xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement

Justice in the Congo

It took the March murder of two United Nations experts to make the world aware of the continuing crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo ("2 suspects face trial soon in deaths of UN experts in Congo," May 20). More than 1 million people, mostly women and children, fled their homes because of the continuing armed conflict between the Congolese military and militia groups. On May 10, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated $64.5 million was needed to assist 731,000 extremely vulnerable people.

We work with an organization, Butoke, which operates schools, a health clinic and supports orphans in the Kasai region. Their experience provides a personal dimension to the crisis. They were forced to leave their base in Tshiakaji because of widespread violence. They faced food shortages and difficult travel. Their school was ordered closed by a militia group. Thirteen final year students were scheduled to take their final state exams, but one was killed, five fled to their homes for safety and only seven sat for the exam. Twenty-seven extended family members of Butoke's chief nurse were massacred by the Tshiokwe militia.

Advertisement

DRC has a long and troubled history. The current crisis was exasperated by President Joseph Kabila's refusal to step down after two terms as required by law. President Kabila did not schedule elections for his replacement in 2016, and elections have yet to be scheduled. Certainly, a first step is to schedule new presidential elections. This is a small step but not an easy one given the chaotic conditions in the country. A second small step is targeted sanctions against President Kabila and his close supporters to prevent transfer of funds outside of the DRC. Similar measures had some success with other illegitimate rulers.

Democratic Republic of the Congo's continuing crisis will not be resolved unless awareness of the crisis is followed by concrete action.

Advertisement

Ted and Joyce Kruse, Baltimore

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement