Congolese Women Message to the UK Parliament
1. Although the title of this event is stating that there is “Still no News on Congo”, we Congolese women have the following information for you; that we bring from the west and east of the country that human insecurity continue in DRC, because of poverty, corruption and lack of rule of law, illicit trafficking and proliferation of small arms, illegal exploitation of natural resources by multinational corporations in violation of OECD guidelines. Add to this, the inhumane treatment of soldiers. The Congolese soldiers are accused of being perpetrators, but we forget that they are also human beings and as well as victims who need and deserve special attention. The FARDC is made up of mixed rebels and non rebels men and women who have been abused by a vicious capitalist system, that is now asking the international community to train them while knowing that they are inhumanely treated, with no salary, homeless, no contact with their family and no sanitation. Furthermore the chain of command of the DRC army is one that is dictated by those who serve the interest of the multinational corporations that pillage the country while creating human insecurity. Sexual violence is not cultural or traditional in the D.R. Congo.
2. Sexual violence is a consequence and a strategy of war. It has been used as a tool of war, humiliation, destabilization and displacement of our communities. We cannot combat sexual violence without addressing the war and its roots causes. Statistics show that since 1997, the rate of sexual violence has increased proportionally to occurrence of the war and armed violence. There appears to be an internationally driven strategy to legitimize armed violence in the DRC provoking a low intensity war that is creating human insecurity and catastrophic humanitarian disasters through the displacement of entire populations. The atrocities and barbarity inflicted on the reproductive system of Congolese women was designed to negatively affect production for food security and reproduction of future generations of Congolese. This control of population growth in the DRC is an act of genocide. If you don’t want to call it that way, we Congolese are telling you that it is a 400 years old strategy to enslave and kill grassroots Congolese people in order to access precious and strategic natural resources. This is a strategy to stop human development of the Congolese people in particular and the Africa continent in general.
3. In order for change to occur in the DRC and to end this epidemic of sexual violence, we need to restore the rule of law and the human rights.
4. Today the DRC population is paying from the mismanagement of the 1994 Rwanda fratricide We. all share a passion to support Women in the Congo. We have have to support Congolese women who are working for change that entail building social, economic and political structures that will serveas foundations for genuine freedom, sustainable peace and development. This is a shared common vision and agenda to bring a definite end to the perpetration of the colonial relationship that exists between Congo and the West. Its time that the global community listen to grassroots Congolese, let Congolese drive the change required for human development and proceed with them on equal term as set by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
5. The international community, particularly the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, are invited to demonstrate a political will to end the conflict in the Great Lakes region of Africa. They are invited to demonstrate their commitment to peace by delegitimizing armed violence and ending the militarization and the support of oppressive regimes in the Great Lakes region of Africa, particularly Rwanda and Uganda. The U.K. and U.S. governments are particularly invited to stop applying a double standard by following the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) guidelines and to call for effective inter-Rwadan and inter- Ugandan dialogues necessary for peace, security, good governance, economic development and regional stability. It is only by ending war and restoring the rule of law through distributive justice that sexual violence will be effectively addressed in the D.R. Congo.