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Letter to the UN secretary general on the situation in DRC

Letter by WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

18 March 2009

Mr Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Secretary General

Geneva, 18 March 2009

Your Excellency,

Dear Mr Secretary General,

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has been following with interest the priority attention you have been giving to Africa since your appointment as Secretary General of the United Nations. You have visited Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo twice within a short period of time. As the General Secretary of the WCC and as an African, I would like to convey to you the gratitude of the ecumenical movement for this and many other positive actions you are taking to help find solutions to the prevailing crises in Africa.

It is in appreciation of your leadership on Africa and your strong support for Africa - in particular concerning the crisis in Central Africa - which I would like to call your attention to a recent statement issued by the WCC executive committee to address the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A copy is attached. The statement reviews painful political developments, the tragic colonial history of DRC, and the exploitation of the rich natural resources with which DRC is endowed. The Congolese people have suffered much at the hands of those who have turned their God-given blessings into a curse!

The World Council of Churches believes that the current tragedy can be turned around, however, with determination and political will. Doing so will require that the international community works hand-in-hand with the leadership of DRC and of neighboring countries.

Mr Secretary General, within the short period of time since your assumption of office, you have demonstrated that you are determined to bring lasting peace with justice to the Democratic Republic of Congo and its suffering people. Hopes for durable solutions in the DRC have been rekindled by the concerted efforts of your office as well as the African Union, international NGOs and the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This holistic and coherent approach augurs very well for peace and security particularly in the Eastern Congo where atrocities have cost so many lives and left so many people deeply traumatized.

We welcome the constructive role of MONUC, the decisive and critical involvement of the African Union, and the positive and commendable involvement of your envoy General Olesegun Obasanjo. We also note the helpful and combined role of the governments of the neighboring countries. It is incumbent on the international community to give support and encouragement to these affirmative and constructive initiatives.

The international ecumenical community under the leadership of the WCC is fully determined to support the international peace initiatives being coordinated by your office. Our engagement in Africa takes place at the international, regional and national levels through the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), the Great Lakes Forum and our member churches in the DRC respectively.

Churches of the WCC are convinced that to attain a just peace it is imperative to have national and regional actors at the center of the peace process. This is particularly significant in the case of the Democratic Republic of Congo which shares boundaries with nine African countries. Its size and strategic location mean that peace in DRC will have positive implications for the region.

In order to capitalize on the current opportunity for peace, WCC appeals to you to ensure that:

  • MONUC, which is operating under very difficult circumstances, has full and sustained international support for its role in protecting the lives of civilians, in particular women and children.

  • The current global financial crisis does not in any way affect the humanitarian response and support for the people of the DRC.

  • The illegal exploitation of the resources of the country is stopped and those involved brought to justice.

  • The stabilization plan for eastern DRC and its implementation is given adequate attention and support so that the positive progress and results achieved so far are not lost.

  • The UN Security Council provides sustained, high-level political engagement to promote a long-term political solution to the crisis.

We thank you again for your work and your attention to these concerns.

Sincerely yours,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia

WCC general secretary

Enclosure: WCC Executive Committee Statement on the Situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo