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 Full text 
Thursday, 13 December 2012 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

  Zita Gurmai, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, the armed rebellion of the M23 movement has reopened the wounds of a country that had already suffered a bloody conflict that lasted for years. The negotiations and dialogue process started last week are a first step towards a resolution, but the situation remains very unstable. Given the deeply-rooted and multiple reasons for this conflict, as well as its implications for the whole region, a comprehensive plan and strategy is urgently needed.

Besides the sensitive ethnic situation, the economic and social environment, the role of the neighbourhood countries, and the struggle for the DRC’s natural resources are issues that must also be addressed. The illicit exploitation and trading of natural resources, including illegal mining, must be prevented before a lasting solution can be found.

I would like to underline the repeated atrocities that the citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo – and especially its eastern part – have endured over the years. I would like to highlight, in particular, that the use of sexual violence and rapes on a massive scale, including on underage girls, cannot be tolerated and needs to be put to an end. Not only must we prevent such hateful crimes, but the utmost must be done to help the victims recover both physically and psychologically.

More generally, the security of internally-displaced people needs to be strengthened, and the consequences of the conflict need to be seriously dealt with. Without a proper strategy for the demobilisation and reintegration of ex-combatants and the repatriation of refugees, a lasting peace is unlikely.

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