A Call for Solidarity With Congo

Paying her children's primary school fees is made possible by her bread sales at the Ikengo Saturday Market
Paying her children's primary school fees is made possible by her bread sales at the Ikengo Saturday Market

“You may consider your vote for this resolution as an expression of solidarity with the mother  who walks 50 miles each week to buy the flour to make bread she sells every Saturday at the Ikengo market to pay her children’s school fees.  Vote yes and then prepare to remember Congo with your congregation during Congo week the third week of October this year.” 

 These words concluded my statement of support for the following resolution passed with no opposition at the Disciples’ General Assembly in Nashville this week. We pray that this resolution, our commemoration of Congo Week each year and our advocacy on behalf of trade for Congo resources that truly benefits the Congolese people will assure Congolese who would stand for political and social change of our concern, our support and our solidarity. May this resolution be followed by many other acts declaring  “we are with you” to the people of Congo who have dug the coltan, the diamonds, the copper, the uranium, the cobalt and other metals and minerals that have been essential to the U.S..space program, our weapons systems, and more recently have become essential components of our household electronics and cell phone equipment.

 

NO. 1117

(SENSE-OF-THE-ASSEMBLY)

A CALL FOR REFLECTION AND ADVOCACY ON BEHALF OF THE

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

WHEREAS, the mission of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) declares its

passion for justice grounded in Micah 6:8 as declared in our vision statement: “to

be a faithful, growing church that demonstrates true community, deep Christian

spirituality and a passion for justice.”

WHEREAS, in Matthew 25:40 Jesus teaches moral responsibility in the reign of

God is strongest for those most in need, saying “just as you did it to one of the

least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me”; and

WHEREAS, throughout the past two centuries, for the Christian Church (Disciples

of Christ), global presence and witness have been a gift of God’s mission through

the church; and

WHEREAS, our international commerce and public affairs should be governed

by an obligation to ensure the common good, and to resist policies and practices

that do injustice and violence to others; and

WHEREAS, Global Ministries has encouraged congregations to recognize “Congo

Week,” (an initiative created by Friends of the Congo) the third week in October, in

their respective annual worship calendars as a week of commemoration for the

millions of victims of the scramble for Congo’s resources and a stand for justice in

solidarity with the people of the Congo; and

WHEREAS, the Community of Disciples of Christ in Congo (CDCC), in what today

is the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), formerly known as Zaire, was

founded in 1889 and has been related to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

in the U.S. and Canada since its inception; and

WHEREAS, the 62 protestant denominations united under the ecumenical

umbrella of the Church of Christ in the Congo have consistently decried the brutal

and unmitigated exploitation of the Congo’s immense mineral resources; and

WHEREAS, since the advent of Congolese independence on June 30, 1960, the

continued greed of global corporations for precious and strategic raw materials

from the Congo and failure of the international community to respond to the

documented human rights abuses of Congolese victims has contributed to the

failure of the Congo state;i and

WHEREAS, the series of invasions of the Congo by proxy states Rwanda and

Uganda that commenced in 1996 have facilitated unfettered access to Congolese

natural resources by international corporations and their collaborators in the

Congo; have not only undermined democratic advancements, but have also cost

the lives of an estimated 6,000,000 Congolese; have subjected up to a half million

Congolese women and girls to rape, including sexual mutilation by multiple armies

from Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi; and have increased dramatically the

incidence for HIV/AIDS among women and girls, thus creating a health time bomb

with dire consequences for the Congo; and

WHEREAS, an estimated 45,000 Congolese reportedly perish monthly in Eastern

Congo as a direct or indirect result of the militarization of mines by elite networks of

militia supported by business interests in the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, and the

industrialized world, at the detriment of Congolese socio-economic development

and liberation; and

WHEREAS, these criminal behaviors are orchestrated and maintained by those

seeking to profit from unfettered access to Congolese strategic natural resources

(notably coltan, cobalt, tungsten, cassiterite, in addition to diamonds, gold, copper,

uranium, oil, timber), in order to benefit mostly private wealth in industrialized

nations, yet subjugating the Congolese people, despite the wealth of their natural

resources, to poverty, suffering, slave labor, and human trafficking;ii and

WHEREAS, the response of the international community, including the United

Nations, has demonstrated a double standard in the application of international

justice because of financial greed and disregard for the value of Congolese

people;iii and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the General Assembly of the Christian

Church (Disciples of Christ), meeting in Nashville, TN July 9-13, 2011 encourages

all expressions of the church to pray, reflect, educate and advocate on behalf of

sisters and brothers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that our church encourage the development of

legislation such as the Conflict Minerals Law 20101 approved by the U.S. Congress

and the Trade in Conflict Minerals Act introduced to the Canadian Parliament in

2010 requiring manufacturers to trace the source of minerals used in the

production of consumer electronics for the purpose of developing a conflict-free

mineral supply chain and more ethical mining practices, most particularly in the

Democratic Republic of Congo; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that individuals and ministries of the church choose

products that are labeled “DRC conflict free” when purchasing electronic products,

once such labeling begins2; and

1 The current law, generally referred to as the “Conflict Minerals Law”, was included as Section 1502 of

the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed by the US Senate on May 20,

2010 and signed by President Barack Obama on July 21, 2010.

2 The current legislation is expected to take effect in 2012.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Global Ministries continue to identify

resources for all expressions of the church on the matter of the exploitation of

people in the extraction of the mineral wealth of the Congo; and

FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED that all expressions of the church work with Global

Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of

Christ to carry out advocacy and education across the globe for the Congo.

Division of Overseas Ministries

[A resolution of the Common Global Ministries Board, through the Division of Overseas

Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to the General Assembly in 2011. A

similar resolution has been submitted to the General Synod of the United Church of Christ

in 2011.]

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