The war in Congo-Kinshasa is the worst since the Second World War. Despite the fact that 5.4 million people have been killed to date, very little is being done to put an end to hostilities. Diakonia supports aid organizations in the country, and is lobbying the rich countries to take their share of responsibility in order to impact the underlying causes of the conflict.
Great poverty despite resource wealth
Congo-Kinshasa (DRK) is one of the richest countries in the world when it comes to valuable natural resources. But despite this fact, its people live in great poverty. Resources and wealth disappeared out of the country during the colonial period and continue to do so under the subsequent dictatorship. Today the battle over control of and access to natural resources is one of the principal causes of the conflict. Armed groups extract and exploit these resources, which are then sold on the international market to finance their weapons and illegal activities.
Women and men in the Congo remain very vulnerable. The army and police do not protect the people and do not uphold the rule of law and keep order. Instead, they often contribute to the lack of security. At the same time, hostilities between different militia groups continue to plague the population.
Civil society must become stronger
Their experience of the dictatorship has made people in the Congo suspicious of the government and state. They are more likely to trust organizations that stand for social service, than those promoting a democratic process to influence the state to take responsibility for the needs of its people.
Civil society in Congo-Kinshasa has played an invaluable role in the process for democracy and peace. But civil society is still weak and needs support, in particular when it comes to citizens’ and human rights.
Lack of equality a huge problem
Even if women bear the greatest responsibility for supporting the family, lack of equality between the sexes is a huge problem. Few women participate in any democratic decision-making processes.
Responsibility of the rich countries for the conflict
Most of Congo-Kinshasa’s gold, diamonds, precious timbers and minerals are sold in rich countries. Diakonia is working to publicise the problems, which are intimately connected to the sale of illicit products from the Congo. If there were no buyers, one of the driving forces for the conflict would be removed.
The people living close to the mine are disappointed of Lundin Mining. They don't think that the promises made by the company agrees with their future. Photo: Diakonia