6.8.2009   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

CE 184/106


Thursday 21 February 2008
North Kivu

P6_TA(2008)0072

European Parliament resolution of 21 February 2008 on North Kivu

2009/C 184 E/18

The European Parliament,

having regard to its resolution of 17 January 2008 on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo and rape as a war crime (1) and to its previous resolutions on human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo,

having regard to the resolution of 22 November 2007 of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in particular in the East and its impact on the region,

having regard to its resolution of 15 November 2007 on the EU response to situations of fragility in developing countries (2),

having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Towards an EU response to situations of fragility — engaging in difficult environments for sustainable development, stability and peace’ (COM(2007)0643) and the Commission staff working document annexed thereto (SEC(2007)1417),

having regard to Resolution 60/1 of the United Nations General Assembly of 24 October 2005 on the 2005 World Summit outcome, and in particular paragraphs 138 to 140 thereof on the responsibility to protect populations,

having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.

whereas the conflict affecting the DRC has claimed the lives of 5 400 000 people since 1998 and continues to be the direct or indirect cause of 1 500 deaths each day,

B.

whereas the fighting between the Congolese army, the rebel troops of ousted General Laurent Nkunda and the fighters of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR, also known as Interhamwes) has been causing tremendous hardship to the civilian populations of the region of North Kivu for many months,

C.

whereas during the last 18 months there have been massacres, rapes of young girls, mothers and grandmothers, forced recruitment of civilians and child soldiers, and a host of other acts of violence and serious human rights abuses in the Eastern DRC, both by Laurent Nkunda's rebel troops and by FDLR fighters and the Congolese army itself,

D.

whereas MONUC (United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo) has a mandate under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, which authorises it to use all necessary means to deter any attempted use of force which would threaten the political process on the part of any foreign or Congolese armed group, particularly ex-FAR (Rwandan Armed Forces) and Interhamwes fighters, and to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence,

E.

whereas on 25 January 2008 the special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in the DRC announced that observers would be sent to monitor the ceasefire in all the territories previously occupied by armed groups, and that the military and civilian personnel of the Goma office of MONUC would be strengthened,

F.

whereas undertakings concerning gradual demobilisation and a commitment to a ceasefire were given on 23 January 2008 at the Goma Conference for Peace, Security and Development, which includes a ceasefire among all warring parties, the disarmament of all non-governmental forces, the return and resettlement of all displaced peoples in the Eastern DRC and the installation of a temporary mechanism for ceasefire monitoring,

G.

whereas the practical details of this demobilisation have yet to be worked out within the framework of the Joint Technical Peace and Security Commission held under the co-presidency of the DRC Government and the international facilitation of the ceasefire commitment,

H.

whereas the FDLR, whose fighters had sought refuge in the region, is involved in the fighting,

I.

whereas the Congolese army does not have the human, technical or financial resources necessary to carry out its tasks in North Kivu and whereas this is the main reason why it poses a threat to the population instead of working on its behalf and in the cause of peace,

J.

whereas it is vital to find a political solution to the crisis in North Kivu, so as to consolidate peace and democracy and promote stability and development in the region for the well-being of all the peoples of the Great Lakes region,

K.

whereas a meeting was held in Kinshasa on 3 September 2007 between Mbusa Nyamwisi and Charles Murigande, Foreign Ministers of Congo and Rwanda respectively, as part of the efforts to find a solution to the conflict in North Kivu,

L.

whereas a meeting was held in Beni from 28 to 30 January 2008 under the co-presidency of Chikez Diemu and Crispus Kiyonga, Ministers for Defence of the DRC and Uganda respectively,

M.

whereas since the end of 2006 the conflict in the DRC has also forced some 400 000 people to flee their homes and whereas there is now a total of 800 000 displaced persons in the province of North Kivu,

N.

whereas the civil war, which has been under way for three years, has been marked by the systematic pillaging of the country's wealth by the allies and enemies of the Congolese Government,

O.

whereas, in order to achieve a significant improvement in health and a reduction in the mortality rate in the DRC as a whole and in North Kivu in particular, years of sustained commitment and a substantial financial investment will be required both from the Congolese Government and the international community,

