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Late last week, the Security Council approved the creation of what it called its first-ever “offensive” combat force, with a mandate to carry out targeted operations to “neutralize and disarm” the notorious March 23 or M23 militia, as well as other Congolese rebels and foreign armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Until now, U.N. peacekeeping forces’ only explicit mandate has been the protection of civilians.
This letter, signed by Diaspora Congolese women in the U.S., U.K., Belgium, France and South Africa, was delivered to Ambassador Carson on March 20. We are writing to you with regard to the current U.S. policy position on “Lasting Solution to Instability” in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which you presented on Feb. 11, 2013, at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
Congolese people are seeking peace and justice. Trying Bosco Ntaganda at the ICC may lead to some measure of justice for the crimes perpetrated at his behest; however, it appears that his backers in Rwanda may very well be let off the hook yet again and allowed to continue their military aggression against the DRC.
“Africa shining” is just as potent a mirage as “India shining”; the shine is restricted to the economic and political elite on both sides of the Indian Ocean. African leaders – both elected politicians and traditional chiefs share the responsibility for allowing the pillage of their continent in the name of economic growth and development.
On Monday, Feb. 11, outgoing Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson presented an outline of the Obama administration’s policy position on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The purpose of Ambassador Carson’s presentation was twofold: discussing why efforts should be redoubled to bring stability to the Congo and laying out a framework for “moving forward.”
The United States says it’s ready to send surveillance drones to the Democratic Republic of Congo to help the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the African state despite the government of Rwanda’s objections from its new rotating seat on the U.N. Security Council. The U.S. also supports the plan to use drones to increase surveillance capacity in other African countries.
Congolese problems should have Congolese solutions. We ask that the United States of America and the United Kingdom immediately withdraw all forms of financial and military aid to Rwanda that is a state sponsor of terrorism in Africa. We must pledge to ourselves that we will never again betray our people and ourselves by staying quiet and passive.
Congolese people have seen an estimated 6 million of their citizens perish in an unjust war. They have witnessed how the perpetrators of these crimes still roam the streets of their country or are given humanitarian awards and accolades. We hope that all justice seekers around the world will join us in working to deliver justice to the Congolese people.
Congo’s Nov. 28 presidential and legislative elections were fraught with tremendous irregularities and widespread charges of fraud. The opposition categorically rejected the results as fraudulent. Nonetheless, Joseph Kabila was sworn into office on Tuesday, Dec. 20.
What makes this conflict particularly sickening is the role of U.S. and European corporations, together with Rwanda and Uganda, in the plunder of DRC's resources. This is a war about self-interest and greed.
Following "Break the Silence" Congo Week, Kambale Musavuli urges the global community, and African-Americans in particular, to revitalize international attention on the Congo as a means of shedding light on the ongoing conflict and harnessing the potential for strong advocacy relationships.
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