Country: Democratic Republic of The Congo
Event: Pearl-MUN 2006
Student: Sara Abu Sha'arLinks to other sites on the Web: Back to the 2005-2006 Team page
Situated in the heart of Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been in the center of what can be termed as Africa’s world war. Plagued by violence, the country has ceased to function as a country, and rather, it has become a vast battlefield referred to by many as "the heart of darkness". In 1908, when the Belgian Government had first taken over the Congolese administration, the situation in the Congo improved dramatically. This transformed the Congo into a model colony. Hospitals, primary schools, and high schools were built, and every Congolese had access to them. Doctors against several diseases such as the sleeping disease achieved great victories. Yet there remained one problem, the native Congolese didn’t have any power. Everything was decided by the Belgian Colony, which had absolute power, while the country’s own citizens had none. The Congolese people could no longer resist this lack of democracy.
Therefore, in 1955 the upper class in the Congolese civilization initiated a campaign to end the inequality once and for all. After a series of mutinies, demonstrations, and unrest, the Belgians realized that they could not maintain control over such a vast country anymore. Prior to this announcement, the Belgians also announced that they would relinquish control over the country. The DR Congo was then granted its independence on June 30, 1960. Patrice Lumumba was produced Prime Minister, after the parliamentary elections in 1960 and Joseph Kasavubu as president of the renamed Democratic Republic of the Congo. Though the country had received its independence when the great European power had pulled out of its land, the DR Congo became politically unstable. This is reflected in its seven name changes since 1885: (1) Congo Free State (2) Belgian Congo (3) Republic of the Congo Leopoldville (4) Democratic Republic of the Congo Leopoldville (5) Democratic Republic of the Congo - Kinshasa (6) Republic of Zaire and (7) Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa (since 1997). Though the country has been run as a dictatorship for 32 years, it has now become a transitional government, which is a temporary national administration that is chosen to run the country until the establishment of a permanent government.
The current government is composed of a president, Joseph Kabila, and four vice presidents representing the former government, former rebel groups, and the political opposition join the president. Presently DR Congo is in a period where a constitution has been approved by voters. Moreover, presidential elections are expected to be held in June 2006. The Congolese National Assembly consists of 500 members, and a 120-seat senate established in June 2003. The leading diplomatic parties of the country include: . The Democratic Social Christian Party or PDSC · Forces for Renovation for Union and Solidarity or FONUS · National Congolese Lumumbist Movement or MNC · Popular Movement of the Revolution or MPR · Unified Lumumbast Party or PALU · Union for Democracy and Social Progress or UDPS · Union of Federalists and Independent Republicans or UFERI
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is located in the heart of the West Central Portion of the sub-Saharan Africa and is bounded by Angola, the Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, which is across Lake Tanganyika, and Zambia. The DRC - in terms of area is the third largest country on the African continent - after Sudan and Algeria. Its geographical coordinates are 0 00 N, and 25 00 E. The total area of the country is 2,345,410 sq. km. 2,267,000 sq. km of which is land, while 77,810 sq. km of it is water. Basically it is slightly less than one-fourth the size of the US and almost the size of Western Europe. The DRC is divided into 25 provinces, and one independent city (Kinshasa). After the consitution was approved in February 2006, there were 10 provinces plus Kinshasa. The highest point in DRC is the Margherita Peak, which ascends 16,762 ft in the air, and the lowest point of the DRC is sea level. Forests cover most of the land. The Congo River, which runs throughout the country, is 4,374 km long and it is the second longest river in Africa and the seventh longest in the world. The river is up to 16 kilometers at its widest point as is composed of some 4000 islands, (some are as long as 16 kilometers - 10 miles). Moreover the Congo River is Africa’s great artery to Zaire and the Congo and it the main "rode" to interior. Due to its equatorial location, DR Congo’s climate is a tropical one. It is both hot and humid in areas, which the equator passes through and it is cooler and drier in southern highlands. Also it is cooler and wetter in Eastern Highlands. Its terrain is a vast low basin in a low-lying plateau while its mountains are located in the east. DR Congo’s arable land makes up 2.86% of its total land size. 3% of the land is occupied by agriculture, 7% by pasture, forest/woodland 77%, and 13% by "other" uses. Some environmental hazards, which strike the DR CONGO, include periodic droughts in the south; Congo River floods which are seasonal and occur in the east. There are also some active volcanoes in the Great Rift Valley.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the richest lands in Africa when it comes to natural resources. In fact, its land is so rich with natural resources that its natural resource wealth could be a basis for the reconstruction of the country. Cobalt, copper, cadmium, geranium, radium, bauxite, iron oar, niobium, rubber, zinc, silver, gold, petroleum, tantalum, manganese, tin, coal, hydropower, and timber are only some of the natural resources found in DR Congo’s prosperous land. One of the major minerals of the DR Congo includes uranium. During World War II, the DR Congo’s uranium deposits supplied the uranium that was used by the USA to build the atomic bombs, which had brought and end to World War II, but at the same time, destroyed the Japanese towns of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (DR Congo’s role in the World War II was a great one, because of its natural resources the war was ended). Moreover, the DRC leads the world in the production of industrial diamonds, its second most important mineral. Also, it produces 22,000 bbl of oil per day and consumes 8,300 bbl of it daily. Not only, however DRC’s land is rich with agricultural products too, which accounted for 57% of the GDP in 1997. These agricultural products include: coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber, tea, quinine, cassava (tapioca), bananas, root crops, corn, fruits, and wood products. The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s import partners are South Africa 17.2%, Belgium 14.5%, France 10.1%, Zambia 8.5%, Kenya 5%, USA 5.6%, and Germany 5.5%. The country’s export partners include Belgium 47.5%, Finland 20.8%, USA 10.9%, and China 7.5%. Some of its most important export commodities include uranium, diamonds, copper, crude oil, coffee, and cobalt, whilst its most important import commodities include: food products, mining and other machinery, transport equipment, and fuels. DR Congo, though it may seem very rich with natural resources, is not a self-sufficient country. This is because the amount of money that it spends on its imports, which is $1.319 billion exceeds the amount of money that it receives from its exports, which is $1.108 billion.
