Submit this form
Home News Videos Music Photos Facebook Twitter Friends Newsletter Podcasts Mobile RSS
Great Lakes: Call for end to regional conflicts

5:04 PM

Photo: Laudes Martial Mbon/IRIN
Guns being sawn up for the incinerator in an army artillery base in the Republic of Congo
KINSHASA, 2 March 2007 (IRIN) - Parliamentarians from Africa's Great Lakes countries have urged their governments to end conflicts in the region, noting that particular measures were needed to protect women and children, who suffer most in wars.

"We are telling heads of state and parliamentarians in the region that we do not want any more devastating wars," said Christophe Lutundula, spokesman for the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), at a meeting of regional members of parliament under the auspices of the International Conference of the Great Lakes.

The three-day gathering, which ended in the DRC capital of Kinshasa on Thursday, was attended by 11 countries and other development partners. It called for sanctions to protect women and children from sexual violence.

"The member states have to harmonise their national legislation, setting up protocols on the prevention of sexual violence against women and children," Lutundula, who presided over the meeting, said.

The International Conference of the Great Lakes was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in December 2006. Heads of state and ministers from the region signed a pact on security, stability and development.

Among other things, the pact outlines programmes of action and protocols on the property rights of returning populations, prevention and suppression of gender-based violence, and the care and protection of internally displaced persons.

At the Kinshasa meeting, the United Nations envoy to the region, Ibrahima Fall, called for funding to put into operation the programmes proposed at the Nairobi conference.

"I will be satisfied when the people of the region have felt the dividends of this conference," Fall said. "Funding for the different projects is required. International solidarity is essential because a Marshall plan for the Great Lakes will be required."

On the displacement of civilians by conflict across the region, the meeting asked governments to formulate appropriate laws to protect such people.

The Deputy Special Representative for the UN Secretary-General for the DRC, Ross Mountain, called for efforts to mitigate the impact of displacement and to improve health in the region.

Mountain told the meeting that life expectancy at birth had dropped in nine of the region's 11 countries by an average four years over the past 20 years. "Here in DRC, one in five newborn children dies before his/her fifth birthday," he said.

However, civil society representatives criticised the meeting, saying it had achieved little. "There is still a lot to do because the parliamentarians and the government of each country have to accomplish the will of the people of the region who want to live in peace and security," said Raoul Kamanda, speaking on behalf of civil society groups from Burundi, DRC and Rwanda.

"We want the Nairobi pact to become a political urgency in all the 11 countries," he added. "We do not want it to remain simple sentences, we want it implemented."

Burundi's former president, now Senator Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, called for dialogue with armed groups, saying it was the only way to ensure security in the region.

The Vice-President of the Rwandan Senate, Agnes Kayijire, said a climate of confidence was progressively being built between her country and the DRC.

"There is a process in the east of DRC and we hope that it will lead to the resolution of the Interahamwe presence and other [rebels]," she said.


Related articles

  1. Ebola outbreak declared an international Public Health Emergency (July 17, 2019)
  2. Peacekeepers, Congo Army to Resume Joint Fight Against Rwandan Rebels (January 28, 2016)
  3. Political tensions 'running high' in DR Congo ahead of 2016 elections (October 7, 2015)
  4. UN Report Blames Ugandan Islamists for 237 Killings in DR Congo (May 14, 2015)
  5. DRC Army Putting Pressure on FDLR (April 1, 2015)
  6. ICC Confirms 14-Year Sentence Against Thomas Lubanga (December 1, 2014)
  7. ICC Case Against Bemba Wrapping Up as Another Opens (November 12, 2014)
  8. Southern African Leaders to Meet in Zimbabwe (August 15, 2014)
  9. ICC confirms war crimes charges against Bosco Ntaganda (June 10, 2014)
  10. Kerry Calls on Kabila to Honor Constitution (May 4, 2014)
  11. Kerry in DR Congo for Security Talks (May 3, 2014)
  12. Security Council extends UN mission, intervention force in DR Congo for one year (March 28, 2014)
  13. Bosco Ntaganda Attacked Civilians on Ethnic Grounds, ICC Prosecutor Says (February 10, 2014)
  14. New DR Congo amnesty law welcomed by UN envoys (February 5, 2014)
  15. DR Congo, M23 Rebels Sign Declarations Marking End of Kampala Peace Talks (December 12, 2013)
  16. DR Congo Honors Nelson Mandela, Hero and Model for Humanity (December 6, 2013)
  17. No 'Peace Deal' With Defeated M23 Rebels, DR Congo Says (November 11, 2013)
  18. Congo Will Not Sign a 'Peace Deal' With Defeated M23 Rebels, Government Says (November 6, 2013)
  19. Congo Army Takes Control of Mbuzi Hill From M23 Rebels (November 4, 2013)
  20. Kabila Congratulates Congo Army for Defeating M23 Rebels (October 30, 2013)
  21. Advancing Congo Troops Take Control of Rumangabo From M23 Rebels (October 28, 2013)
  22. Congo Army Liberates Rutshuru, Kiwanja and Kibumba From M23 Rebels (October 27, 2013)
  23. Congo Army Dislodges M23 Rebels From Strategic Town of Kibumba (October 26, 2013)
  24. Congo Army Takes Control of Kibumba After Fighting With M23 Rebels Resumes (October 25, 2013)
  25. U.S. Sanctions Rwanda Over Use of Child Soldiers by M23 Rebels (October 4, 2013)
  26. Rwandan Support for M23 Rebels Frustrates Attempts to End Fighting in Eastern Congo (September 26, 2013)
  27. Ban Ki-moon Confirms M23 Rebels Shelled Rwanda (August 31, 2013)
  28. DR Congo Will Defend Itself Against an Attack by Rwanda, Government Says (August 31, 2013)
  29. M23 Rebels Fired Shells Into Rwanda, Not Congo Army, UN Says (August 30, 2013)
  30. Mortar Shells From Rwanda Kill Civilians in Eastern Congo (August 23, 2013)

Live TV Congo Radio en ligne Radio
Available on App Store
Get it on Google Play

Contact Us | About Us | Édition en Français | French Edition

© All rights reserved.