Procedure : 2010/2857(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0525/2010

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 22/09/2010 - 9
CRE 22/09/2010 - 9

Votes :

PV 07/10/2010 - 9.3

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0524/2010

to wind up the debate on statements by the Council and Commission

pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on failures in protection of human rights and justice in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Véronique De Keyser, Richard Howitt, Corina Creţu, Ana Gomes, Patrizia Toia, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė on behalf of the S&D Group

European Parliament resolution on failures in protection of human rights and justice in the Democratic Republic of Congo  

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Council conclusions of 27 October 2009 on the Great Lakes region,

–   having regard to the Council conclusions on European Security and Defence Policy of 17 November 2009,

–   having regard to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly resolution of 22 November 2007 on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in particular in the East of the country, and its impact on the region(1),

–   having regard to its resolution of 17 December 2009 on violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo,

–   having regard to its resolution of 17 January 2008 on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo and systematic rape as a war crime(2),

–   having regard to the Council declaration of 10 October 2008 on the situation in the east of the DRC,

–   having regard to UN Security Council Resolution 1925 (2010), which specifies the mandate of the UN mission in the DRC (MONUSC0 (Ex MONUC),

–   having regard to its resolution on gender mainstreaming in EU external relations and peace-building of 7 May 2009 (2008/2198 (INI)),

–   having regard to the UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 on women, peace and security adopted in 2000,

–   having regard to the Council document on implementation of UNSCR as reinforced by UNSCR 1820 in the context of ESDP in 2008,

–   having regard to the EU Council Plan of Action on Gender Equality in Development cooperation that should ensure that gender equality is mainstreamed throughout the EU’s work with partner countries at all levels,

–   having regard to the appointment in March 2010 of a Special Representatives to the UN Secretary General on Sexual Violence in armed conflict,


–    having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,


A. whereas Atul Khare, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, has reported to the UN Security Council that more than 500 people had been victims of mass gang rape, including young girls, women as old as 75 and baby boys and girls, from July 30 to August 4, in the eastern Congo mining district; attacks blamed on rebels, militia and Congolese army,

B.  whereas sexual attacks occurred in the vicinity of the UN peacekeeping camp which is located only 20 miles from the town of Luvungi,

C. whereas it appears that UN workers knew rebels had occupied Luvungi town and surrounding villages in eastern Congo the day after the attacks began on July 30 and the UN Headquarters in New York did not learn about the rapes until 12 August,

D.  whereas the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) has a mandate under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter to use all necessary means to carry out its protection mandate, including the effective protection of civilians, humanitarian personnel and human rights defenders under imminent threat of physical violence from any foreign or Congolese armed group; to support Government efforts to fight impunity and ensure the protection of civilians from violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including all forms of sexual and gender-based violence,


E.  whereas the conflict affecting the DRC has claimed the lives of 6 million people since 1998 and is still causing, either directly or indirectly, thousand of deaths and internally displaced people (IDPs) every month,


F.   whereas the civil war in the DRC has resulted in vast numbers of people being internally displaced to the relatively safer eastern Congo, now home to over 1 600 000 refugees,


G.  whereas the situation in the refugee camps continues to deteriorate,


H.  whereas the fighting between the Congolese army, the Mai Mai militia, the fighters of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), the Popular Front for Justice in Congo (FPJC) and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) continue to cause civilian populations in the DRC unbearable suffering and poverty,


I.    whereas Congolese army soldiers have been implicated in the death and rape of hundreds of civilians and whereas rapes, forced recruitments of civilian and child soldiers and serious human rights abuses in the eastern parts of the DRC, both by LRA rebel troops, FDLR combatants and the Congolese army itself continue,


J.   whereas by invoking sovereignty, the Congolese government has called for the withdrawal of the UN mission (MONUSCO) to be completed by summer 2011 and has announced that it will take charge of organizing the general elections, saying it has failed in its primary mandate to protect civilians and because MONUSCO has been accused of supporting army units responsible for grave atrocities,

