Socialist International deeply concerned about situation in eastern Congo

1 November 2008

The Socialist International is deeply concerned about the situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and calls for immediate and enhanced efforts by the world community to end the violence and address the mounting humanitarian crisis before it becomes an even greater catastrophe.

Despite the peace accord signed in January of this year, armed conflict between insurgents, militias and DRC government forces has continued and recently intensified, greatly straining UN peacekeepers whose mandate is to protect civilians, including humanitarian aid workers, from armed attack and to enforce the UN arms embargo on the country.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced during the recent rounds of conflict, human rights violations have been committed by all sides, women and children have suffered immensely and there is a clear threat that the situation could worsen without timely and concerted international action.

The Socialist International urges the UN Security Council to quickly reinforce the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo including with additional troops, air support and other resources and equipment needed to carry out its mandate.

The International further calls upon the world community, including the African Union, to insist that the governments of the DRC and neighbouring Rwanda abide by their commitments to refrain from supporting armed groups and to work for, and take all possible measures to ensure, a lasting peace agreement.

The International also fully supports the proposal for a humanitarian aid operation to be carried out in eastern Congo by the European Union, and would encourage all other nations able to contribute in this regard to do so.