By Patricia Kisare
This year our work on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) focused on two critical areas. One focus was addressing the conflict and humanitarian crisis in eastern Congo. The second was conflict minerals, working to ensure that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued implementing regulations on the conflict minerals law, passed by Congress in 2010. The law requires U.S. companies to disclose whether they have sourced minerals from the DRC or its neighboring countries. These regulations are meant to ensure Congo’s mineral trade does not fund militia groups responsible for violence in eastern Congo.
In March we hosted a delegation from the Church of Christ in Congo (ECC), an association of 65 Protestant churches with whom MCC works in Congo. The delegation met with policymakers in Congress and at the State Department and discussed ways the U.S. government can help resolve the conflict in eastern Congo. They urged policymakers to support local peace initiatives and victims of the conflict. In addition to meetings, the delegation also spoke at a roundtable for non-governmental organizations sponsored by the MCC Washington Office.
The conflict in eastern Congo is complex and cannot be solved by the U.S. government alone. However, it can play a greater diplomatic role by bringing together regional governments and belligerent groups to work out a plan that will bring lasting peace. This process must be honest, persistent and impartial if the conflict in eastern Congo is to ever be resolved.