K. whereas women are traditionally disproportionate victims of war and subject to barbaric behaviour,

L.  whereas UN figures show 1244 women have been raped in DRC during the first three months of this year; whereas in DRC at least 200 000 cases of sexual violence have been recorded since 1996 and the numbers could be much higher because of under-reporting; whereas those rapes are mainly committed in mineral-rich areas of the Kivu where armed groups are involved in illegal mining,

M. whereas the Congolese army continues to have insufficient human, technical and financial resources to carry out its tasks in the eastern provinces of the DRC, coupled with a lack of discipline amongst its ranks, which continues to hamper its role in protecting the population and in re-establishing peace,

N. whereas the illegal mineral trade in the DRC allows many actors to continue to buy minerals from areas controlled by rebel groups, thereby financing those rebel groups, and whereas this is a factor fuelling and exacerbating the conflict,

O. whereas systematic rapes are used by a range of armed movements including the regular army in the DRC as part of a tactical war of terror and as a means of achieving military and economic ends; the women are deliberately assaulted in front of their families or all members of their village in order to put fear into society; those violent acts often cost women their place in society, their ability to care for their children and even their lives are often contaminated by the AIDS virus,

P.  whereas rape as a weapon of war has become shockingly commonplace in eastern Congo, where at least 8300 rapes were reported last year, according to the United Nations with many more going unreported; according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, at least 1244 women reported being raped in the first quarter of 2010 which is an average of 14 rapes per day,

Q. whereas gang rapes and sexual attacks are so commonplace for the people of Congo, it is has created a kind of ‘acceptance’ of human rights violations in the area under the ‘vigilance’ of the UN and no longer triggers the international community's utmost attention and urgent intervention,

R.  whereas the war criminal Bosco Ntaganda has still not been arrested and on the contrary has been appointed to a senior position in the joint military operations with the Congolese and Rwandan forces in the eastern DRC,

S.  whereas the United Nations has recently suspended logistical assistance and operational support to certain units of the Congolese army amid allegations that its troops killed dozens of civilians, including women and children in the North Kivu district, between May and September 2009,

T.  whereas EUSEC RD Congo is the only structure fully dedicated to reforming the military security sector in the DRC as well as to identify, develop, implement or supervise projects financed or initiated by Member States and the EU; whereas EUPOL RD Congo is the first civilian European Security and Defence Policy operation (ESDP) to be deployed in Africa in order to support the Congolese National Integrated Police Unit (IPU),

U. whereas the newly adopted US ‘Conflict Minerals’ Law is an attempt to prevent American consumers from purchasing cell phones, computers and other high tech technologies that are manufactured by US companies using minerals bought from rebel-controlled mines; the law also calls on US firms, including brand name consumer manufacturers of electronic, mineral processor and jewellers to report annually to the Securities Exchange Commission if their products use any gold, tantalum or cassiterite that was either directly imported from the Democratic Republic of Congo or smuggled via the nine neighbouring countries,

1.  Calls for an immediate end to the violence and human rights abuses in eastern DRC; stresses the need for further efforts to put an end to the activity of local and foreign armed groups in the east of the DRC;

2.   Strongly condemns the mass rape and other human rights violations which took place between July 30 and August 3 on at least 500 women in North Kivu province by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a Hutu rebel group and the Mai Mai militia;


3.   Deplores, in the strongest possible terms, the massacres of civilian population, the recruitment of child soldiers and the acts of sexual violence against women and children, and calls on all actors to step up the fight against impunity; calls on the Government of the DRC to ensure that those responsible for breaching human rights and international humanitarian law, the Rwandan rebel Group FDLR –which is led by the perpetrators the Rwandan genocide who fled to Congo – and Congolese Mai Mai militia are held responsible and prosecuted by the International Criminal Court;


4.   Welcomes the zero tolerance policy promoted by President Kabila against sexual violence and misconduct in the armed forces and encourages the Government of the DRC to implement, without delay and with the assistance of MONUSCO, its new strategy against gender-based violence;


5.  Stresses that the rehabilitation and reform of the judicial system (incorporating a prevention and protection dimension and combating impunity with regard to sexual violence) and assistance for and reintegration of victims should be central to the aid programmes to be funded; in this context, calls for the cases of mass rape in the east of the DRC to be referred to the International Criminal Court;

