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X. Conclusion

Gold has been a critical factor in human rights abuses in northeastern DRC.  War crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights abuses have been committed by armed groups seeking to control gold mines or key customs posts in Congo.  While the international community acknowledged that natural resource exploitation played a central role in exacerbating the conflict, minimal steps have been taken to stop it. Continued fighting in eastern Congo has been a stark reminder of the fragility of the peace process.  It risks failure unless attention is focused on the underlying causes of the conflict and serious attempts made to cut the links between conflict and natural resource extraction.  The re-engagement of multinational companies needs to promote peace and respect for human rights, not work against it.  The DRC government, its neighbours, the U.N., international donors and the private sector need to work together to stop the trade in illegal smuggled gold and other resources.  Working in collaboration they need to ensure no support of any kind is provided to armed groups responsible for serious human rights crimes.   Congolese citizens deserve to benefit from the country’s rich resources, not be cursed by them.

<<previous  |  index  |  next>>June 2005