From the PC(USA) Office of Public Witness
Go to http://capwiz.com/pcusa/issues/alert/?alertid=62675381 to send a message.
The Presbyterian Church in the United States has a long history with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In 1891 the church sent two young Presbyterian ministers—one African American from Virginia, Rev. William Sheppard, and the other white, Rev. Samuel Lapsley from Alabama. They formed what is known as the Presbyterian Church of the Congo, which currently exceeds 2 million Congolese members, almost equal to the total membership of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
The humanitarian and military crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo makes the DRC one of the most volatile places in Africa. Since the previous war in the late 1990s an estimated 5 million people have died and in the recent crisis caused by armed groups an estimated 2.4 million Congolese were internationally displaced and nearly 500,000 sought refuge in DRC's neighboring countries.
Armed militias including the Congolese army (FARDC) have engaged in human rights violations, including acts of sexual and gender-based violence and the recruitment of children as child soldiers. It is said that in the DRC sexual violence rates are among the highest in the world. To mitigate the ongoing and prolonged crisis in the DRC, a number of issues must be addressed, including important security sector reforms and confronting the high levels of insecurity found throughout the country. Such concerns include low levels of political will to address a weak military, police and judicial system as well as end rampant impunity throughout the country.
The United States Congress can take a leadership role to help end the violence in the DRC. We are at a crucial time for the DRC. With a new peace accord signed and rebel warlord Bosco Ntaganda at the International Criminal Court, there is a real opportunity to bring peace to the region. Yet without action the daily reports of violence will not end. These resolutions, S. Res 144 and H. Res 131, are important first steps toward the United States comprehensively addressing the conflict in the DRC by recognizing and resolving the underlying problems that allow it to persist.
Contact your members of congress today and ask them to become co-sponsors of this important legislation!
Go to http://capwiz.com/pcusa/issues/alert/?alertid=62675381 to send a message today!