When this Gecamines open pit copper mine in Katanga, one of the world’s largest, and others like it shut down during Congo’s civil war, Congolese continued mining for their own benefit. The miners rebelled when the company tried to expel them. State-owned Gecamines was until recently headed by Canadian Paul Fortin. – Photo: David Lewis, Reuters
- A robust political approach by the global community would entail the following prescriptions: Join Sweden and Netherlands in pressuring Rwanda to be a partner for peace and a stabilizing presence in the region. The United States and Great Britain in particular should apply more pressure on their allies Rwanda and Uganda to the point of withholding aid if necessary
- Hold to account companies and individuals through sanctions on trafficking in minerals whether with rebel groups or neighboring countries, particularly Rwanda and Uganda. Canada has chimed in as well but has been deadly silent on the exploitative practices of its mining companies in the Congo. Canada must do more to hold its mining companies accountable as is called for in Bill C-300.
- Encourage world leaders to be more engaged diplomatically and place a higher priority on what is the deadliest conflict in the world since World War II.
- Reject the militarization of the Great Lakes region represented by AFRICOM, which has already resulted in the suffering of civilian population; the strengthening of authoritarian figures such as Uganda’s Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, and Rwanda’s Kagame, who won the 2003 “elections” with 95 percent of the vote; and the restriction of political space in their countries.
- Demand that the Obama administration engage differently from its current military-laden approach and take the lead in pursuing an aggressive diplomatic path with an emphasis on pursuing a regional political framework that can lead to lasting peace and stability.