The Kingdom of the Congo was a very powerful one that existed from the 14Th. century to the 18Th. It was one of the leading forces in the African region until the arrival of the Portuguese. The earliest inhabitants of the area were Pygmy peoples, who were then largely replaced and immersed by Bantu tribes during Bantu migrations. From 2000 BC to AD 500 the Bantu migrations moved into what has now become the Democratic Republic of the Congo from the northwest. This migration dislocated the Pygmy populations into southern regions of the DRC. During their stay, the Bantus imported agricultural and iron-working techniques from West Africa into the area. They also established the Bantu language, which was once considered the primary language for the Congolese. Then, adding to this mix of ethnic groups were large subsequent migrations from the Darfur and Kordofan regions of Sudan. Also many East Africans migrated to the DRC. Currently, the DRC is composed of more than 250 different ethnic groups. When the Belgians first colonized the country in 1908, four national languages were already used in primary schools and this proves that the country was one of the few to have literacy during the occupation. Now, around 700 local languages and dialects are spoken in the country, however out of these, only four have the status of national languages. The DRC’s official language is French. Other languages spoken include Swahili, Lingala, Ishiluba, and Kikongo (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili). Today, over 65.5% of the total population of the DRC are literate, which the country terms as anyone age 15 and over that can read and write French, Lingala, Kingwana, or Tshiluba. 76.2% of the 65.5% that are literate are males, while 55.1% are females. The total population of the DRC is, at this moment in time, 62,660,551. The four largest tribes are Mongo, Luba, Kongo, and the Mangbetu-Azande. They make up almost 45% of the population. Four different religions spread throughout the DRC: Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, and the rest of the population - 10% follow monotheism, animism, vitalism, spirit and ancestor worship, witchcraft and sorcery.
As for relationships between tribes, ethnic clashes in the northeast still continue especially violence between the Hema and Lendu tribes in the Kivu region of eastern Congo. Furthermore, clashes between Tutsis and Hutus tribes continue. In July of 1994 refugees from Rwanda began flowing into the DRC because of the ethnic conflict between Hutu and Tutsi in that country. Over 103 million Rwandans gathered in camps along the DRC's eastern border. Together and with great effort, the Congolese Government and the UN tried to find a way of safely returning the refugees to Rwanda. The UN sent Congolese troops in February of 1995 to maintain order in the campus. In August of that same year, the Congolese Government could no longer wait for the refugees to move out of their land and so they ordered that the refugees be forcibly expelled from the camps. After an estimated amount of 15,000 refugees had been forced back into Rwanda, international pressure from all around the world forced the government to bring the operation to a halt.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo - the third largest country on the African continent - is rich in natural and human resources, including the second largest rainforest in the world, the second longest river in Africa and the seventh longest in the world, fertile soils, ample rainfall, and considerable and varied mineral resources. In the past, mining of copper, cobalt, diamonds, gold, and other base metals, zinc, and petroleum extraction accounted for almost 75 percent of the total export revenues, and about 25 percent of the country’s GDP. However due to the mismanagement and the instability of the country’s government, the DRC’s formal economy has collapsed in the last few decades making it a third world country. The country continues to suffer from the after-effects of dictatorship and civil war. Despite its vast mineral wealth, the DRC is economically one of the weakest in the world, although it is supposed to be one of the strongest. GTZ has been working in this country on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) since 1978. After its independence in 1960, the DRC had become a very unstable country. During that time, the country’s economy grew only about 1% a year until the mid-1980s. Then the Democratic Republic of the Congo dropped from having one of Africa's highest standards of living to one of its lowest because of Mobutu's 32 years regime. Since the mid 1980’s the economy of the DRC has declined drastically due to years of dictatorship and civil war. These factors have largely destroyed both the economic and social infrastructure of the country making it fragile and fragmented. Moreover, the war, which took place in 1998, transformed the nation from one that was once endowed with vast potential wealth, into a bloodstained land filled with violence, famine, and disease.
Today, three out of four Congolese are undernourished and 70 percent of the country’s 62 million inhabitants have no access to health or educational facilities. The gross domestic product for 2005 was once again below that of 1958. Moreover the side effects of this war also included the reduction of the national output and the government revenue, and an increase in external debt. Needless to mention, the war not only shattered and penetrated the country’s economy, yet it also resulted in the deaths of perhaps 3.8 million people. Several foreign businesses shortened operations that involved DR Congo due to uncertainty about the outcome of this conflict, the lack of transportation, and the difficult operating environment. Late in 2002, conditions improved after the withdrawal of a large portion of the occupying troops. President Laurent Desiré Kabila was assassinated in January 2001. Since his son Joseph took office, the country has been preparing to make a new start. The first economic, social and political reforms have already begun, and free democratic elections are planned for 2006, this is expected to make the countries economy rise once again and is furthermore expected to make business bloom. Though the DRC has lost a lot of money due to the businesses that pulled out of the country after the war, the transitional government has now reopened relations with international financial institutions and international donors. Also President Joseph Kabila has begun implementing reforms. A lot of the economic activity lies outside the GDP data.
The Congolese economy is still basically a predator economy and never in history has it been managed in an accountable and sustainable manner. Through the years, leaders and elites have enriched themselves with the willing co-operation of national and international (mining) companies. Revenues made with the exploitation of the DRC 's natural wealth have never truly benefited the population and therefore a large number of the country’s citizens remain living in hunger and poverty. (‘Same old story’ - Global Witness report on the history of the DRC’s resources), that is among the poorest in the world. The people realize that they are being robbed, which makes the situation even unstable. The lack of availability of independent and trustworthy information enhances a climate of mistrust.
