Africa We Want

USA: CONGRESSMAN CARSON INTRODUCES RESOLUTION CONDEMNING VIOLENCE, POSSIBLE GENOCIDE IN THE .

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congressman André Carson (IN-07) introduced a resolution condemning the violence perpetuated against ethnic minorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Targets are primarily Rwandophone communities, or those whose mother tongue is Kinyarwanda. Armed groups and often abusive security forces continue to carry out massacres, abductions, rape and sexual violence, recruitment of children, and other attacks on civilians.

Human rights organizations and advocacy groups have documented concerning acts of violence performed by members of the Armed Forces of the DRC and militias against ethnic minorities that may meet one or more criteria for genocide under Article II of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Targets are primarily Rwandophone communities, or those whose mother tongue is Kinyarwanda. Armed groups and often abusive security forces continue to carry out massacres, abductions, rape and sexual violence, recruitment of children, and other attacks on civilians.

“Individuals fleeing violence from the Democratic Republic of the Congo make up one of Indiana’s largest refugee populations,” said Congressman Carson. “The U.S. has strategic interest in this region, but we also have a moral obligation to stand up to human rights abuses whenever and wherever they occur. I remain concerned that the situation in the DRC has not received the international attention it merits for such grave acts of violence. I invite all my colleagues to join me in this resolution and hold perpetrators accountable.”

The voices of the people in the Democratic Republic of Congo frequently go unheard both in the United States and on the international stage,” said Amber Maze, co-founder and executive director of Indiana-based Crane Center for Mass Atrocity Prevention. “However, violence targeting ethnic minorities, especially the Rwandophone, Tutsi, and Banyamulenge communities, has been on the rise since the resurgence of the M-23 armed group. Politicians have exploited anti-Rwandophone sentiments to bolster their political agendas, exacerbating the situation. It is imperative we address the needs of those impacted by this conflict. Through this resolution, the United States has the opportunity to remind Congolese officials of their duty to safeguard all citizens regardless of ethnicity. We are grateful to Representative Carson for his leadership on this issue.”

Included in the resolution are calls for:

• social media companies to curb hate speech and incitement to violence on their platforms
• immediate action by the government of the DRC, including humanitarian assistance and to hold all state security forces that perpetuate atrocities against the civilian population accountable
• the Secretary of State to investigate atrocities and coordinate with stakeholders
• President Biden to appoint a Special Envoy to the Great Lakes region of Africa, impose targeted sanctions against known human rights abusers in the DRC, and protect those fleeing ethnic-based violence in the DRC, including designating Rwandophones for Priority 2 access to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program

In The House of Representatives, Mr. CARSON submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee

RESOLUTION

Condemning all acts of violence, oppression, and abuse against ethnic minorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Whereas the Democratic Republic of the Congo (referred to as the ‘‘DRC’’) has been beset for decades by various challenges, including natural disasters, political unrest, abuses against civilians from many communities, and targeted ethnic-based violence;

Whereas Rwandophones, notably the Banyamulenge ethnic group and other Congolese Tutsi, have been the targets of an escalation of hate speech and incitement to violence nationwide;

Whereas the United States, credible human rights organizations, and civil society have documented and published reports and findings that implicate the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (referred to as the ‘‘FARDC’’) in aiding and collaborating with armed groups and militias, including several that are designated for United Nations sanctions due to human rights violations;

Whereas the return of the March 23 Movement (referred to as the ‘‘M23’’) rebel group, who are reportedly backed by the Rwandan Government, has exacerbated ethnic tensions within the eastern provinces;

Whereas reports from the United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo, including those issued on December 16, 2022, and June 13, 2023, have consistently found that hate speech specifically targeting Rwandophones, who are often portrayed as ‘‘invaders’’, has proliferated alongside the crisis brought about by the M23 rebels;

Whereas some Congolese politicians and security force officials have employed anti-Rwandophone rhetoric;

Whereas the M23’s presence in eastern DRC further destabilizes the region and is responsible for an array of gross violations of human rights and the displacement of thousands of civilians;

Whereas evidence documenting violence against Rwandophone communities may meet 1 or more of the criteria under Article II of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, to which the United States and the DRC are parties;