P.

whereas on 3 February 2008 an earthquake measuring 6 on the Richter scale struck the Great Lakes region and, in particular, the towns of Bukavu and Goma and surrounding areas, which had already been badly hit by the conflict, causing deaths, injuries and substantial material damage,

Q.

whereas several humanitarian organisations have been forced to suspend their activities following the hostilities at the end of 2007, while health centres remain without supplies or have been abandoned by their medical staff,

R.

whereas Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has reported that the local and displaced populations in North Kivu are growing progressively weaker and that the continuing warfare is preventing aid workers from gaining access to certain areas which are in need of urgent food and medical aid,

S.

whereas malnutrition is a further aspect of the extreme vulnerability suffered by the populations now living in North Kivu and whereas the data from MSF's medical aid programmes offer an alarming indication of the scale of malnutrition in North Kivu, arousing fears for those families whom aid cannot reach,

1.

Expresses its deep outrage at the massacres and crimes against humanity which have been continuing for too many years in North Kivu and calls on all relevant national and international authorities systematically to bring the perpetrators to justice, whoever they may be; calls on the United Nations Security Council as a matter of urgency to take all measures capable of genuinely preventing any further attacks on the civilian populations of North Kivu;

2.

Notes that, despite its broad mandate, MONUC has not had sufficient resources to enable it to prevent these massacres, rapes, pillaging, forced recruitment of civilians and child soldiers, and countless other acts of violence and human rights abuses, and therefore calls on the Council and the Commission to ensure that the recent strengthening of MONUC leads to a significant improvement in the security of the populations of North Kivu and, should this not ensue, to urge the United Nations Security Council to give MONUC the means to fulfil its mission, beginning with the effective and lasting protection of the civilian populations of the region;

3.

Calls for zero tolerance of the sexual violence against girls and women which is used as a weapon of war and demands severe criminal penalties against the perpetrators of these crimes; recalls the importance of access to reproductive health services in conflict situations and refugee camps;

4.

Welcomes the holding of the peace conference in Goma, given the need to find a political solution to the conflict affecting the East of the DRC; underlines, however, besides the notable absence of representatives of Interhamwes (FDLR), the fragility of the demobilisation undertakings and ceasefire commitment agreed on 23 January 2008 at the end of the Conference and therefore continues to urge all parties to this conflict to work unceasingly for peace and to put an end to violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law, cease all attacks on civilians and allow humanitarian agencies to come to the aid of the civilian population;

5.

Points out that the practical details of this demobilisation have yet to be worked out within the framework of the Joint Technical Peace and Security Commission under the co-presidency of the DRC Government and the international facilitation of that commitment, and therefore calls for that Commission to be set up as swiftly as possible so as to finalise demobilisation issues;

6.

Welcomes the meeting held in September 2007 between the Congolese and Rwandan Foreign Ministers and calls on the Rwandan authorities to play a tangible role in the various efforts to resolve the conflict in North Kivu, particularly as regards prosecutions, disarmament, demobilisation and the repatriation of Interhamwes present in North Kivu;

7.

Calls on the Council and the Commission to release emergency funds, in view of the extreme gravity of the humanitarian situation faced by the populations of North Kivu, not only because of the conflicts which continue to affect that region, but also as a result of the earthquake of 3 February 2008, and to ensure that humanitarian workers are able to operate under the best possible conditions;

8.

Calls on the Council and the Commission to implement large-scale medical assistance programmes for the civilian populations in Eastern DRC with immediate effect, in order to both to meet the immediate needs of the population and in anticipation of the reconstruction of the region which will be required;

9.

Calls for the effective establishment of monitoring mechanisms, such as the Kimberley process for the certification of the origin of natural resources imported into the EU market;

10.

Calls on the Council and every Member Sate to provide special aid to the populations of Eastern DRC;

11.

Calls on the European Union mission to North Kivu scheduled for March 2008 to report back to it;

12.

Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the institutions of the African Union, the High Representative for the CFSP, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Untied Nations Security Council, the United Nations Human Rights Council, the President, parliament and government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the President, parliament and government of the Republic of Rwanda.


(1)  Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2008)0022.

(2)  Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2007)0540.