North-Kivu, Congo: Peace is needed to stop the use of child-soldiers in the clashes
an article by (excerpt from) 10/23/07 Press Release by ADECOP
ADECOP (Action des jeunes pour le Développement Communautaire et la Paix), youth organisation based in Goma, North Kivu Province, is closely following the dramatic security and humanitarian situation in this part of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and express its concern about the impact of clashes between government forces and the troops of traitor watchdog General Laurent on the rural population of the territories of Masisi and Rutshuru Nyiragongo, especially on children.
If the past two weeks, pressure from the international community, particularly the mobilization of the media and the United Nations, have helped to expect at least a temporary ceasefire, the conflicted parties are still determined to keep fighting, putting thousands of people in forced displacement and several others in a situation of hostage in villages where they are at the mercy of the occupants of the day.
ADECOP is particularly concerned about the fate of children and youth in areas of conflict. Since October 8, 2007, a team of researchers from the organization has already met a total of 27 children, aged between 11 and 16 years. The children report that they had been used for a period ranging from three days to two weeks by government forces to transport ammunition and food between September 15 and October 11, 2007 in the area of Karuba, Mushaki and Katale. Most of them have been cut off columns of people fleeing the fighting and others were approached by military officials with the promise of receiving money and food. They also report the case of other children who were allegedly abused, injured or killed during these operations. In addition, some of these children say they have been used for highly dangerous missions in enemy territory on several occasions.
According to this situation, ADECOP strongly recommends:
* To the international community: the use all its diplomatic weight to convince the conflicting parties of the urgent need of a peaceful resolution of the current disputes and to remind the Congolese government its commitments as regards the elimination of the use of children in military activities and the Movement of Nkunda, his responsibilities towards the humanity;
* To the Congolese government: to show a sense of responsibility by withdrawing from this war that has no rationale and is only to prolong the suffering of a population already battered by more than a decade of various conflicts ;
* To the Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple: to stop exploiting inter-ethnic tensions to justify the motivations and purpose of his fight
[Editor's note: The full press release may be found in the discussion for this report]
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Evolution of the Peace Process in the Democratic Republic of Congo
submitted to CPNN in French by Solidarité avec les Victimes et pour la Paix and translated into English by CPNN
For the original article in French, see RDC Solidarite.
From the recent past to today
After the armed hostilities in 1996 and the fall of Mobutu in May 17, 1997, there was a period of relative calm for fourteen months. A new rebellion began on August 2, 1998. Very early, negotiations started in Lusaka (Zambia) and arrived at the first agreements of ceasefire dated from July 10, 1999. It was to oversee respect of these agreements of Lusaka that the Security Council of the United Nations set up its resolution creating the Observation Mission of the United Nations (MONUC).
It was in October 2006 that the first free elections were organized.
To establish an account of the situation is difficult, but it is easier to say that at the present time the effects of armed conflict are still sad at various levels. There is extreme poverty in the civilian population. Until the present a responsible solution has not been found to assure access of children to education.
Good news today is that the country now has a Constitution, a President of the Republic, a Parliament and a Senate and provincial assemblies as well as provincial governments following the democratic elections organized in 2007. In general, the Democratic Republic of Congo is arriving slowly at peace and stability despite the constraints of reconstruction and restoration of a state of law.
Without pretending to be exhaustive, this report is a description of human rights violations on the civilian population in the city of Kinshasa. Acts of torture continue to take place. . ...more.