UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
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+
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: http://www.web.net/~pac/pacnet-l/maillist.html
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. 2, 2002.
Additional recent links on the peace process and resource issues:
UN Regional Integrated Information Networks (IRIN), "Foreign Forces may Return to DRC" http://allafrica.com/stories/200210170392.html
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" http://allafrica.com/stories/200210170586.html
New report on how consumer demand fuels resource
wars, including cell phones and demand for coltan in
the Congo. More details at: http://www.worldwatch.org/pubs/paper/162/press.html
For more current news and commentary,see http://allafrica.com/congo_kinshasa
"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: email@example.com
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.
1. 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 resources.
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 be met:
- 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 armies;
- 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.
2. A State in urgent need of reconstruction
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 response.
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:
- 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 systematically. ...
- 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 environment.
3. The fight against impunity and the reconstruction of the justice system
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 Truth
- the setting up of an International Criminal Tribunal for the DRC
- 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 rights violations.
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 investment:
- 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;
- 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 sovereign state.
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;
- 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 development, etc;
- be managed transparently, particularly in this sector, to respect the principles of good government;
- 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 Chretien 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 Natural Resources, Centre Lasallien de Kintambo, Kinshasa, August 5-7, 2002
Contact: CENADEP, Avenue Haut Congo No. 3, Kinshasa l Gombe, B.P. 14582 Kinshasa I, Democratic Republic of Congo. Tel: (+243) 9982097 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Partnership Africa Canada, 323 Chapel Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 7Z2, Canada. Tel: 1-613-237-6768 Fax: 1-613-237-6530 E-Mail: email@example.com Web: http://www.partnershipafricacanada.org
A. NATIONAL AWARENESS RAISING STRATEGIES
1. 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. ...
6. Undertake campaigns to raise awareness and lobby nationally and internationally against the plunder of Congo's natural resources. ...
10. Involve the network in the follow-up and in the extension of the (Kimberley) certification process to other resources. ...
B. RESOLUTIONS DESTINED FOR INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGNS (especially for the September 18-19, 2002, Brussels workshop)
1. Support the peace process so that the Democratic Republic of Congo can regain its territorial integrity.
2. 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.
3. Support the request for an embargo on natural resources coming from the eastern regions where conflict is occurring.
4. 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.
5. 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 Process.
6. 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.
7. Exert pressure on Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi to stop plundering the DRC's natural resources.
8. 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 structural cooperation.
9. Strengthen the national legal system so that it can instigate proceedings against offenders world wide.
10. Support the actions taken by the DRC's National Network of Natural Resource Management.
C. RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE CIVIL SOCIETY WORKSHOP ON THE PLUNDER OF THE DRC'S NATURAL RESOURCES
I. TO THE GOVERNMENT
1. Accelerate the peace process and the country's reunification.
2. Foster the rapid growth of a state that is constitutional and democratic.
3. Ensure follow-up on the work done by the National Experts Group on the plunder of natural resources (minerals, lumber, animals, agricultural products etc.) ...
4. Make available the list of those exploiting natural resources in the DRC in order to identify those who are operating illegally. ...
6. Accelerate the national certification process for diamonds and support training and recycling for the Congolese valuators of precious stones.
7. Establish a policy of incentives for private initiatives which would add value by creating local diamond cutting enterprises.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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. ,,,
15. 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.
1. Exert pressure on transit and trading countries dealing in our natural resources in order to stop the plunder of these resources.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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 DRC.
4. Exert pressure to set up certification processes for other resources (coltan, gold, lumber etc.) in accordance with the Kimberley Process.
(Translated from the original French)
Message-Id: <200210201908.g9KJ83T12476@marduk.africapolicy.org> Comments: Authenticated Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2002 15:13:12 -0500 Subject: Congo (Kinshasa): Civil Society Statements
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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