News / Africa

Rights Groups in DRC Want a National Peace Dialogue

Roger Lumbala (R), a former member of parliament in the Democratic Republic of Congo who joined the M23 rebel group, chats with colleagues shortly after attending a peace talk meeting in Uganda's capital Kampala, January 11, 2013.Roger Lumbala (R), a former member of parliament in the Democratic Republic of Congo who joined the M23 rebel group, chats with colleagues shortly after attending a peace talk meeting in Uganda's capital Kampala, January 11, 2013.
x
Roger Lumbala (R), a former member of parliament in the Democratic Republic of Congo who joined the M23 rebel group, chats with colleagues shortly after attending a peace talk meeting in Uganda's capital Kampala, January 11, 2013.
Roger Lumbala (R), a former member of parliament in the Democratic Republic of Congo who joined the M23 rebel group, chats with colleagues shortly after attending a peace talk meeting in Uganda's capital Kampala, January 11, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Nick Long
— Human rights activists in the Democratic Republic of Congo have called for an immediate halt to the negotiations in Kampala, Uganda, between the DRC government and the M23 rebels. Two of the DRC's leading rights groups say they want a national dialogue to replace the talks.   
 
DRC opposition and community groups have criticized the negotiations since they began last month. They say the talks do not include all segments of the population and that Uganda is not a good place to hold them.
 
A joint declaration by the DRC rights groups The Voice of the Voiceless and ASADHO (The African Association for the Defense of Human Rights) is another sign that many Congolese think the Kampala talks lack credibility.
 
These are two highly respected organizations - last year French President Francois Hollande inaugurated a foundation in honor of The Voice of The Voiceless's late president, Floribert Chebeya, whose murder in 2010 is still being investigated.
 
The Voice of the Voiceless spokesman Rostin Manketa says that since the elections in November 2011, the Congolese have been very divided. He says to cope with the problems that have arisen, including the emergence of the M23 and aggression from neighboring countries, the Congolese need to unite and sit around a table to discuss fundamental issues.
 
In their declaration, which was issued Thursday, the two organizations called for a national dialogue to be held in DRC. But Manketa said other venues could be considered.
 
The Voice of the Voiceless and ASADHO also say the M23 militants must lay down their arms and withdraw from all the parts of the country they control. It's important, Manketa says, that no one should gain power in the DRC by violence.
 
DRC President Joseph Kabila spoke last month about a plan for a national consultation involving the opposition and civil society, aimed at reinforcing national unity.
 
The government invited opposition and civic groups to the talks in Kampala, but very few such groups are there.
 
The parties to the Kampala negotiations have so far agreed on an agenda but not much else. This week the international rights organization Human Rights Watch said the talks had made little progress.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid