It's time for us to make a real difference: I am Congo!
Ten years ago, the United Nations published the DRC Mapping Report documenting the systematic abuses in this conflict. And yet, not much has happened. We have new laws and resolutions, but we need juridical institutions to secure they are respected!
Peace is not just a word written on a piece of paper. It is a course of action..
Everyday, we read the news headlines about the world's worst atrocities. Over the years, I have followed the stories from the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo). The individual stories are devastating, and the experiences are incomprehensible. Heroes like Dr. Denis Mukwege and his team have tirelessly recounted the crimes against humanity that occur in the wake of mineral extraction. These are the very minerals that power our phones, computers, and car batteries.
Laws have been enacted, appeals have been written, and yet, little has changed. Those responsible for the crimes are rarely brought to justice, and those that are, are met with minimal consequences. Impunity is a constant. And yet, without the rule of law, there can be no peace. Many of us feel overwhelmed that no matter how loud we shout, nothing happens.
Now hope can exist! Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Mukwege Foundation and other international organizations are demanding an international war tribunal for crimes committed in the DRC.
A call for justice is spreading in the DRC and across the world. With the hashtag #IamCongo, people are signing a petition to demand that the United Nations establish a war tribunal to take those to justice who are responsible for the abuses. This conflict, ongoing since 1996, has claimed more lives than any other conflict since World War II. Over 6 000 000 dead. Sexual violence has been used systematically. The root cause of this war is the international economic interests driven by the extraction of minerals such as cobalt and coltan. These minerals are used in the manufacturing of our mobile phones, computers and car batteries.
Our voices and signatures will make this happen! A war tribunal is a fundamental step for justice and the creation of rule of law to ensure a new peaceful Congo.
Sign our petition! It can be found on the Amnesty International website.
On Thursday October 1, demonstrations will be held in Congo and will demand the end to the abuses and the establishment of an international tribunal. At the same time, #IamCongo – a world-wide digital demonstration – will support the demonstration on October 1 in the DRC.
Now – more than every – something must be done. With Dr Denis Mukwege, Nobel Peace Laureate and gynecologist, alongside survivors of the war-driven sexual abuse, we have the opportunity to focus on one of the worst conflict-affected places on earth. We all carry a piece of Congo with us, each and every day. I urge you to make the effort now, with your computer or mobile phone – the very device driving the conflict – by signing the petition.