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Dec-01-2012 19:55printcomments

A People Betrayed: Democratic Republic of Congo

Experts report that Rwanda is unequivocally involved in the destabilization of the DRC.

Salem-News.com
M23 rebels in the Congo

(Washington, D.C.) - Another report... another investigation... more women raped... more horrific deaths... more displaced people…more children starving. Welcome to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It has been labeled the most dangerous place in the world to be a woman and has been the victim of a 15 year war waged by Rwanda that started as an alleged hunt for people accused of committing genocide to now being a war for minerals, power and money.

The DRC is one of the largest countries on the African continent and holds resources beyond minerals and wealth; the land could feed the entire continent if allowed and the water resources could provide electricity far beyond its borders. Yet, this natural wonder remains a war zone and much of her residents traumatized beyond what any human on earth should ever experience. Although through all this the strength and determination of the Congolese people is unmatched.

The residents of Goma have gone a weeks without power or water. Food resources are very low and many are starving from hunger and thirst. The city is overrun with rebels back by the Rwandan Government who call themselves the M23. They have looted the city of it resources including banks, food and personal property.

Congo refugees

The fighting has caused the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people who have fled to neighboring areas in order to stay alive. No person anywhere should have to live this way and no child should ever have to know what it is like to live in a war zone.

Report after report have all stated the same facts. Credible agencies like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Oxfam and the Group of Experts to the United Nations Security Council have all reported that Rwanda is supplying weapons, directives, communication equipment and soldiers to the M23 rebel group that is currently terrorizing eastern DRC.

The latest Group of Experts report to the UNSC increased their verification methods with the accusations in the latest report on the situation in the DRC stating that Rwanda is unequivocally involved in the destabilization of the DRC. Yet with all of these reports nothing is being done. Nothing. The ICGLR, International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, met last week without the presence of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda in order to find a regional solution to the ongoing crisis in the DRC. Yet, the main members, Uganda and Rwanda, both stand accused of aiding and abetting war crimes in the DRC as well as in their own country. How can the countries currently destabilizing the region be trusted to find a solution?

The latest report that has not been as widely reported on as it should be is the most recent Oxfam report entitled Commodities of War (http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/commodities-war-drc).

Reading this report should anger any reader and urge them to take action. This reports clearly states how betrayed the people of the eastern DRC are and who is behind the atrocious acts being committed. The DRC military, FARDC, are not visible and are not protecting the people of Goma and the surrounding areas as there are required to do.

The local police, PDC, who are also in place to protect the citizens, are causing instability and corruption on a daily basis. The Oxfam report states that the local police will not even begin to investigate crimes or even assist victims until they have been paid a requested sum of money. In most places this behavior is called corruption.

Kabilla

The UN Group of Experts has provided unequivocal and detailed proof that no rational mind can refute yet the UNSC refuses to hold Rwanda responsible for their part in destabilizing the DRC. In a cursory move the UNSC placed sanctions on a leader of the M23 limiting his travel and freezing assets yet these sanctions will have no effect on stabilizing the region. For example this leader, Sultan Makanga, traveled to Uganda last week to meet with President Museveni for talks on the situation in Goma. So much for that travel ban!

The UNSC has met and “condemned” the actions of the M23 but what exactly does that do to support the people of the DRC? A verbal warning is worth nothing when a community has no water, no power and is starving.

MONUSCO troops are also on the ground in one of the world’s largest contingent of peacekeeping members from the UN but the Oxfam report is very clear that MONUSCO is not protecting the citizens as they have been commissioned.

Further and most devastating is the fact that the people of the DRC have been betrayed by their President, Joseph Kabila. President Kabila has a duty to direct the army, to protect the citizens and to rise up against those who seek to destroy his country and he has done none of that.

He has turned his back on his people in order to appease the powers around him; namely Paul Kagame of Rwanda who installed Kabila as president after ordering the assassination of his father Laurent Kabila in 2001.

These bed-fellows have wreaked havoc on the DRC with over 5 million people killed. At what point does this war become severe enough to warrant major media attention? How many innocent lives have to be lost in order for the international community to take notice and act?

This last week the UK made their decision to suspend the aid that was due to be dispersed to Rwanda in December. A payment of over $33 million USD will not be released to Rwanda due to their direct involvement in aiding and abetting the M23 in Congo. Many nations have already cut their aid and the UK and US are the last two to make their decisions.

As of press time of this article the US has finally made a decision to impose sanctions on those who are supporting the M23 and have named Rwanda specifically in their report.

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Jennifer Fierberg is a social worker in the US working on peace and justice issues in Africa with an emphasis on the crisis in Rwanda and throughout the central region of Africa. Her articles have been published on many humanitarian sites that are also focused on changing the world through social, political and personal action.

Jennifer has extensive background working with victims of trauma and domestic violence, justice matters as well as individual and family therapy. Passionate and focused on bringing the many humanitarian issues that plague the African Continent to the awareness of the developed world in order to incite change. She is a correspondent, Assistant Editor, and Volunteer Coordinator for NGO News Africa through the volunteer project of the UN. Jennifer was also the media co-coordinator and senior funding executive for The Africa Global Village. You can write to Jennifer at jfierberg@ymail.com. Jennifer comes to www.Salem-News.com with a great deal of experience and passion for working to stop human right violation in Africa.

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