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The eastern DRC is again in turmoil.

In recent years, security was improving in the South and North Kivu, without the underlying problems are resolved. The figurehead of the rebellion is currently the General Bosco Ntaganda. Since 2006, he is wanted by the International Criminal Court because of the war crimes. March 15 (2012), Prosecutor Luis Moreno has asked President Kabila to deliver the general to the ICC. In support of their general many soldiers deserted and turned against the loyalist forces (FARDC). This renewed insecurity has led to the creation of new self-defense militias Mai Mai, and significant migratory movements towards the outskirts of Goma and near the border areas of Rwanda and Uganda.

Given this situation, the European Network for Central Africa (EURAC) issued the call below. This call is reproduced here as part preparation for a debate and pronouncements of World Citizens institutions.

2012 June, 8th 

EurAc calls for the cessation of violence in the East of the DRC for lasting pacification of the region
The European Network for Central Africa (EurAc) and its NGO members are exceptionally concerned by the renewed outbreak of violence and insecurity in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and especially in the East of the country since the month of April 2012. The situation is deteriorating day by day, to the detriment of the civilian population, which is the victim of serious Human Rights violations. It once again risks causing violence to erupt in other parts of the country, particularly those where the process of pacification is relatively further advanced, such as Ituri and certain parts of South Kivu.

This situation is resulting in the reprise of armed combat, in early April, following the defection of more than a dozen superior officers and hundreds of men from the so-called M23 rebellion originating from the former Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP - National Congress for the Defence of the People) of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) in support of their leader, Bosco Ntaganda, whom President Joseph Kabila has finally agreed to have arrested so that he may be tried.

EurAc calls for the European Union and its member States to urge the Congolese institutions to renew their political commitment to genuine reform of the security sector and to lead policies aiming to respond to the structural factors of the conflict in the East, where the role of Rwanda is increasingly flagrant.

In any case, EurAc considers that the solutions applied to this crisis should in no case encourage impunity by protecting criminals and trouble-makers, including Bosco Ntaganda.

EurAc calls for the European Union and its member States to:

  • ensure that the situation of insecurity in the East of the DRC, which structurally and repeatedly threatens the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Congolese State, is not left solely to the discretion of the President of the Republic but that the Congolese Parliament and government can be involved and play their role in its resolution;
  • urge the Congolese government to put an end to the fighting and defections which are underway, whilst ensuring the protection of the civilian populations and taking care of displaced people, thanks to the support, in particular, of MONUSCO;
  • commit to total and effective mixing within the FARDC of Congolese military personnel, who previously came under the command of the CNDP, based on clear criteria and thanks to a process of support and monitoring with the aim of building a national republican army. However, this mixing should not, in any case, be a sort of amnesty which would once again sanction impunity.
  • collaborate with the DRC so that Bosco Ntaganda may lay down his weapons, be arrested and handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC), wherever he may be; and to apply pressure so that Rwanda can neither instigate nor support sedition in Kivu, but rather cooperate with the Congo in this process.
  • press for the return to sincere dialogue for the definitive return of Rwandan refugees and for the final settlement of the issue of the FDLR, two of the main problems at the foundation of the border insecurity between Rwanda and the DRC and which often serve as a pretext for many human rights violations on Congolese soil. The opening of the political space within Rwanda would be at the same time an indispensable step in the struggle to eliminate violence by the FDLR.
  • press for the Congolese institutions to join forces with MONUSCO in the resolution of this crisis, maintaining security in the East of the RDC and the protection of civilian populations. This collaboration should extend to the necessary investigations into the massacres committed in the East of the country and into the allegations by the United Nations regarding any support from Rwanda in the M23 rebellion.

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