Congolese Humiliation Has 'Reached Its Peak'

Bishops Plead for Fair Distribution of Natural Resources

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KINSHASA, Congo, NOV. 27, 2012 ( Bishop Bernard Kasanda of Mbuji-Mayi in the Democratic Republic of Congo says it is impossible to «get an idea of the magnitude of what’s happening on the spot» in eastern Congo, where the M23 rebels took over the city of Goma a week ago. «Personal dignity is being trodden underfoot and the humiliation of the Congolese people has reached its peak,» the bishop said.

The Congolese prelate spoke with Aid to the Church in Need about the violence in his country, saying the international community is fueling the conflict. He was critical of the United Nations, which itself published a report Nov. 21 accusing Rwanda and Uganda of backing M23, though both countries deny this.

The violence is «causing again a major human tragedy,» lamented a group of bishops from 34 African countries gathered in Kinshasa last week for a meeting about the work of Caritas on the continent. 

The bishops released a statement Nov. 22, saying the territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of Congo «must be protected and respected by all.»

«We are aware of the contribution of the exploitation of natural resources to this situation, and we therefore urge a fair, just and transparent exploitation of natural resources and distribution of the proceeds of such an activity to benefit all,» they added.

The statement offered this appeal: «In communion with the bishops of the Congo who have frequently taken position on this situation, we launch a pressing appeal to the UN, the AU, the EU, the DRC government and the governments of the other countries involved in some way in this war, as well as to multinational companies in the extractive sector. May they, once and for all, address the causes of this recurrent violence through promoting dialogue in an honest and transparent manner so as to find, urgently, a fair and concerted solution, able to put an end to the suffering of the civilian populations of the Eastern DRC; thus avoiding plunging them into despair and violence. 

«The perpetrators of such violence and destruction should be brought to justice.»

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