Friday, February 02, 2007

Pillar Summaries and Goals


-Pillar I-

Save Lives – Fund Relief

More than 4 million Congolese have died since 1998 as a result of the war. Although “Africa’s first World War” officially ended in 2003, recent studies show that more than 1,000 people continue to die each day; almost half of these are children under the age of five. Most of these deaths are due to disease and malnutrition and are easily preventable. In the 2006 Humanitarian Action Plan, the United Nations created a comprehensive overview of the humanitarian needs of the D.R. Congo. To date donors have provided less than half of the requested amount. D.R. Congo remains one of the most under-funded crises internationally.

With a new government recently voted into power, institutional donors are shifting to a development mode of support and further reducing what little humanitarian funding they were providing. While this transition is logical, it must be recognized that development interventions take at least one to two years to be developed and implemented. Until this is in place, displaced people and returnees in the D.R. Congo will remain living in squalid conditions with only minimal access to food, water, or medical care and will be unable to return home and resume their livelihoods.

Pillar I Goals:

  • To advocate for the full funding of the Humanitarian Action Plan for the DR Congo for every year as long as it is needed

  • To promote bilateral and multilateral funding for humanitarian programs and other financial assistance to the DR Congo

  • To encourage private donations and charitable giving to Congo-based humanitarian programs, especially local civil society groups, hospitals, and other programs dedicated to the rebuilding of local infrastructure


-Pillar II-

Keep People Safe

The security situation in the DR Congo is in desperate need of international attention and assistance. Violence, looting, and rape by armed militia groups and the Congolese military over an eight-year period has left local communities devastated.

Sexual violence against women and girls continues with impunity. The lack of a properly functioning justice system sends a subtle message that rape goes unpunished, resulting in increased numbers of civilian perpetrators.

The plight of Congolese children is dire. Child soldier recruitment and slavery has stolen the childhood of thousands. Still without a functioning free and universal school system, a large number of Congolese children continue to spend much time in the streets where they face further abuse and exploitation.

The international community has the ability to improve the security of the DR Congo, helping to prevent deaths, rape, exploitation, and displacement. The deployment of the UN peacekeeping mission known as MONUC has already resulted in decreased violence in the areas where it maintains a presence. However, the gravity of the security situation demands peacekeepers with a renewed mandate that includes effective and well-monitored programs for disarmament and training of the Congolese military.

Pillar II Goals:

  • Advocate for the renewal and expansion of MONUC

  • Advocate for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programs

  • Create a campaign that defends women and educates men about rape prevention

  • Restore childhood to war-affected children by providing access to safe environments for education and play


-Pillar III-

End Conflict Resources – Get the Fair Share

In the DRC, conflict and impoverishment are directly related to the wealth generated from the countries’ natural resources. Vast quantities of mineral wealth are smuggled and exported from the DRC every year with no benefit to the majority of the Congolese people. Networks of armed groups, elites, corporations, governments and Congolese civil and military officials control and pilfer diamonds, gold, cobalt, tin, copper and other natural resources. The exploitation of resources is exacerbated by subsequent human rights abuses such as slavery and child labor, and environmental degradation.

In June 2005 the Lutundula Commission, a special National Assembly commission set up by the peace accords of 2003, submitted a report on its investigations of extractive industry contracts signed by rebels and government authorities between 1996 and 2003, when the DRC was in the midst of war. The report found that dozens of contracts are either illegal or not designed to benefit the people or development of the DRC. The report recommended the termination or renegotiation of 16 contracts, the investigation of 28 Congolese and international companies, and judicial action against a number of senior political and corporate actors involved in these operations. This report corroborates the central findings of the U.N. Panel of Experts and other investigations, which concluded that belligerents were motivated in part by their desire to exploit Congo’s mineral and economic wealth. To date the recommendations of the Lutundula Commission have not be acted upon.

Pillar III Goals:

  • Establish a process to ensure certifiably clean resources

  • Establish a nationwide Contract Review Process in the DR Congo

  • Ensure transparency and equality in the Export Process

  • Establish a Code of Conduct for businesses working in the DR Congo

  • Establish mechanisms to fight corruption on a local level

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