Congo Week

Source: Congo Week


Dear Friends,
I greet you in the midst of these very trying times for my country. Since April, nearly a half million Congolese have been displaced and rendered homeless by a Rwandan-backed rebel movement in the east of our country. A United Nations Group of Experts report says Rwanda is training, arming and financing rebels that have destabilized the east of the Congo.

The reason we host Congo Week in the month of October is because it was in October 1996 that mainly Rwanda and Uganda first invaded the Congo and triggered the catastrophic crisis that we have endured for the past 16 years. Since we began Congo Week in 2008, sixty countries and over 300 communities have joined us to demonstrate their support and value for Congolese lives.

Due to your support along with others throughout the globe, world leaders are finally listening to Congolese voices and applying pressure to the dominant source of the instability in the east of our country. The United States, Netherlands, Sweden and a number of other donor nations are finally holding the Rwandan government accountable by withholding aid as a result of Rwanda’s support for rebel groups inside the Congo.

As youth and future leaders of our country, we are clear that Congo’s challenge is both external and internal. Young people will gather throughout the country during Congo Week (October 14 – 20, 2012) to discuss and examine the path that Congo took to arrive in its current condition and build on strategies for realizing peaceful and lasting change.

We call on you to join us in addressing our external challenges as we face and tackle the various internal forces that have rendered our country dependent, impoverished and unstable.

This is an historic opportunity for you to be a part of the global movement to bring an end to what is described as the greatest humanitarian crisis at the dawn of the 21st century and the deadliest conflict since World War Two.

We encourage you to seize the moment and become a part of a noble pursuit for justice and human dignity in the heart of Africa, my home, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Samya Lugoma
Student Coordinator
Friends of the Congo

Letter to World Bank Vice President for Africa On Rwanda

Mr. Makhtar Diop
Vice President for Africa
World Bank
1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433 USA

Cc: Ms. Carrie Turk, Country Manager, Rwanda
Board of Executive Directors

Re: Concerns About World Bank Financing in Rwanda

Dear Vice President Diop,

I am writing to urge the World Bank to review its programing in Rwanda in light of detailed evidence of human rights abuses by the Rwandan government and the Rwandan military’s support for armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) responsible for serious human rights violations.

Human Rights Watch is an independent, nongovernmental organization that monitors human rights developments in more than 90 countries around the world. For more than 30 years Human Rights Watch has investigated and reported on human rights abuses by governments and non-state actors such as businesses and opposition armed groups. We have advocated for enhanced protection of economic, social and cultural rights, as well as civil and political rights.

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DR Congo: M23 Rebels Committing War Crimes

Human right watch – 11th September 2012


M23 rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are responsible for widespread war crimes, including summary executions, rapes, and forced recruitment. Thirty-three of those executed were young men and boys who tried to escape the rebels’ ranks.

Rwandan officials may be complicit in war crimes through their continued military assistance to M23 forces, Human Rights Watch said. The Rwandan army has deployed its troops to eastern Congo to directly support the M23 rebels in military operations.

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Here below, you can find the letter to pres. Kagame, wrote by 11 american members of Congress of USA.


“We are writing as a bipartisan group of legislators to express our deep concern about the recent and growing conflict in eastern Congo…”


Congress letter to Kagame


The “Peace for Congo Network”

Secretary’s office

will be closed for holidays

from 15th July to 05th August 2012

Thomas Lubanga Dyilo sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment

International Criminal Court – 10th july 2012



Today, Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) sentenced Thomas Lubanga Dyilo to a total period of 14 years of imprisonment. The Chamber, composed of Judge Adrian Fulford, Judge Elizabeth Odio Benito and Judge René Blattmann, also ordered that the time from Mr Lubanga’s surrender to the ICC on 16 March 2006 until today should be deducted from this sentence. Mr Lubanga Dyilo was found guilty, on 14 March 2012, of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 and using them to participate in hostilities in the Ituri region in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, from 1 September 2002 to 13 August 2003.

The Presiding Judge, Adrian Fulford, delivered a summary of the Trial Chamber’s decision during an open hearing held today. He explained that the Chamber considered the gravity of the crimes in the circumstances of this case, with regard, inter alia, to the extent of the damage caused, and in particular “the harm caused to the victims and their families, the nature of the unlawful behaviour and the means employed to execute the crime; the degree of participation of the convicted person; the degree of intent; the circumstances of manner, time and location; and the age, education, social and economic condition of the convicted person”.

He highlighted that the crimes for which Mr Lubanga has been convicted, comprising the crimes of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 and using them to participate actively in hostilities, are undoubtedly very serious crimes that affect the international community as a whole. The Presiding Judge added that the “vulnerability of children mean that they need to be afforded particular protection that does not apply to the general population, as recognised in various international treaties”.

