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Urgent action needed to curb multinationals’ role in destabilising eastern DR Congo

MEPs gathered in the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday to debate the deteriorating situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), amidst renewed violence, massacres and widespread human rights abuses in the past month, which threaten to destabilise the already-troubled nation further.

Elections are scheduled for later this year with incumbent President Joseph Kabila’s decision to extend his term in office, a major flashpoint for the continuing instability.  

Opening the debate for GUE/NGL, Galician MEP Lidia Senra says the EU must do more to halt the killings and that multinationals must be held accountable for this cycle of violence:

“Once again in this parliament, we have to talk about the dire situation in DRC.”

“The African Union must conduct inquiries into the roles of EU multinationals’ and their conduct in infringing upon the social-environmental rights of the locals. They must also examine the links and financing of armed groups which continue to exploit the natural resources in the country,” she added.

“The UN estimates that 2 per cent of annual profits from these resources help finance these armed groups which are complicit in these massacres.”

“We therefore need to curb the multinationals’ activities – the contracts and petitions process – whilst not forgetting food sovereignty and debt cancellation are absolutely essential for the people of the DRC to meet their most basic needs,” Senra concluded.

Echoing those sentiments, French MEP Marie-Christine Vergiat described the current situation eastern DR Congo as ‘desperate’:

“For many years now, the DRC has been in dire straits with armed groups, poverty, massacres, destabilisation, ethnic conflicts and the resources up for grabs by multinationals.”

“It’s a genocide they’re facing and the UN recognised this in 2010 – one of the longest in history. And the rise of violence last month shows that nothing is being settled yet.”

“So when is the international community going to act?”

“We bear a heavy responsibility to bring stability to the country. Yes, we need independent enquiries but we must also examine the role of MONUSCO (The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC).”

“We need to put an end to the financing of armed groups and blood minerals – the situation is now desperate,” she pled in her closing argument.