CPT has begun a three-month project based
in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) city of Goma.
A team of four CPTers arrived in Goma December 6. The Goma human
rights organization Groupe Martin Luther King invited CPT to join
them in their work of promoting nonviolence and conflict resolution,
monitoring human rights, and providing a peaceful presence in the
conflict zone and in camps for internally displaced persons.
A resource-rich country, DRC contains large reserves
of gold and diamonds, along with tin and coltan used in the
electronics industry. The current conflict in the DRC is a
resource war, complicated by civil war and the previous genocide in
neighbouring Rwanda, which spilled across the border into the DRC.
A peace agreement brokered among several armed groups
in eastern DRC broke down in September. Recent fighting among
Laurent Nkunda’s militia, the Congolese army, UN peacekeepers and
other armed groups has killed additional people and displaced tens of
thousands around Goma. Emergency food and material aid
deliveries have been complicated by ongoing battles north of Goma.
Over five million people have died in the DRC from
the armed conflict over the last ten years. Armed groups have
used rape systematically against tens of thousands of women, leaving
them traumatized, injured or dead, and decimating family and social
structures. Media in the global north have reported little
about this violence or the role of foreign extractive industries in
fueling the conflict.
The initial field team consists of Cliff Kindy (North
Manchester, IN), Wendy Lehman (Chicago, IL), Rosemarie Milazzo
(Maryknoll, NY), and Jane MacKay Wright (Providence Bay, ON).
Doug Pritchard (Toronto, ON) is the Africa Great Lakes Project
Support Coordinator. This project follows three previous
short-term CPT delegations to the region in 2005-2007.