Monday, June 3, 2013

PCUSA OPW Signs on to Letter Supporting Legislation to help the DR Congo


H Res. 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. Sponsored by Representative Karen R. Bass (D-CA-37)

For more information or to become a sponsor of this this legislation contact Rep. Karen Bass' office at or 202.225.7084.

The humanitarian and military crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), makes the DRC one of the most volatile places in Africa. Since the previous war in the late 1990's, an estimated 5 million people have died and in the recent crisis caused by armed groups, particularly, the M23, an estimated 2.4 million Congolese were internationally displaced and near 500,000 sought refuge in DRC's neighboring countries.
Armed militias including the Congolese army (FARDC) have engaged in human rights violations including acts of sexual and gender based violence and the recruitment of children as child soldiers. It is said that in the DRC, sexual violence rates are among the highest in the world. To mitigate the ongoing and prolonged crisis in the DRC, a number of issues must be addressed including and importantly security sector reforms and confronting the high levels of insecurity found throughout the country. Such concerns include low levels of political will to address a weak military, police and judicial system as well ending rampant impunity throughout the country.
H Res. 131: Summary
Whereas (highlights)
* An estimated 5 million people have died, more than 2 million people have been displaced due to repeated cycles of conflict and atrocities, particularly in eastern DRC;
* United Nations and humanitarian groups have reported staggering rates of sexual and gender-based violence;
* Congo's wealth of natural resources, including minerals and high-value wildlife products such as elephant ivory, have been a key driver of insurrection and violence;
* M23 crisis is fueled and exacerbated by the Government of Rwanda, including through Rwandan Government provision of significant military and logistical assistance, and of operational and political guidance and support

Be it Resolved (highlights)
* Congress urges stakeholders in this crisis to maintain the current ceasefire, and to undertake an honest dialogue;
* Congress calls on governments of the Great Lakes region of Africa to respect the national security and territorial integrity of the DRC;
* Congress calls on the Obama Administration, in close coordination with international and regional partners, to mobilize a comprehensive response to prevent further deterioration of regional peace and stability;
* Congress requests Secretary of State Kerry to appoint Special Envoys to address the DRC crisis;
* Congress calls on the UN to strengthen peacekeeping operations in the DRC through the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo