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 Full text 
Thursday, 13 December 2012 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

  Paul Murphy, author. − Mr President, the recent escalation of violence in the eastern provinces of Congo, following a mutiny in the Congolese army and the sacking of Goma by M23 rebels, is, as a Belgian aid worker described it, ‘a crisis upon a crisis upon a crisis’.

The eastern Congo has been devastated for decades by wars between different rebel groups and the army trying to gain control over the massive natural resources in the area. Neighbouring countries conduct proxy wars by supporting various rebel groups in a bid to increase their influence and reap the profits.

All rebel groups, together with the army, have engaged in gruesome human rights violations and terror tactics, including organised sexual violence on a massive scale. It is estimated that at least 48 women are raped in the country every single hour, adding up to a horrible 1 152 women a day. An estimated 5.4 million people have died as a result of these brutal wars since 1998. Many more have been forced to flee their homes, and as many 140 000 more people have fled as a result of the most recent fighting.

The US and the EU, together with the rulers of China, have supported the corrupt Kabila regime financially, as well as militarily with 20 000 UN soldiers, in the hope of achieving sufficient stability to continue the exploitation of the natural resources. Their tactics have failed miserably. Side by side with desperate poverty, with a GNI per capita of less than one dollar per day, is the potential for this to be one of the richest areas in the world because of the enormous natural resources that are present.

The warlords and government officials become millionaires by doing dirty deals with foreign multinational companies, which control the majority of these resources. Together they organised a continuation of the colonial and imperialist looting that has gone on for over 130 years, leaving the people stripped of all of the potential wealth embedded in their natural resources. It is absolutely necessary that this horrible, endless cycle of wars and imperialist intervention is broken, and that real peace is brought to the region.

For a lasting solution to undermine the basis of the warlords, it is necessary for the natural wealth and resources to be taken into democratic, public ownership and used in the interests of the population as a whole.

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