going to talk in terms of the armies of countries which had not been invited, since some countries had been invited to send their troops in -- such as Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola -- while others had not been so invited -- including Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda. Even more serious, Uganda and Rwanda had started fighting each other.

Mr. Garreton also stressed the lack of democracy in the region. In the West of the country there was not even a sign of emerging democracy. There was one party movement called The Congolese Rally for Democracy. In the East, there were de facto parties. That was because Democratic Republic of the Congo President Laurent Kabila passed a law last January decreeing that the parties must be 're-established'. They were to be set up under a new legal provision stipulating that the Minister of the Interior had the power simply to refuse to accept a new party even after it had been 're-established'. The Lusaka peace agreements did have provisions for political parties, including opposition parties, and Mr. Kabila had signed it. Mr. Garreton said he had asked him which political parties would be there at the negotiating table, the so-called Inter-Congo Dialogue. Mr. Kabila replied that they would be the political parties set up under the law, all those who had 're-established' themselves under the new law.

As for the situation for human rights activities, it was very serious, he said, and they ran huge risks. Their liberty, their freedom and their lives were at risk.

A correspondent asked about the role that the United Nations might play at this moment. Referring to the victims of the war of 1996-1997, who had been massacred by Alliance des Forces Demogratiques de Liberation (AFDL) troops, he said that investigations into those facts had not yet taken place. It was necessary to confirm that the atrocities had occurred and that the responsible could be tried. The AFDL had a Rwandan component and a Congolese component. When Kabila first arrived in Kinshasa, the AFDL had taken power with Kabila at its head. A year later the two had separated. At the moment, Mr. Kabila admitted that the massacres had been committed. Mr. Kabila also agreed to cooperate with the joint mission. Mr. Garreton emphasized that there were new scientific methods that made it possible to establish what had happened even after much time had passed. He expected cooperation in carrying out those investigations and successfully establishing the identity of the perpetrators.

Asked about a possible deployment of United Nations peacekeepers, Mr. Garreton said that only a few days ago Mr. Kabila sent a letter to the Secretary-General offering guarantees of security for the military observers who would be sent to the region. However, there were difficulties in the part of the country which was occupied by the rebels. It would be difficult to guarantee security there. The United Nations was morally committed to send troops, he said.

Asked about the possibility of finding evidence of other massacres committed by other nations in more recent fighting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and about where Mr. Kabila stood, Mr. Garreton answered that such investigations would be part of his mandate. As far as Mr. Kabila was concerned, he said that he had the duty to believe him. Mr. Kabila had said he was prepared to cooperate. However, any lack of cooperation would be reported -- while, on the contrary, his collaboration would be welcomed.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) for Central and Eastern Africa
Tel: +254 2 622147; Fax: +254 2 622129; e-mail: irin@ocha.unon.org

[This item is delivered in the "irin-english" service of the UN's IRIN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. For further information, free subscriptions, or to change your keywords, contact e-mail: irin@ocha.unon.org or Web: http://www.reliefweb.int/IRIN . If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer.]

Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN-CEA Weekly Round-up 44
covering the period 30 October - 5 November 1999

DRC: 500 UN observers recommended

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Tuesday recommended the extension to 15 January of the mandate of the UN observer mission in the Congo (MONUC), due to expire on Saturday, with the added deployment of up to 500 military observers. In a report to the UN Security Council, Annan said the deployment should be led by a soon-to-be-appointed special representative. The conclusions of technical survey teams should allow Annan provide the Council with further details of the possible establishment of a UN peacekeeping operation by 15 January, the report added.

DRC: Government "preparing people for war"

The DRC government appears to have embarked on a propaganda campaign in an apparent bid to prepare people for the possible resumption of fighting, analysts told IRIN on Friday. Government ministers have been issuing strong warnings to Rwanda and rebels in the east that the DRC will not go into the next century as an "occupied" country. Now, according to Gabonese radio reporting from Kinshasa, slogans have been appearing on giant billboards in the city declaring "peace has to be earned". "People are no doubt being prepared psychologically," the radio observed.

DRC: US "deeply concerned" by military activities

The US on Tuesday expressed its concern over reports of military movements and violations of the Lusaka ceasefire accord. "The US is deeply concerned by reports of military preparations, including the movement of troops and materiel by forces on both sides," news organisations quoted State Department spokesman James Rubin as saying. "These movements are provocative and risk being used as a pretext for a resumption of fighting," he said.

DRC: POW agreement signed

Parties involved in the DRC conflict on Wednesday signed an agreement in Lusaka, paving the way for the release and exchange of prisoners of war (POWs). An ICRC spokesman told IRIN it was now up to each of the governments involved to notify it of the number and names of the POWs they are holding so it can help arrange their release.

