Congo, Democratic Republic of

Over the last 150 years, what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo has been subject to vast and destabilising resource expropriation at the hands of European capitalism since Belgian King Leopold II’s conquest in 1885. This exploitation still continues to this day. The DRC is suffering from a war, often referred to as Africa's World War, that is almost certainly the worst in the world.

Echoing and heeding the call from Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda, first president of Zambia, to “redouble our efforts for justice and for a true African humanism,” the two of us, as editors and authors of Seeds of New Hope: Pan African Peace Studies for the 21st Century (2009) and the forthcoming Seeds Bearing Fruit: Pan African Peace Action, do affirm the great potential of the peoples of Africa.

The War Resisters' International Council meeting in Bilbao (29-31 October) was extremely concerned about the situation of war and general insecurity in eastern Congo (Kivu provinces and Ituri region), and warns against the deployment of more troops in the area.

Since August 2008, the situation has been worsening as a result of the renewed activity of different armed militias and daily military confrontations with the FADRC (governmental armed forces) and the UN force MONUC. The suffering of the local population is extremely hard, and at least 200,000 people have been displaced.

A contingent of Pakistani peacekeepers was accused of selling gold and guns between 2005 and 2006 to Congolese militia groups they were meant to disarm.

The investigation, which began in early 2006, found no evidence of gun-running.

Pakistani officials have previously denied all the accusations, describing the allegations as "baseless".

In May the UN said it would seek to discipline anyone who had compromised peacekeeping in DR Congo by trafficking in gold or guns.

A tragedy forgotten by the global peace movement?

After decades of colonialism, dictatorship and wars, on 6 December 2006, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) swore in its first fairly and freely elected president since independence from Belgium in 1960, Joseph Kabila.


Warring groups compete for rich resources. This includes gold, diamonds, copper, uranium, and perhaps most significantly, coltan. The DRC has 65 percent of the world’s coltan deposits. This mineral is valuable for production of electronic devices from cell phones to video game consoles.


The way coltan reaches the market is very unsettling. The military, local militias and rebels are all involved in smuggling. Illicit profits fund these violent groups.


There are many corporations profiteering in DRC; the mining industry is one of the most involved in the destabilization of the country.Following there is a list of some of these corporations, and from all of them we will highlight one: The Forrest Group


The Forrest Group has the longest history of exploiting the Congo, gaining its first mining concessions before the Congo declared independence from the Belgians. The group, which includes the Ohio-based OM Group, has numerous concessions in Katanga (Shaba).


By Jan Van Criekinge

After decades of colonialism, dictatorship and wars, on Wednesday, 6 December 2006, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) swore in its first fair and freely elected president since independence from Belgium in 1960. "This moment marks the beginning of a new era that must bring well-being and development to Congo's people", said president Joseph Kabila (35) at his inauguration ceremony outside the presidential palace in the capital city Kinshasa.

Editorial

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Our December edition is focusing on war profiteering in the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC). We feel that it is important to highlight the responsibilities that corporations have in the ongoing crisis in DRC.

Congo remains in the grip of civil war. The reason is clear. A flood of small arms and light weapons undermines the 17,000 United Nations troops' mandate to protect civilians.

Taking part in activity against violence is particularly difficult when it is in the face of heavy, often arbitrary and unregulated, violence, as is the case during military action.

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