The conflict for control of minerals and other natural resources has caused much of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). As a result of decades of civil war and ongoing conflicts in the East of the country, the unstable situation in the Congo has been called the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world today.
Strengthen U.S. Peace Efforts in the Congo
In a resolution entitled “A Call for Reflection and Advocacy on Behalf of the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” the UCC 28th General Synod and 2011 Disciples General Assembly identified “Congo Week” (October 19-25, 2014) as an opportunity for UCC and Disciples members and congregations to raise awareness about the violence and exploitation of resources in the Congo. Join us in calling on Congress to support peace and security in the Congo!
What can we do?
With the Congress returned to business after the shut-down debates, one of the unresolved foreign policy items on the agenda is an initiative strengthening the U.S. role in promoting peace in and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In June House Resolution 131, “Concerning the Ongoing Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Need for International Efforts toward Long-term Peace, Stability, and Observance of Human Rights,” was voted out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and is waiting for action by the full House of Representatives. A similar resolution, S.Res. 144, was passed by the Senate in June.
We urge Members of Congress to co-sponsor and support a vote on H.R. 131. This legislation would facilitate a comprehensive U.S. strategy for peace and security in Congo and the surrounding Great Lakes region of Africa by
- affirming U.S. support for the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework for establishing security and the territorial sovereignty of the DRC, which was signed by the Congo and its Africa Great Lakes neighbors in Uganda in February 2013,
- calling for strengthening of the UN Peacekeeping force (MONUSCO) in the Congo,
- urging the Obama Administration to develop a comprehensive strategy to promote peace in the Congo and accountability for human rights violations and war crimes committed in the conflict,
- and increasing international cooperation to prevent the flow of conflict-minerals and other illegal goods out of the Congo.
Understanding the Conflict in the Congo
The Congo remains strategically important. It is a key to regional stability, and it is rich in vital natural resources—many of which are essential to high-tech industries. Yet the conflict for control of minerals and other natural resources has caused much of the violence in the Congo. As a result of decades of civil war and ongoing unrest in the East of the country, the unstable situation has led to systemic humanitarian needs and ongoing human rights violations. With little control over much of Eastern Congo, the country’s vast natural wealth is systematically exploited both by neighboring countries and international corporations from the outside, and corrupt elites and violent insurgents from the inside.
In February 2013 various parties in the African Great Lakes region signed the “Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework”—an initiative that increases international support and regional buy-in into a sustainable peace between the Congo and its neighbors. The Cooperation Framework includes strengthening and reforming government accountability inside the Congo and among its neighbors and the international community.
It is in the United States’ interest to promote lasting peace and stability in the region, founded on respect for human rights, popular sovereignty, and accountable governance. For the Cooperation Framework in Africa to succeed it needs robust U.S. support. This push for a comprehensive U.S. strategy toward the Congo and congressional support and oversight of U.S. policy on the Congo would be a significant step in U.S. efforts toward peace in the Congo. It is important to call on Congress to pass this legislation and demonstrate U.S. commitment to ending the violence and exploitation of the Congo.
Learn more - Global Ministries 2013-2014 Congo Initiative includes bible study, educational and advocacy resources, all in collaboration with Congolese partners and UCC Conferences and Disciples regions.
The U.S. must make peace in Congo and the region a priority. Take Action - Urge your Representative to co-sponsor and support the passage of House Resolution 131.
As a member of a church with deep relationships with the people of the Congo, I urge you to work for peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by supporting a comprehensive U.S. strategy for peace and security in the region. The U.S. can help the Congo secure control over its eastern regions and its mineral resources by supporting the February 2013 African Great Lakes "Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework"--an initiative that increases international support and regional buy-in into reforms and greater security among the DRC and its neighbors.
House Resolution 131 "Concerning the Ongoing Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Need for International Efforts toward Long-term Peace, Stability, and Observance of Human Rights" was reported out of committee in June and needs to be voted on by the House. This legislation does several important things:
* Affirms support for the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework in establishing security and the territorial sovereignty of the DRC,
* Calls for strengthening of the UN Peacekeeping force (MONUSCO) in the Congo,
* Urges the Obama Administration to develop a comprehensive strategy to promote peace in the Congo and accountability for human rights violations and war crimes committed in the conflict,
* Increases international cooperation to prevent the flow of conflict-minerals and other illegal goods out of the Congo.
The appointment this summer of former Sen. Russ Feingold as U.S. Special Envoy to the African Great Lakes region is an important first step in U.S. leadership toward stability and peace in this volatile region of central Africa. In order to support his work and strengthen U.S. peace efforts in the region, I urge you to join with your colleagues in co-sponsoring and passing this important legislation.
For more information, contact Global Ministries Advocacy and Education:
Other Advocacy Actions:
- Read "Peace, Human Rights, and the Conflict over the Congo's Mineral resources"
- Global Ministries resources include the 2011 UCC and Disciples resolutions calling for “Reflection and Advocacy on Behalf of the Congo.”
- Learn more at Enough Project’s “Raise Hope for Congo” Campaign and Friends of the Congo.
- Follow Publish What You Pay to help make the Mining and other industries transparent and accountable.
- Find out which high-tech companies are conflict-free.
- Observe the “Cell Out” digital-fast campaign during Congo Week to raise awareness about the crisis over coltan mining in the Congo. Organize your group to be “conflict-free.”