Judge Fulford indicated that the Chamber has, however, reflected certain other factors involving Mr Lubanga, namely his notable cooperation with the Court and his respectful attitude throughout the proceedings.

Judge Elizabeth Odio Benito has written a separate and dissenting opinion on a particular issue. She disagrees with the Majority’s decision to the extent that, in her view, it disregards the damage caused to the victims and their families, particularly as a result of the harsh punishments and sexual violence suffered by the victims of these crimes.


Misna – 10th july 2012


The rebels of the March 23 Movement (M23) withdrew from one of the main cities of the North Kivu province, occupied over the weekend, media correspondents refer from east DR-Congo confirming the announcement made yesterday.


Based on the reports, the rebels withdrew around 5km from the city to the south-east, in direction of Bunagana and the border with Uganda. Rutshuru is only 30km from Goma, the provincial capital.


An M23 commander Colonel Sultani Makenga had stated that his men had allowed the entry in the city of soldiers and United Nations peacekeepers to show Kinshasa their will to negotiate. “The government must decide if it wants peace and an end to the fighting”, added Makenga. The rebels maintain control of Bunangana, a strategic area for mineral trade in the resource rich east.


The fighting resumed in North Kivu in April. Until 2009, the majority of the M23 fighters were part of the National Congress for the Defence of the People, another rebel group suspected of being backed by the Rwandan government. [VG/BO]


Misna – 10th july 2012


At the conclusion of a plenary assembly in Kinshasa, the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) called for a national reawakening to save the nation from a “balkanization plan”, denounced many times. After expressing “shock” over the continuation of the “war in East, North and South Kivu, which is killing peaceful Congolese citizens”, the Bishops announced a large-scale sensitization campaign in all the Catholic parishes of the nation.


“The populations must realize that our country is at war and must defend every square centimeter of our national territory”, said CENCO secretary general Father Léonard Santedi, urging legislators and government leaders to consider the war in the East as “a first priority”. According to Fr. Santedi, outside action is also needed to ensure that the international community “realizes that the Congolese population is rising up just to say no to the macabre plan of balkanization and crumbling of our nation”. In interviews released to Radio Okapi, part of residents in the capital Kinshasa attribute the conflict in the east to “bad government” and “inaction of the authorities (…) who don’t tell the truth on what is occurring”.


Reports in circulation are often confused or contradictory, though many sources confirm the possibility of an offensive by the rebel March 23 Movement (M23) against Goma, where Congolese troops and MONUSCO peacekeepers are about to be deployed. An estimated 2,000 rebels in the past days seized control of Bunagana, on the border with Uganda, and six other areas of the province, including Rutshuru. Confirmation arrived last night of the withdrawal of the rebels from Rutshuru, now under control of national police units, also made up by former rebels of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP, tutsi) headed by the General Bosco Ntaganda – wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague – who demand the application of accords signed in 2009 with the government of Kinshasa, under which they were integrated in the security forces. The situation in North Kivu today will be the focus of a UN Security Council meeting and tomorrow an emergency ministerial meeting of Great Lakes nations will be held in Addis Ababa in a bid to reduce the growing tension between Kinshasa and Kigali, accused of backing the M23 rebels with men and means. [VV/BO]

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Help End the Conflict in the Congo



The Democratic Republic of the Congo, located in the heart of Africa and vital to the future of the African continent, has experienced the deadliest conflict in the world since World War Two. An estimated six million lives have been lost since 1996 when U.S. allies Rwanda and Uganda first invaded the Congo.

Both countries invaded the Congo again in 1998 and continue to sponsor proxy rebel groups inside the Congo resulting in tremendous suffering on the part of the civilian population.


Recognizing the destructive role that Rwanda and Uganda have played in the Congo, as Senator, Barack Obama sponsored a bill that was co-sponsored by Senator Hillary Clinton, called the Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security and Democracy Promotion Act, Public Law 109-456.


Although the bill was signed into law by President Bush in 2006, very little has been done to implement the law. There is a key provision in Section 105 of that law that if implemented could play a constructive role in addressing the current instability and conflict in the east of Congo, which has displaced over 100,000 Congolese since March.


Section 105 says “The Secretary of State is authorized to withhold assistance made available under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151 et seq.), other than humanitarian, peacekeeping, and counter terrorism assistance, for a foreign country if the Secretary determines that the government of the foreign country is taking actions to destabilize the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

Crisis In The Congo: Uncovering The Truth

This video explores the role that the United States allies, Rwanda and Uganda,

have played in triggering the greatest humanitarian crisis

at the dawn of the 21st century.

By Congofriends