The economic stability of the country has improved in 2003-2005 although a vague legal structure, corruption, and a lack of openness in government policy continues to slow down growth. Kinshasa’s financial position and GDP growth was boosted in 2005 because of the renewed activity in the mining sector, which is DR Congo’s greatest source of exports. According to the CIA, DRC’s imports are worth $1.319 billion, while its exports are worth $1.108 billion. The country also has an estimated external debt of $12.6 billion. Mineral processing is the primary manufacturing activity in DRC, followed by petroleum and cement production. Moreover the country produces 6.036 billion kWh of electricity. The percentage of electricity produced by fossil fuels is 1.8%, whilst the percentage of electricity produced by hydropower is 98.2%. Also DRC’s oil proved reserves are 1.538 billion bbl. The country also manufactures others products that include tires, shoes, textiles, beer, soap, cigarettes, and processed food. The currency of the DRC is the Congolese Franc. One Congolese Frank is equivalent to 0.002342 US Dollars, which means that 427 Congolese Franks make up 1 dollar. The DRC’s economy is mostly dependent upon agriculture, based on coffee and cassava. The conflict, which took place at the start of 1990, hit the country’s exports badly, and the late Kabila said 80 percent of the country’s resources were required to finance the war. In October 2000 the UN World Food Program estimated that the socio- economic fabric was "completely devastated." Central Bank estimates showed inflation running at a staggering 520 percent in 2000. GNP: 110 US dollars per capita (World Bank, 1998). External Debt, 11.645 billion dollars (World Bank, 2000). Armed Forces: Estimated at 81,400 men by the International Institute of Strategic Statistics (2002).
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is composed of three separate military branches; the army, the navy and the air defense force. It is voluntary for males who range from ages 18-49 to offer service in the military and defend their country. The numbers of men that are fit for military service in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are an estimated 5,851,292. However the amount of men that are available to serve in the military are 11,052,696. Though the number of men serving for the army may seem great, the DRC’s army is not a very strong and feared one. This is not due to the lack of their physical strength; rather it is due to the lack of the percentage of the GDP put into military expenses. Only an estimated $103.7 million has been spent on weaponry and other fighting equipment, and this percentage is only 1.5% of the country’s GDP. Since 1998, the country has been suffering greatly from the Second Congo War, (which is often referred to as the African World War), the world’s deadliest conflict since World War 2. Not only however it is still suffering from the aftermath of a dictatorship, which lasted for 32 years, but it is also poor.
The DRC’s allies are Chad, Sudan, Angola, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. These countries have helped the DRC to fight Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi who are being backed primarily by the United States, whilst the DRC is being supported by France. The military expenditure of the country is an estimated $103.7 million, and this expenditure accounts for about 1.5% of the country’s GDP. Sadly, the DRC is currently one of the countries of the world with the largest number of child soldiers. The recruitment and use of children as soldiers in the DRC first increased dramatically in 1996. In July of that year a newly formed armed coalition called the AFDL began rising in the eastern provinces of Kivu. These groups were greatly aided by Rwanda and also by Burundi, and were facing an ill-trained and unpaid Congolese army, the insurgent forces advanced rapidly, overthrowing President Mobutu (who subsequently changed his name - to MOBUTU Sese Seko) and bringing Laurent-Désiré Kabila to power in May 1997. The military supremacy rewards are so great that the armed groups strive constantly, by whatever available means, to strengthen their military capabilities. The often-shifting nature of the alliance between some of the armed forces and their foreign or Congolese sponsors emphasizes the DR Congo’s lack of a principled and logical political program. Despite a formal arms embargo on the DRC, substantial amounts of arms continue to flow virtually unchecked into the country. All over the DRC, the weapons are used in armed violence and human rights abuses, and have been used to undertake rape, assault, summary executions and forced displacement. The militia group leaders, who are rich from their resource plundering and predatory taxation, have no difficulty in paying for these arms, thus completing a vicious and self-perpetuating circle of plunder by force followed by the procurement of arms with the proceeds, followed by further violent and vicious plunder.
Views on World Problems:
Seven years of continuous war in the DR Congo have led to the death of over 3.8 million people since 1998 alone, most of them civilian men, women and children. This has been the main cause of countless acts of torture and tens of thousands of woman being raped. Escaping the conflict, thousands of civilians have run away from their homes and driven into neighboring countries or other parts of the DRC. More than two million people have been internally displaced, including 400,000 children displaced from their homes. The lack of access to humanitarian assistance and malnutrition has caused an uncountable number of deaths. This war is not a war in which the DRC’s civilians have been the unfortunate victims of ‘collateral damage’, but one in which they have been constantly and inexorably targeted. Moreover, the war has drawn in military forces from all over the world and from neighboring states. Uganda and Rwanda have constantly backed the rebel movement, which occupies much of the eastern segment of the state. Another problem that the DR Congo faces is that a large portion of the Congo River boundary with the Republic of the Congo is indefinite because no agreement has been made to divide the river or its islands except in the Pool Malebo/Stanley Pool area. Throughout these past years, intense, unexplainable suffering and death have become the daily fabric of Congolese lives. The war in the DRC was also marked by the widespread use of children as soldiers by all parties. Today, the DRC has one of the largest amounts of child soldiers on earth. Although the DRC has so many of its own troubles to worry about, it still remains saddened at several different preventable problems that are constantly appearing and occurring throughout our world, and more specifically in Africa. These problems include civil war, generic drugs, corruption, HIV/Aids, lack of medical help, slow economic growth, hunger and poverty, which have stolen the souls of so many innocent people. In addition, it is growing very much concerned and deeply disturbed at the problem of starvation, because U.N. studies show that the world already produces more than enough food to feed everyone on the planet and has the capacity to produce even more, and yet a large percent of the DRC’s children remain chronically hungry.
