“DRC: Breaking the Links between Natural Resources and Conflict”
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL (25TH SESSION) SIDE EVENT
21 March 2014, from 12:00 to 14:00, Room XXI, Palais de Nations, Geneva
Following requests from members and partners of CCIG, in view of the upcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for the Democratic Republic of the Congo in April 2014, CCIG will support an initiative to hold a side event in conjunction with other Civil Society members and permanent missions to the UN to help ensure that the UPR of the DRC will be a fruitful occasion to improve the human rights situation in the country. The side event is titled, “DRC: Breaking the Links between Natural Resources and Conflict” and will be held on 21 March 2014 during the 25th session of the Human Rights Council. The event is co-sponsored by the EU Delegation to the UN, Permanent Mission of Belgium, Permanent Mission of Germany, Permanent Mission of Switzerland, Permanent Mission of the United States of America in addition to OMCT, International Commission of Jurists, Amnesty International, Centre for Civil and Political Rights, Caritas Genève, CCIG, Fastenopfer, Food for the Hungry – Switzerland, Lutheran World Federation and World YWCA.
The event will be an open space for discussion and advocacy to ensure that the issue of so-called ‘conflict minerals’ and its impact on the enjoyment of human rights of the local population will be subject to specific recommendations by Member States during the upcoming UPR session. As stressed by local human rights defenders, the exploitation of natural resources leads to significant socioeconomic, security, environmental and cultural impacts on communities affected by extractive industries. For roughly 20 years, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has faced wars and conflicts that have caused the killings of civilians and other massive human rights abuses; these crimes are still being committed. The cycle of violence and lack of security in the DRC is multi-factorial: among the relevant factors, the illegal involvement of armed groups in the exploitation and trade of natural resources has been acknowledged and well documented as a key factor. This phenomenon of “conflict minerals” has been focused on by several UN Security Council resolutions since 2004 and has been repeatedly addressed at the Human Rights Council.
Following this initiative, another future side event will be organized during the 19th Session of the UPR (28th April – 9th May 2014) in order to engage in a constructive dialogue with the Democratic Republic of the Congo to envisage concrete measures to implement the recommendations made by State Members of the UPR Working Group.