Whereas militias engage in illicit mining activities to finance and sustain themselves, often exploiting child labor and engaging in environmental degradation practices that undermine the DRC’s economic interests and international treaty obligations;

Whereas the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (referred to as ‘‘MONUSCO’’) has taken measures to facilitate intercommunal dialogues between rival ethnic groups to promote peace and stability;

Whereas, in April 2019, the United States and the DRC established the U.S.-DRC Privileged Partnership for Peace and Prosperity, to which the 2 countries added the Preservation of the Environment in February 2021, which aims to advance democracy and promote human rights, improve security, and encourage sustainable development and United States investment in the DRC, as underscored and reinforced by Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh’s visit on January 26, 2022;

Whereas the strategic partnership between the United States and the DRC, as well as the DRC’s role in leading a global clean energy revolution, requires cooperative efforts to implement governance reforms, combat corruption, provide security, and improve environmental and labor standards to ensure the health, safety, and prosperity of future generations; and

Whereas the United States Department of State Integrated Country Strategy for the DRC states that ‘‘the success of the DRC’s democracy hinges on stability in the country’s eastern provinces’’: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) condemns all acts of violence perpetrated against ethnic minorities by members of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and armed groups operating throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

(2) further condemns all human rights tions perpetrated against the civilian population by M23, which reportedly include the use of child sol9 diers, killings, sexual violence, and looting;

(3) calls for increased security for the millions of people forcibly displaced in the DRC;

(4) reaffirms that the United States has held and continues to hold the Government of the DRC responsible for upholding the rights of all citizens, regardless of ethnicity, in accordance with the DRC’s international obligations;

(5) urges social media companies to curb hate peech and incitement to violence on their platforms;

(6) appeals to neighboring countries to uphold their commitment to providing safe harbor for refugees from ethnic minority communities until their human rights can be guaranteed in the DRC;

(7) recognizes that the United States has an international obligation to uphold its commitments to prevent and punish the crime of genocide;

(8) urges the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to—

(A) hold accountable all state security forces that perpetrate atrocities against the civilian population by conducting transparent investigations and prosecutions and taking all additional necessary measures to prevent further atrocities;

(B) continue progress toward the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, repatri11 ation, and resettlement of armed groups in coordination with the United Nations Organiza13 tion Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as outlined in United Na15 tions Security Council Resolution 2666 (2022);

(C) continue coordinating with the East African Community Nairobi Process initiativeto encourage pe ace talks and disarmament of armed groups in eastern DRC, provided that the initiative has an overall positive effect on the security of the populace and all parties in volved in the process ensure that it is transparent and well-managed;

(D) allow and facilitate, in accordance with relevant provisions of international law and consistent with humanitarian principles, the full, safe, immediate, and unhindered access to hu3 manitarian personnel, equipment and supplies, and the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to populations in need, in particular to ref6 ugees and internally displaced persons through out the territory of the DRC;

(E) uphold its obligations as a state party to the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; and

(F) combat all forms of hate speech and hold accountable any person or group respon19 sible for ethnically charged rhetoric and incitement to violence;

(9) urges the Secretary of State, in coordination with the heads of other relevant Federal depart ments and agencies, to—

(A) work with other Federal departments and agencies to thoroughly investigate atrocities committed against ethnic minorities in the DRC and develop a strategy to address and deter such atrocities pursuant to section of the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2018 (22 U.S.C. 2656 note);

(B) engage at the highest level with theGovernment of the DRC to mitigate the hu8 manitarian effects of ethnic-based violence; and

(C) coordinate with like-minded partners and key stakeholders to increase and maintain engagement on the issue in fora, including the United Nations Security Council; and calls on the President of the United States to—

(A) appoint a Special Envoy to the Great Lakes region of Africa, which will be vital to addressing the enduring regional security crisis emanating from eastern DRC;

(B) use all existing authorities to protect ethnic minorities who flee ethnic-based violence in the DRC, including the authority to des23 ignate Rwandophones, such as the Congolese Tutsi and Banyamulenge, who are nationals of the DRC for Priority access to the United States Refugee Admissions Program; and

(C) impose targeted sanctions against known human rights abusers in the DRC under existing authorities, such as Executive Order 6 13413, as amended by Executive Order 13671, and Executive Order 13818, to deter further gross violations of human rights against ethnic minorities in the DRC.

Author: MANZI
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