Currently, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is an active member in several different international and regional organizations, including the United Nations (UN) and its specialized agencies, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Not only, however the DRC is also linked with numerous other associations and agreements such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (Intelsat), the Nonaligned Movement, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the African Development Bank, the Economic Community of Central African States (Communaut Economique des etats de I'Afrique Centrale--CEEAC), and Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (Communauti Economique des Pays des Grands Lacs--CEPGL).
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the renewed name for a nation that saw the collapse of a corrupt, thirty-two year dictatorship in 1997. Formally called Zaire, the DRC has had an unstable and capricious history marked by colonialists and dictators who tried to take advantage of the country’s vast resources. The Congolese citizens - from the capitalists operating the copper and diamond mines to the hunting-and-gathering Pygmy peoples of the Ituri forests - cling onto what they know: their strong extended families, resourcefulness and knowledgeable, religion, and even some tribal superstitions.
At the very beginning of the 11Th. century the Kongo Empire began to rise. It was located in modern northern Angola including extreme western Congo and territories round lakes Kisale and Upemba in central Katanga (now Shaba). In year 1482, the Portuguese explorer and navigator-Diogo Cao, became the first European to visit the Congo; and from this point on, relationships between the Portuguese began to set up with the king of Kongo. Duting the 16Th. and 17Th. centuries, British, Dutch, Portuguese and French merchants took slave trade through Kongo intermediaries. A private venture to colonize Kongo was then set up by the Belgian King Leopold II in the year 1870. From years 1874-77, Henry Stanley, a British explorer, navigated Congo River to the Atlantic Ocean.
· In 1879-87 King Leopold hired Stanley to establish the king's authority in the Congo basin. At the Conference of Berlin, which took place from 1884-5 European powers began to recognize Leopold's claim to the Congo basin. The establishment of the Congo Free State was later on announced in 1885 by King Leopold and headed by himself. In the following years from 1891-92, the Belgians conquered Katanga. Eastern Congo wrested from the control of East African Arab and Swahili-speaking traders during the years of 1892-94. In 1908 the Belgian State occupied Congo causing protests, killings, and atrocities carried out on a massive scale by Leopold's agents. During Leopold’s control of the territory, millions of Congolese were either killed or worked to death. Then in 1955, a "30-Year Plan" for granting the Congo increased self-government was planned and published by Belgian Professor Antoin van Bilsen. Starting in 1959, the several different violent events in the Congo noticeably weakened Belgium’s control over the country, following serious nationalist riots in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa).
On the 30th of June - 1960, the Congo was granted its independence and the democratic elections produce Patrice Lumumba as prime minister and Joseph Kasavubu as president. Then in July of that same year, the Congolese army mutinied and Katanga was declared independent by Moise Tshombe. Belgian troops were once again, sent into the country presumably to protect Belgian citizens and mining interests. The UN Security Council voted to send in troops to help establish order, however the troops were not allowed to interfere in the DRC’s internal affairs. In September of year 1960 - Lumumba, the Prime Minister, was dismissed by president Kasavubu. After that, in December, Lumumba was arrested. Then in February of 1961, Lumumba was murdered, reportedly with US and Belgian complicity and involvement. The Katangese soldiers were then disarmed by UN troops in August of year 1961. Two years after this (in year 1963) Tshombe agreed to end Katanga's secession. So in 1964 - Tshombe was appointed Prime Minister by President Kasavubu.
In 1965, Kasavubu and Tshombe were exiled in a coup led by Joseph Mobutu. The country was renamed as Zaire in 1971 by Joseph Mobutu who took over the renamed "Zaire" and also renamed himself Mobutu Sese Seko. Afterwards Katanga became Shaba and the River Congo became the River Zaire. Mobutu then nationalized many foreign-owned firms and forced European investors out of the country during the years of 1973-74. In 1977, Mobutu invited foreign investors back into the country, without much success. French, Belgian and Moroccan troops helped repulse attack on Katanga by Angolan-based rebels. In the year of 1989, Zaire failed to pay on loans from Belgium, which resulted in the termination of development programs and increased drastic deterioration of the country’s economy. An agreement was proposed by Mobutu in 1990 to end the ban on multiparty politics and to appoint a transitional government, but yet to keep hold of substantial powers. In 1991, unpaid soldiers caused out riots in Kinshasa, while Mobutu agreed to a union government with opposition leaders, but retained control of the security equipment and important ministries. Rival pro- and anti-Mobutu governments were then created in 1993. The following year (1994), Mobutu agreed to the appointment of Kengo Wa Dondo, a supporter of austerity and free-market reforms, as Prime Minister. From the years of 1996-7, Tutsi rebels captured much of eastern Zaire while Mobutu was abroad for medical treatment. It is said that President Mobutu, amassed a $4 billion fortune.
In May of 1997 - Tutsi and other anti-Mobutu rebels, aided mainly by Rwanda, took over the capital, Kinshasa and Zaire was renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo. Moreover, Laurent-Desire Kabila was installed as president. Then in August of 1998, rebels supported by Rwanda and Uganda rose up against Kabila and continued to take over Kinshasa. Zimbabwe and Namibia sent troops to repel the DRC. Angolan troops also sided with Kabila. The rebels took control over much of the east of DR Congo. In 1999 crevices formed and emerged between Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) rebels supported by Uganda and Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD) rebels backed by Rwanda.