6.  Calls on the DRC authorities to immediately arrest Bosco Ntanganda and urgently hand him over to the ICC in order to be prosecuted;

7.  Expresses particular concern about MONUSCO's lack of prevention capabilities and strong communication capacity with the local people; recognises, nevertheless, that its presence remains necessary and calls for every effort to be made to allow it to carry out its mandate in full to protect those under threat;


8.  Demands the UNSC, to effectively implement the new ‘code of conduct’ of the MONUSCO and to create an follow-up group dedicated to human rights monitoring;

9.   Calls on the UN Security Council, as a matter of urgency, to take all possible measures with a view to genuinely preventing any further attacks on the civilian population of the eastern provinces of the DRC and provide medical, humanitarian and other assistance to victims;


10. Stresses the need to tackle corruption and underlines MONUSCO's crucial role in doing this through joint planning and implementation of operations and proper accountability mechanisms for abuses;


11. Stresses that a key humanitarian priority in the DRC would be the creation of a true national army; reiterates that training and payment of decent salaries are required in order to reform the Congolese army and improve discipline;

12. Calls for a return to the dialogue which saw the creation of the Amani Programme for security, pacification, stabilisation and reconstruction of North and South Kivu;

13. Welcomes the New Independent National Electoral Commission launched on 30 July to prepare for 2011 general elections and the adoption of the 2011-2013 electoral road map; calls on the Council and the Commission to do all they can to support the electoral process, providing support to tackle governance problems, lack of transparency and violations of civil and political rights in cooperation with the Congolese authorities;


14. Calls for the DRC Parliament to create the National Human Rights Commission as outlined in the constitution, as a previous step to passing a law on the protection of victims and witnesses of human rights abuses, human rights activist and aid workers and journalist;


15. Calls for the countries of the Great Lakes region to maintain a high level of commitment to jointly promote peace and stability in the region through existing regional mechanism and to intensify their efforts on regional economic development, paying special attention to reconciliation, human security, better judicial accountability, refugee and IDP return and integration;


16. Calls on the European Union and the Members States to extend in time the EUSEC RD mission activities and to continue its support of EUPOL RD Congo in order to assist the DRC authorities with police reform; Calls to fully implement gender mainstreaming in the Common Security and Defense operations; in this regard, request a strong gender perspective in civilian and military missions in order to increase its operational effectiveness, as the EU can bring considerable ‘added value’ as a key actor in responding to women in armed conflict as well as in conflict prevention;


17. Welcomes the role of the EU crisis management in the framework of implementation of UNSC resolutions 1325 and 1820 within the Common Security and Defence Policy by putting specialised gender advisors or focal points in each crisis management mission all over the world;

18.  Welcomes the EU Council Plan of Action on gender equality in development cooperation that will ensure that gender equality is mainstreamed throughout the EU’s work with partner countries at all levels; calls in this sense for a strong communication strategy;

19. Deplores the increasing acts of violence against aid workers and pays tribute to the extremely difficult work achieved by humanitarian organisations on the ground in highly insecure conditions;

20. Remains extremely concerned by the degradation of the humanitarian situation in eastern DRC and urges the authorities to launch investigations into each and every incident and calls for protection to be increased immediately;  

21. Remains highly concerned by the illegal trade in minerals and other natural resources in the east of the DRC by the rebel groups;

22. Calls on the Council and the Commission to insist, in talks with the governments of the DRC and neighbouring countries, on the implementation of effective systems of traceability and proof of origin of natural resources, and to step up the fight against corruption; also calls for the reinforcement of the Kimberley process;

23. Welcomes the adoption of the new US ‘Conflict Minerals’ Law and requests the Commission and the Council to examine a legislative initiative in this sense;  Recalls the DRC government to fully implement and comply with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in order to reinforce transparency and good governance in the extractive industry sector;

24. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the institutions of the African Union, the United Nations Secretary-General, the UN Special Representative on sexual violence in armed conflicts, the Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations Human Rights Council.


     OJ C 58, 1.3.2008, p. 40.


     OJ C 41 E, 19.2.2009, p. 83.

Last updated: 15 September 2010Legal notice