Text: H.Res.131 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (03/21/2013)


113th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. RES. 131

Concerning the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the need for international efforts toward long-term peace, stability, and observance of human rights.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
March 21, 2013

Ms. Bass (for herself, Mr. Smith of New Jersey, Mr. Meeks, Mr. Sires, Mr. Connolly, Mr. Deutch, Mr. Keating, Mr. Cicilline, Mr. Vargas, Mr. Lowenthal, Mr. McGovern, Mr. McDermott, Mr. Rangel, Mr. Smith of Washington, Mr. Johnson of Georgia, Ms. Lee of California, Mr. Lewis, Mr. Moran, Ms. Norton, Mr. Payne, Mr. Rush, Mr. Takano, Mrs. Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, Mr. Honda, Ms. Edwards, Mrs. Beatty, Mr. Capuano, Mr. Cleaver, Mrs. Christensen, Mr. Danny K. Davis of Illinois, Ms. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, Ms. Wilson of Florida, Mr. David Scott of Georgia, Mr. Hastings of Florida, Mr. Clyburn, Mr. Veasey, Mr. Thompson of Mississippi, Mr. Watt, Ms. Schakowsky, Ms. Speier, Ms. Jackson Lee, Ms. Hahn, Ms. Fudge, Ms. Moore, Mr. Ellison, Ms. Clarke, Mr. Larsen of Washington, Mr. Scott of Virginia, Ms. Waters, and Mr. Bishop of Georgia) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs


RESOLUTION

Concerning the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the need for international efforts toward long-term peace, stability, and observance of human rights.

Whereas since the 1990s, an estimated 5,000,000 people have died and more than 2,000,000 people have been displaced due to repeated cycles of conflict and atrocities, particularly those in North and South Kivu provinces;

Whereas the United Nations and humanitarian groups have reported staggering rates of sexual violence indicating tens of thousands of cases perpetrated by the Congolese army and armed groups, including the M23 and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, which continue to operate with nearly total impunity;

Whereas human rights defenders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been subject to intimidation and attack;

Whereas the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s wealth of natural resources, including minerals and high-value wildlife products such as elephant ivory, have been a key driver of insurrection and violence, and the discovery and exploitation of oil could motivate further conflict;

Whereas the deeply flawed November 2011 elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo laid bare significant political, economic, and social challenges;

Whereas the Democratic Republic of the Congo is home to one of the world’s longest enduring and most expensive international peacekeeping operations;

Whereas the November 20, 2012, seizure of the city of Goma by the M23 rebel group, despite bilateral and multilateral efforts to address longstanding humanitarian crises, forge lasting peace, and pursue security sector reform and accountability, demonstrates that the underlying causes of the recurring conflicts in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo remain unresolved;

Whereas on November 15, 2012, the United Nations Group of Experts provided compelling evidence, in report findings corroborated by the United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in testimony before the United States House of Representatives on December 11, 2012, and December 19, 2012, that the M23 crisis is fueled and exacerbated by the Government of Rwanda, including through Rwandan Government provision of significant military and logistical assistance, and of operational and political guidance and support, to the M23; and

Whereas the United Nations and United States have imposed sanctions on the M23 and its leaders for human rights atrocities including rape, massacres, and the recruitment and physical and psychological torture of child soldiers: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) asserts that the region’s leaders and the international community should break the cycle of violence and impunity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and surrounding region and urgently address the root causes of the M23 conflict and previous crises;

(2) calls on the signatories of the February 24, 2013, Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region to abide by the provisions outlined in the framework agreement in addition to ensuring that those troops being re-integrated into the Congolese army are not those accused of human rights violations;

(3) calls on governments of the Great Lakes region of Africa to respect the national security and territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and to immediately halt and prevent any and all forms of support to the M23 and other non-state armed groups, including any support provided by individuals independently of government policy;

(4) recognizes the recent efforts by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to end the recruitment of children into the armed forces and demands the immediate cessation of the recruitment and exploitation of children by militias, and further calls on all armed groups to free children and other civilians held against their will;

(5) calls on the Obama Administration, in close coordination with international and regional partners, to mobilize a comprehensive response to prevent further deterioration of regional peace and stability and to ensure that life-saving humanitarian assistance be unhindered and provided to populations in need, particularly displaced persons and conflict-affected communities;

(6) acknowledges the good work of the United States Special Advisor on the Great Lakes and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and finds that the challenges of helping to resolve the cycle of violence and impunity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo requires higher-level United States diplomatic and political engagement;

(7) requests that Secretary of State John Kerry demonstrate the high-level concern that the United States attaches to ensuring stability and security in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by appointing a Special Envoy who will help lead the United States and international efforts to end the M23 conflict and secure permanent peace, stability, and safety for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

(8) calls on all nations to increase cooperation in order to cease the trade of illegal goods, including poached ivory and conflict minerals, that continues to fuel violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

(9) calls on the Obama Administration, including the Atrocities Prevention Board, in close coordination with international and regional partners, to develop and make actionable recommendations to address, prevent, and ensure accountability for serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses by all actors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including by fully implementing sanctions outlined in section 1284 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, notwithstanding transactions that are customary, necessary, and incidental to the provision of critical, life-saving aid to civilian populations, and the policy goals set out under the Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act of 2006, introduced by then-Senator Barack Obama;

(10) urges the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with close support from the international community, to investigate and prosecute those who have committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, and violations of international humanitarian law and human rights, including those against women and children;

(11) calls on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to meaningfully engage in electoral reforms, in addition to security sector reforms to prevent militia combatants, particularly M23 members, accused of abuses from integrating into the military, and to host inclusive inter-Congolese dialogues to address critical internal political issues and strengthen processes of state institution building in the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

(12) urges the Obama Administration to address alleged support for militias operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from foreign governments or entities;

(13) acknowledges the United Nations’ appointment of the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa; and

(14) urges the United Nations Security Council to lead efforts to reinforce and strengthen the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and its capacity to protect civilians, including preventing any future M23 advances on Goma, as evidenced by the temporary seizure of Goma and other areas, and to support measures to strengthen the ability of MONUSCO to help ensure peace and security in the future.