The six African countries that were involved in the war signed a cease-fire accord in Lusaka in July of year 1999. One month after that the MLC and RCD rebel groups signed the accord. In year 2000, the UN Security Council approved a 5,500-strong UN force to monitor the cease-fire but fighting continued between rebels and government forces, and between Rwandan and Ugandan forces. President Laurent Kabila was then shot dead by a bodyguard in year January 2001 and Joseph Kabila (his son) succeeded his father. Kabila met Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Washington in February of year 2001. Rwanda, Uganda and the rebels agreed to a UN pullout plan, and so Uganda and Rwanda began pulling troops back from the front-line. In May of year 2001, US refugee agency said the war has killed 3.8 million people, directly or indirectly, since August 1998. Later, a UN panel said the warring parties were deliberately prolonging the conflict to plunder gold, diamonds, timber and coltan, used in the making of mobile phones. Then in January of 2002, the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo devastated much of the city of Goma.
In April year 2002, peace talks materialized in South Africa. Kinshasa signed a power-sharing deal with Ugandan-backed rebels, under which the MLC leader would be premier. Rwandan-backed RCD rebels to reject the deal. Presidents of DR Congo and Rwanda signed a peace deal in July 2002 under which Rwanda will withdraw troops from the east and DR Congo will disarm and arrest Rwandan Hutu gunmen blamed for the killing of the Tutsi minority in Rwanda's 1994 genocide. Finally in September of 2002, presidents of DR Congo and Uganda signed a peace accord under which Ugandan troops would leave DR Congo.
(1) The Question of detention without trial in the war on terrorism.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, a great believer in justice and civil rights, is growing greatly distressed and troubled at the drastic increase in the number of innocent people that are getting thrown into jail without any trial or testimony because they are assumed, without any certainty whatsoever, to have involvement in terrorist and radical acts. The DRC defines this detention without trial as, "a recurring theme in history that in times of war, armed conflict, or perceived national danger, even liberal democracies adopt measures infringing human rights in ways that are wholly disproportionate to the crisis." The Democratic Republic of the Congo sees that this issue has become a very dangerous and critical one due to its rapid widespread throughout our world. Therefore we believe that these wrongful accusations should be brought to an end as soon as possible. From the cages at Guantanamo, to a jail cell in Brooklyn, the administration isn’t just threatening the rights of a few detainees- however the DR Congo sees that it is undermining the very foundation of democracy.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo realizes that in the weeks after September 11, 2001 the United States has become very "uptight" about Arabs and Africans entering the country and those already in the country, more specifically Muslims. FBI agents arrested more than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, on suspicion that they might have something to do with terrorism. Many were held for months without charges, in painful conditions. In the words of a New York Times legal writer, Adam Liptak, their treatment "inverted the foundation principles of the American legal system." These people, many of them innocent, were arrested essentially at random, without any probable cause to believe they had terror connections other than the fact that they were Arab and African Muslims. They were treated as guilty until proven innocent when, in reality, they should have been treated innocent until proven guilty. These people were held in captivity until a lengthy FBI process concluded that they "posed no danger to the United States."
The Democratic Republic of the Congo terms such unfair acts as monstrous failures of justice. Such acts give the DRC an image that the U.S. considers all bearded men who pray at the mosque and all veiled women - as terrorists. Moreover, this gives the Democratic Republic of the Congo an image that detention without trial, denial of access to lawyers, years of interrogation in isolation -- are now American practices. The DR Congo opposes such acts of violence not only because they are unfair to human rights however also considering the fact that Muslims make up 10% of the country’s population. We consider these acts as acts of racism too because people are being discriminated due to the color of their skin and their facial features.
Though the Democratic Republic of the Congo shows scorn towards several administrations, such as the Bush administration, which is really attacking a basic premise of the American system: that the U.S. has a government under one law, we would, on the other hand, like to applaud the recent efforts of the United Nations and several other organizations for their continuous efforts in trying to put an end to this problem of detention without trial in the war on terrorism. The DRC views that if this problem is brought to an end, then this would mean an end to preventing the prisoners held captives in places such as Guantanamo from not being aloud to testify in court whether in fact they have anything to do with terrorism or not. This would mean that these people would be given their rights once again. And this will be a chance for those truly innocent to prove themselves innocent and for those guilty to be punished severely.
(2) Improving the living conditions of Africa.
In year 2000, it began with the death of 24 million Africans infected with the virus. In the absence of a medical miracle, it is expected that nearly all Africans will die before 2010. Each day, 6,000 Africans die from AIDS. Each day, an additional 11,000 are infected. Every 30 seconds, an African child dies of malaria - more than one million child deaths a year. Currently, more than 50 percent of Africans suffer from water-related diseases such as cholera and infant diarrhea. More than 40 percent of Africans do not even have the ability to obtain sufficient food on a day-today basis. More than 40 percent of women in Africa do not have access to basic education. A woman living in sub-Saharan Africa has a 1 in 16 chance of dying in pregnancy. This compares with a 1 in 3,700 risk for a woman from North America. Moreover, 36% of the African population lives on less than one dollar a day. Each day, thousands of African children are dying from starvation and curable diseases, African mothers are loosing their babies due to their limited amount of knowledge on immunizing them, and African fathers are being taken away to serve in the army, where they are most likely to get killed. Day after day, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is becoming more and more concerned at the drastic decline in the living conditions of Africa. The DRC defines this problem as one that encompasses the harsh living conditions of Africans who suffer yearly because of hunger, poverty, food shortage, lack of education and lack of shelters. Not only, however, this poverty goes way beyond income poverty. It means having to walk more than one-mile everyday simply to collect water and firewood; it means suffering diseases that were eradicated from rich countries decades ago. It is heartbreaking for the DR Congo to hear that so many of its children and its people are dying daily from preventable causes and from the lack of money to buy food and to get medical help, because the DRC believes that the continent of Africa should be the richest continent on earth due to its vast potential wealth.
