Resolution 6082: Democratic Republic of Congo:

Hope for a Radiant Future

Violence will no longer resound throughout your land,
nor devastation or destruction within your borders.
You will call your walls Salvation,
and your gates Praise. (Isaiah 60:18)

The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have not seen peace since its independence in 1960. Decades of a corrupt dictatorial government, backed by the US and other Western powers, and war have been their history. A war over the country’s vast resources involving nine countries broke out in 1998. Cruelties and atrocities have been inflicted upon its people. Children and young people were forcibly recruited by militias operating in the East and South regions of the country. Sexual violence has been used as a weapon of war against females, both young girls and older women. It is estimated that 4 million died, largely from disease and hunger, or have disappeared without a trace. The war is one of the bloodiest in modern times.

In 2006, the Congolese people elected a president, Joseph Kabila, and a National Assembly. The newly elected administration, which is the first elected in over 40 years, has taken steps toward the building of democracy and infrastructure. The DRC has a new constitution and security in parts of the country has improved dramatically, except the challenging eastern and southern regions still preyed upon by intransigent militias who assault innocent people and government symbols. The elections and regional security are milestones in the restoration of stability in the Congo and show there is hope for the future of the country.

We pray for the rebirth of the nation and end to war and conflict.

Life for the Congolese People

The vast majority of the people live in poverty, despite the coun-try’s rich natural resources and having the second largest rainforest in the world. Only 20 percent of the population has access to safe water, 70 percent has little or no access to health care, 16 million have critical food needs, and the country has the highest infant mortality rate in Africa. Very few social services are provided to the population by the government. The conflict has caused the displacement of millions of people. Children have experienced extreme hardships—lifelong physical and psychological harm— due to the war. Each year, more children die in DRC than in China, a country with 23 times the population, and than in all the Latin American countries combined, according to a 2006 UNICEF report. According to the 2013 Human Development Index the Democratic Republic of the Congo has a low level of human development, ranking 186 out of 187. According to the World Bank, with 80 million hectares of arable land and over 1,100 minerals and precious metals, the DRC has the potential to be one of the richest countries on the African continent and a driver of African growth.

Challenges for the New Government

The challenges facing the new government are vast. It must consolidate the peace process, rebuild the government’s administrative capacity, and restore its authority at all levels throughout the entire country, overcome corruption, insure freedom of assembly and free speech for its citizens, unify and consolidate its armed forces, and institute an impartial and credible judiciary system.

The government has developed an economic development plan for reconstruction. The success of the plan requires reform and enforcement of laws on the extraction, production, and use of the country’s natural resources. The government and its international partners must implement the independent mechanism to monitor the implementation of contracts and ensure transparent and fair management of mining resources. The country’s development cannot be achieved without political stability, accountability, and the active participation of its citizens. Nongovernmental organizations need to be strengthened and given a real voice in the future of their country.

Congolese need and deserve support to consolidate peace, construct democracy, save lives, and rebuild their country. Celebrating with the Congolese people in the rebirth of their nation, the General Conference urges United Methodists to:

  1. support the peoples and the mission of The United Methodist Church in the DRC through Advance Special giving, covenant relationship between annual conferences, and other mission funding. We also urge United Methodists and all Methodist peoples to join in prayer and solidarity for the people, leaders, and churches of the DRC;
  2. work with The United Methodist Church in the DRC and with nongovernmental organizations in rebuilding the country, its churches and seminaries, and the repatriation, resettlement, and provision of shelter for displaced persons, child soldiers, and other war victims;
  3. encourage the government of the DRC to continue to implement and move forward with reforms, including freedom of assembly and free speech; security; economic and mining; judiciary; education; and communications; and to implement an economic platform that promotes entrepreneurship and investment to help poor communities; encourages fair play; and environmental protection;
  4. encourage all parties involved in the conflict to eliminate all forms of sexual violence;
  5. request governments and international institutions to provide economic assistance for reconstruction and development and debt cancellation to the government of the DRC;
  6. engage multinational corporations, especially mining companies and neighboring countries, to respect the sovereignty and integrity of the DRC; and
  7. support the continued presence of MONUSCO, the UN peacekeeping force in the DRC, in order to neutralize militias operating in the eastern and southern regions and train Congolese security forces.

The situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is applicable to other countries in crisis in Africa.

ADOPTED 2008 AMENDED AND READOPTED 2016 RESOLUTION #6081, 2012 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS RESOLUTION #6063, 2008 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS

See Social Principles, ¶ 165A, B, D.