DRC: Some 6,000 deaths in war's first year

The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the DRC, Roberto Garreton, has said that by the end of the first year of the conflict, it was estimated some 6,000 people had lost their lives, many of them civilians killed in retaliation for Mayi-Mayi or Interahamwe attacks on RCD-controlled towns. Another 500 people remained missing, according to his latest report, issued on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the bombing of civilian populations in rebel-held towns was among the most "deplorable" acts carried out by the government and its allies in 1999, Garreton said. Some 6,000 children are in military service in government-controlled territory, and the use of children in warfare is even more frequent in the case of the RCD, Garreton added.


IRIN-CEA Update 796 for the Great Lakes
(Monday 8 November 1999)

DRC: Bemba declares ceasefire "null and void"

Leader of the rebel Mouvement de liberation congolais (MLC) Jean-Pierre Bemba has described the Lusaka ceasefire accord as "null and void", following alleged attacks by government forces. The Ugandan 'New Vision' daily quoted Bemba as saying government troops attacked his forces at Dongo on the border with the Central African Republic, but were "easily repulsed". "Now the ceasefire is null and void," he said. Bemba added that this was the second attack on Dongo in a week. He said that since he signed the Lusaka agreement on 1 August, his troops had been attacked in Gbadolite, Makanza and Libanda.

DRC: JMC chief says accord not dead

The chairman of the Joint Military Commission (JMC), Algerian General Rachid Lallali, said on Monday he had not been officially informed of any renunciation of the Lusaka ceasefire agreement by Bemba at the weekend, but that, if true, it would not mean the end of the peace process. Lallali told IRIN he had heard allegations of ceasefire violations but these would be dealt with when the OAU deployed some 30 military observers to the DRC to begin the ceasefire verification process. "By the weekend, we will have the means to be present in the field - to investigate, to check and to monitor these ceasefire violations... We need to start working, we need to start being present in the field," Lallali told IRIN.

DRC: UN military officers extended

The UN Security Council on Friday extended the mandate of 90 UN Military Liaison Officers (MLOs) to help implement the Lusaka ceasefire accord, but it did not authorise the proposed deployment of 500 military observers. The mandate of the MLOs, whose deployment to the DRC and regional capitals was initially authorised in mid-August for a three-month period, was extended until 15 January 2000, a UN statement said. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had recommended last week that the Council also give prior authorisation for the deployment of a 500-member UN observer mission to the DRC as part of the second phase of UN involvement in the peace process.

DRC: "Wobbly" commitment to peace accord

Annan's spokesman, Fred Eckhard, told journalists after Friday's Council meeting that there was "no mention of moving to the second phase, at least not now". He noted that the deployment of the initial 90 MLOs had not yet been completed, and it was proving difficult to overcome the "deep suspicions" of the UN within the DRC. "As to the parties to the peace agreement, we're trying to hold everyone's feet to the fire as far as their commitment to the agreement, but that's quite wobbly," Eckhard said. Meanwhile, Zambia's Secretary for Defence Brigadier-General Timothy Kazembe told Reuters on Friday that the fielding of UN observers would "probably come after three to four months" because the regional JMC would need time to put in place a secure environment for the deployment of foreign troops.


IRIN-CEA Update 797 for the Great Lakes
(Tuesday 9 November 1999)

DRC: Four JMC working groups to work on crucial issues

The Joint Military Commission (JMC) charged with implementing the Lusaka ceasefire agreement has established four working groups on its crucial aspects, which are expected to present their findings to the next full JMC meeting in the Zimbabwean capital Harare from 30 November. The different groups are to consider: the determination of humanitarian corridors and the exchange of prisoners of war; mechanisms for the disarmament of armed groups and civilian Congolese in illegal possession of arms; mechanisms for the disengagement of rival forces; and for the orderly withdrawal of foreign forces, according to a press release from the JMC meeting held in Lusaka from 31 October to 5 November.

DRC: UN peace envoy in Kinshasa

The UN Special Envoy for the DRC Peace Process, Moustapha Niasse, has arrived in Kinshasa for three days of talks with the government, UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said on Monday. His consultations will focus on the deployment of UN personnel to help implement the Lusaka ceasefire agreement, and other issues related to the peace process, the spokesman said. While in Kinshasa, Niasse will also meet with representatives of the unarmed opposition and civil society, he added.


This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC). APIC's primary objective is to widen international policy debates around African issues, by concentrating on providing accessible policy-relevant information and analysis usable by a wide range of groups and individuals.

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