Though the Democratic Republic of the Congo is devastated at the continuous decrease in the living conditions of Africa, it would like to applaud the recent efforts of the United Nations (UN) and the Humanitarian Rehabilitation Organization for the Poor and Needy (HROPN). Not to forget, the DRC would also like to extend its hands of gratitude to the UNIDO and the FOA (Food and Agricultural Organization) for their continuous efforts in helping fight poverty and improving the living conditions of Africa. Yet still, we believe that more can be done. The Democratic Republic of the Congo strongly supports the idea of voluntary repatriation. We feel that if every capable country would contribute aid to Africa then Africa shall bloom once again and shall rise above all other continents. If our African children are given medical treatment, food, homes, and proper education, then we might just be able to put an end to their suffering once and for all.
(3) The control and guidance on the media.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo views control and guidance on the media as directing what is written in newspapers, or broadcast on television, etc. for the world to see. The media in the Democratic Republic of the Congo operate against a backdrop of political power struggles and violent unrest. Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders says media workers face arrest, threats and violence. Reporters exposing corruption are at particular risk. Nonetheless, the press has been able to criticize government bodies, and some publications serve as mouthpieces for opposition parties and this sends out the wrong picture about the DRC to viewers from all around the world. Though the DRC is a tragic and complex nation, it is one with great possessions and promise. Congolese people face social, economic, and political challenges that originate from decades of military conflict. Unfortunately, due to the country’s painful past, the media have provided viewers and people from around the world with a misunderstanding about the DR Congo making outsiders view it only in four terms or factors - war, uranium, diamonds, and corruption (poverty in the country has become a strong contestant for fifth place.) However the DRC does not only have war, uranium, diamonds, and corruption. Rather, it is also endowed with vast potential wealth, and it is home to one of the largest rainforests (the Ituri forest) and longest rivers in the world (the Congo River). Moreover, the friendliness of the locals is remarkable and unique and for the real African life music, one has to be in Kinshasa (the capital of DR Congo.
The DRC highly supports freedom of speech and the freedom of its citizens, but at the same time urges that there be control over the media to insure that "incidents" similar to what happened with Denmark do not occur and cause hatred and prejudices between people in our world. Furthermore the DRC believes that by having control and guidance over the media then no bad image will be sent out to the world about any country or individual. The DRC also believes that if some television channels, which broadcast "rubbish" on television, are eliminated and replaced with educational channels, then we can rest assured the minds of the world’s children will remain pure. Finally, the DRC would like to thank the UN for its continuous support to the DR Congo and for contributing its efforts to the country with a UN Mission in DR Congo (Monuc) and the DRC would also like to express its appreciation toward the Swiss-based organization, (Fondation Hirondelle), for launching Radio Okapi in 2002. (The network's mostly-Congolese staff broadcast news, music and information about Monuc activities. It aimed to promote dialogue across the political divide.)
(4) Towards eliminating arms proliferation.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo sees that the arms proliferation is becoming a great threat to our world and the DRC is growing increasingly alarmed at its rapid widespread. As the DRC realizes, many countries in our world are currently acquiring, or trying to obtain Nuclear Weapons so that they can stand as a threat to other nations, which they are not in good terms with, because with these weapons come power. However the Democratic Republic of the Congo believes that all arms proliferation should be eliminated as soon as possible for they pose as a great threat to world peace. We know that this choice will be for the benefit of mankind, for we have suffered from several wars that shattered the hopes and dreams of citizens, and flooded our streets with blood. We believe that these weapons are of no benefit whatsoever to mankind, and therefore they should be abolished.
Furthermore, the Democratic Republic of the Congo would like to express its appreciation towards the United Nations (UN) and all countries working with this powerful force for trying to stop the production of weapons of mass destruction and for trying to eliminate them. Moreover, the DRC would like to express it’s gratefulness towards countries like South Korea for cooperating and obeying the rule of not acquiring these weapons. The Democratic Republic of the Congo suggests that one way of eliminating arms proliferation is by placing certain laws and rules against acquiring these weapons of mass destruction and that all WMD already produced are to be eliminated. The DR Congo believes that eliminating arms proliferation will push our world one step closer to peace.
(5) Integration of women in development.
From the Democratic Republic of the Congo's perspective, the integration of women in development should be a must in every society, because all women play an important role in this world regardless whether they are mothers, farmers, or scientists. Moreover, the DR Congo believes that this privilege and advantage should not only be given to rich woman, however the DRC also believes that many poor woman and woman from lower standards of living deserve to be able to take part and participate in the development of their society too, because these poor woman are all hardworking and determined woman, who struggle for a decent life for themselves, their families, and their communities. The DRC defines this integration of woman in development as a chance for women to get involved in the progress of their society and an opportunity for them to take part in the growth of their communities and countries. Also, the DRC sees that this action will be of benefit to woman from all around the world. For example, involving uneducated woman in the society will encourage these women to learn and to be educated. Research shows that if a woman is educated then her prenatal care, postnatal care and childbirth survival rates will dramatically and consistently improve. So this would mean saving many lives.
Although some Congolese women are powerful and rich, the average Congolese woman is increasingly poor, uneducated, and illiterate, lacking access to basic services, struggling to support herself and her family, and desiring a better life. Many are also victims of violence in their homes and their communities. Day after day, so many of these woman are either injured, killed or are constantly dying from diseases because they are unaware and uneducated, and day after day, the DRC is becoming more and more concerned about the integration of woman in development. The Democratic Republic of the Congo believes that all women should have access to health care, education, literacy services, education for their children, opportunities to generate income to support themselves, safety and security, and the opportunity to participate in government, peace making, and local decision making. Furthermore, the DR Congo believes that this problem concerns several countries in our world because women make up a large part of every society.
