Diakonia worried about the development in the DRC
In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the important city Goma has been captured by rebels of the M23 gerilla. Diakonia worries about the situation at hand, and urges the international community to immediately act for the benefit of the Congolese people.
Impunity of war criminals
The conquest of Goma has been done by the local M23 guerrillas, lead by one of the DRC's most wanted war criminals. One of the underlying factors concerning the situation in Goma is the impunity that criminals could benefit from by integrating themselves into the national Congolese army.
"What we see now is the consequences of years of failures by both the Congolese government, the UN and the international community. War is sadly no surprise but a consequence of ignoring obvious facts," says Bo Forsberg, Secretary General of Diakonia.
The situation in Goma is very difficult to grasp, even for those located there. Diakonia's partners however tells of gunfire, people getting killed in the streets and injured civilians in hospitals.
The Goma Peace Accord: In January 2008 the Congolese Government organised a conference in Goma on peace, security and development in the provinces most affected by the conflict (South and North Kivu). In spite of various weaknesses the conference had an important outcome with the signing of a peace accord by the various protagonists, including the Congolese Government (“Acte de l’engagement pour la paix) on January 23rd.
Although the peace accord was violated already a few weeks after it was signed, the Goma accord is still considered an important step in the work towards increasing security.
The international community must respond
Diakonia and PMU looks critically at how the situation is handled, both by the outside world and the countries surrounding the DRC. They need to work with all parties involved in the protection of civilians in North Kivu, to disarm the guerrillas, and implement necessary reforms in the security sector to ensure that long-term security can be achieved in the region.
"The international community must stop treating the DRC as the least important part of their agenda. For those of us working on the ground, we see not only a conflict in the long run destabilizing the whole development in Central Africa, we also see a population that could live in peace, in a country with resources for the prosperity and development, but which are constantly betrayed by the world," says Niclas Lindgren, director PMU.