Guest post from Congolese activist and champion of human rights, Joseph Mbangu
The Congolese community of Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia will hold a rally for Peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in front of the White House (Lafayette Park) on December 12, 2012 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. They will be joined in this effort by all American Friends of the Congo to oppose the plan of balkanization of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The rally will call for immediate sanctions against the governments of Rwanda and Uganda for backing a group of terrorists known as the March 23 Movement (M23). The Rwandan and Ugandan support has been documented by members of the US Congress; the November 11, 2012 UN group of experts report; and, the September 11th Human Rights Watch report.
Even before the most recent attacks by M23 in North Kivu province and the city of Goma, in a letter sent to President Kagame of Rwanda dated August 3rd, 2012, a bipartisan group of Congressmen expressed its deep concern about the Rwanda’s role in the latest surge of violence in the eastern DR Congo and Rwanda’s support for M23 in that area. In a clear statement, they called upon Rwanda to cease and desist its actions in these terms:
The pretense that Rwanda is not facilitating rebels in eastern Congo must end, all support for armed groups must stop immediately, and a productive path forward must be taken…. The sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of the Congo must be respected and supported…. Illegal economic activity—including smuggling—in the DRC that violates Congolese law and international agreements must end.In addition, the same group of legislators pointedly suggested, “No constructive dialogue can take place between the Rwandan and Congolese governments as long as [Rwanda’s] support continues for proxy militias.”
In this regard, the Congolese Community strongly opposes and considers as null and void the November 24, 2012 Kampala agreements, which are nothing more than a farce aimed at accelerating the balkanization of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
For the past two decades, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has paid a huge price in terms of human sacrifice. Approximately eight million Congolese have died so far from the ongoing proxy wars of invasion and occupation. Given the evidence at hand, we urge President Obama and the US Congress to take a firm stance against the Rwandan and Ugandan policies of continued support of warlords and destabilization in the DRC. The M23, through its actions, fits the description of a terrorist movement and can only be treated as such. Henceforth, we urge the United States of America to cut its ties with both the Rwandan and Ugandan governments, to definitely promote peace and justice in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and to work towards building a mutually beneficial partnership between the Congolese people and the American people.
- 11:00 am to 11:25 am Participants arrival at LaFayette Park, East Quadrant
- 11: 30 am Welcome remarks/update situation in the DR. Congo
- 11:45 am to 2:00 pm Peaceful demonstration with drums
- 2:05 pm Speech
- 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm Peaceful demonstration with drums
- 3:35 pm to 3:50 pm Reading of Memorandum
- 3:55 pm End of Rally
Matthias Cinyabuguma, PhD (M) 410-440-8846
Joseph Mbangu, LL. M (M) 347-558-2610 @Chedelum
Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a romantic thriller about blood diamonds in the Congo.