Though more and more women are taking part in most areas of economic, social and political life they remain particularly under-presented and this, in the DR Congo's eyes, is completely unfair prejudiced to these woman's rights, because so many of them are a lot more helpful and beneficial to the growth of the society then some men are. The DR Congo believes that this problem will be hard to solve because it encompasses traditions, gender-based roles, extreme poverty, a lack of education and information, and ongoing conflict. However, this has not stopped the DRC from coming up with plans to get rid of the discrepancies between women and men and to provide each with equal rights. In DR Congo's opinion, improving the lives of women requires three conditions: (1) government use of resources to deliver basic services (health care, water, electricity, education); (2) removal of restrictions on organizations, civil society, and so forth, to ensure that government is responsive; and (3) availability of resources (financial, training, and information) for self-help and entrepreneurial activities by women's groups. In addition, however, improving women's lives requires that donors, international organizations, and governments pay attention to ways in which ostensibly gender-neutral policies may actually harm women. For example, privatization and land-tenure issues, selection of crops and sectors for economic support, and decisions regarding timesaving and labor-saving infrastructure (such as water systems) all affect women. Similarly, donors' education, training, and hiring policies will influence whether a country develops gender-stereotyped professions, as well as who will have the capacity to become leaders and whether policymakers will be aware of women's needs.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo would furthermore like to congratulate the efforts reflected in the Beijing Platform for Action. Finally, the DRC strongly urges all countries to open their eyes and realize that woman do play and effective role in every society because they bring up the children who will later on also contribute to the development of the society. By allowing woman to participate in the development of their countries, many contributions shall be made to the benefit of each and every single society.
Defining living conditions of Africans who are dying minute after minute from curable diseases, that were eradicated from rich countries decades ago, and are experiencing long term suffering from sicknesses because they cannot reach or cannot afford any medical help, also they are continuously suffering due to the lack of their income, years of civil war and strife, the widespread of hunger and poverty, very limited education, labor at a very young age, moreover these people have no shelters to protect them, also defining education as the process by which one’s mind is enlightened with knowledge, which can open so many doors of opportunity in ones life, and it is also the key to success,
Having Studied that people without literacy skills usually live in extreme poverty and unhygienic conditions, compared to those who are literate and deeply disturbed that the percent of children of school age in Sub Saharan Africa that have begun their education is only 57 percent in comparison to 98 percent of children of school age living in industrial countries who have begun their education, also research shows by the time children reach grade five, drop-out rates are as follows: 1 percent in industrial countries, 9 percent in the Middle East and North Africa and 33 percent in sub-Saharan Africa, moreover in the majority of African countries 3 out of every 5 dropouts are girls and research shows that If a girl is educated for six years or more, as an adult her prenatal care, postnatal care and childbirth survival rates, will dramatically and consistently improve also educated mothers immunize their children 50 percent more often than mothers who are not educated and AIDS spreads twice as quickly among uneducated girls than among girls that have even some schooling, and finally the children of a woman with five years of primary school education have a survival rate 40 percent higher than children of women with no education,
Alarmed by the fact that while the international community focuses its attention on Iraq, another crisis is quietly brewing - Africa is once again facing the threat of famine and this is due to the lack of education, in places like sub-Saharan Africa 40 million children of school-going age do not even attend primary school and depressed economic conditions in sub-Saharan African countries have resulted in the deplorable condition of school buildings, lack of proper teacher training and resources,
Expressing its appreciation to the UN and organizations like the UNESCO for their continues efforts and support of African nations that are suffering from harsh living conditions due to the lack of education and also to the FOA (Food and Agriculture Organization) and the UNICEF organization which are constantly providing donations to Africans in need, moreover to the Mexican Government for initiating a program, covering about two million very poor families, with payments of about $25 per family - in a country where most poor families earn only about $100 a month,
Deeply saddened that families in African countries put their very young children to work just to put bread on the table so the children don't get the schooling they need and the cycle of poverty continues in the continent of Africa for yet another generation, in turn this poverty leads to many deaths, and considering the enormous number of Africans that die per day it is expected that most African will die before year 2010,
Believing that Africa is supposed to be the richest continent on earth with the least number of hungry and uneducated people due to its vast potential wealth and also believing that Africa supplies the world with many necessary natural resources,
Congratulating the Mexican Government on its highly successful program, which after only a couple of years in operation, significantly raised the educational level of children in very poor areas and also narrowed the education gap between girls and boys and reduced the labor force participation of boys and of course the driving force of the UN for its great efforts in persistently trying to improve the living conditions of Africa,
1. Declares the establishment of a new organization called UNOEAM (United Nations Organization for Educating African Minds);
2. Draws full attention that this organization will work under the commands of the United Nations to determine the number of children that are of school-going age but are not attending school in African countries. If the percent of children not attending school is greater than 40 percent, the organization will work in these countries to try and decrease the number of children not acquiring knowledge, the committee will consist of: A. 60 specialists in the field of education hired by the UN that will make surveys on the number of children who do not attend school but are of schooling age in each African country, these people will also determine where the different branches of the organization will be opened, moreover, the committee will also study how these children are living and the reason that they are not in school;
3. Draws the attention that this organization shall do the following: A. Open branches in African countries that are chosen by the committee based on the percentage of children who are of schooling-age but do not go to school yet in that specific country, B. Hire investigators to speak with parents about the reason that they are not sending their children to school, and will speak with them about the benefits of sending their children to school and to explain to them how their children will be secured a better future if they are educated, and how their survival rates will increase, and these investigators will need to know how to speak the country’s language;
4. Notes that professional accountants will be hired by the UN and will: A. Pay poor mothers a certain amount of money as an incentive for sending their children to school, and the payment will not be much less than what the children would earn if they worked, B. Pay an incentive bonus if schools report that their children attend classes regularly so this will encourage the parents to continue sending their children to school, C. Pay the parents of children who are highly succeeding in high school only a bonus as a motive to keep them striving for success, and the investigators will make sure to keep track of the child’s achievements and the reason he/she is succeeding by contacting the school, D. Supply schools with book on several different subjects, so that the students can use them to study, E. Supply schools with money on a monthly basis and the investigators will make sure that the use of this money will only go to the use to education, hiring teachers, buying classroom necessities, etc., F. Provide schools with a small amount of money each month to supply the students with a proper lunch, G. Ask schools to take 30 minutes of their students’ time and teach them about hygiene, peace, pollution, and the problems that concern out world, H. Keep records of the people that the money is being distributed to and also keep records of their background information;
5. Draws the attention that qualified doctors shall be hired by the organization in accordance with the UN to vaccinate the children who intend to go to school but have not been vaccinated yet, and furthermore each family shall receive their incentive from the branch in their country and this will happen on a monthly basis as long as the child remains in school, just like a salary, and if a family sends more than one of their children to school then the parents shall receive money for each child they send to school, moreover every school in the country will report to the branch open in the country about the attendance level of students, whether it is increasing or not, and will give the names of students that are highly succeeding to the branches so that their families can be rewarded;
6. Further proclaim that in order for each family to receive this incentive, they must: A. Supply the investigators with their personal information and that of their children, B. Inform the investigators where their children shall be sent for schooling, C. Inform the investigators whether or not their children worked and the amount of salary they used to generate when they worked, D. Inform the investigators whether their children are suffering from diseases that do not allow them to attend schools, and the investigators will in turn contact the doctors located in the local branch to help the child get better, so that he/she can attend school;
7. Further Resolves that the branches of the organization that are located in countries outside of Africa will send the required amounts of money each month (which will be distributed to the parents who’s children have been attending school);
8. Affirms that the accountants, doctors and investigators who will supply the families with money, education, and health care will be hired by the UN and they will be located in every branch that opens in Africa;
9. Further Proclaims that depending on the child’s circumstances (for instance whether or not the child is currently working, the gender of the child, and the child’s health status - which will be determined by the professional doctors hired by the UN) different amounts of money will be supplied to each family, A. Since poor African parents in some countries routinely withdraw their daughters, specifically, from school when they become teenagers, payments should be a little more for daughters who continue their education, B. If a child does not drop-out of school and finishes all his/her 12 educational years then he/she shall receive an extra incentive, which can be spent whichever way the graduate desires, and the graduate will also receive a loan, which can only be used for the purpose of going to university (investigators will make sure that these loans are only used for this purpose and will keep record of the names of the universities that the child will attend), and once this graduate finishes with university investigators will consult the graduate about what jobs suit his/her knowledge, finally once he/she begins to work and earns a salary then the employee will be asked to pay only 20% of the loan back, C. In every African country a free scholarship will be given to the top 50 students and these students will be given the opportunity to choose to attend any university from the three universities that will be specifically chosen, so this will motivate the students to work hard and have great achievements;
10. Emphasizes that if the investigators are sent reports that a certain student is not succeeding at school and is hardly passing, then the investigators will hold a meeting with the student and his/her parent(s) and they will discuss the reason that the child is not doing so well, and the child will be given more consultations on how school will be for his/her benefit;
11. Takes note that the investigators will determine the African countries in which the branches shall be opened, presume the amount of money that they require to give the people depending on the number of children of school-going age not attending school in the chosen African countries, and will also assume the amounts of money that should be given to the parents of each child depending on the child’s state, moreover, these investigators will assume the amount of money that will be given to each school in order to carry out the educational process, and finally they will place an order of books to be distributed to each school (the books will be printed in different languages depending on the languages spoken in each country);
12. Further proclaims that if the number of children of school-going age who attend schools in Africa increases greatly then the organization will open branches in the countries of Africa where the percentage of children not attending school but are of school going age is less than 40% in the hope of decreasing even more;
13. Confirms that the investigators will try and convince as many parents as possible to enroll their children in school;
14. Supports that this organization will significantly raise the educational level of children in very poor African countries and secure them with a better future, so this will result in increasing the children’s opportunities as a grownup, and it will also narrow the education gap between girls and boys and reduce the labor force participation of boys, moreover it will save and improve many lives, moreover it will cover the lives of millions of families, with payments of about $25 per child -- in a country where most poor families earn only about $20 a month;
15. Calls upon all the countries of our world to cooperate and to provide their support to this organization, which will help keep poor African children at school, and this will in turn improve the living conditions of Africa, and put food on many African’s tables, and roofs over their heads, and by providing their support countries will have saved an entire African generation.
She was once a beautiful garden blossoming with flowers of democracy, justice, and unity. Within her fertile lands were so many treasures, treasures that could make her one of the richest countries in Africa. The more the outsiders came to learn about her breathtaking qualities - her sparkling diamonds, enormous uranium deposits, and vast rainforests - the more envious of they became of her. They wanted her prosperous lands, her hidden treasures, her natural beauty and wealth. They wanted to make her theirs. So they stomped on her, abused her, and crushed her pretty flowers hoping to take over her. It was all wrong and unfair! Yet she stood strong and fought, she fought to protect her people and her children. Honorable chair, fellow delegates, and attentive audience, the Democratic Republic of the Congo would like to welcome you. Bonjour! Today, although the country is once again blossoming in peace it remains frustrated at why other nations, more specifically, African nations, must suffer from the nightmares of war, famine, and disease. Therefore, it is the goal of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to work hand in hand with several other countries under the protective umbrella of the United Nations to seize these nightmares once and for all and to unlock the cages, which trap within them love and peace so that they can spread their wings, fly away, and bring joy and happiness to the world.
Ahsante Sana, Thank you