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Democratic Republic of Congo - A New Beginning (80647-GM-R9999)

Add new resolution to the Book of Resolutions as follows:  
“Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise”. Isaiah 60:18  
The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have not seen peace since its independence in 1960. Decades of a corrupt dictatorial government, backed by the U.S. and other western powers, and war have been their history.  A war over the country’s vast resources involving nine countries broke out in 1998.  It is estimated that 4 million died, largely from disease and hunger, or have disappeared without a trace.  The war is one of the bloodiest in modern times.  
After more than three years of a transitional government, the Congolese people elected a President, Joseph Kabila, and a National Assembly in 2006.  The new administration is the first elected in over 40 years.  The DRC has a new constitution and the security in parts of the country has improved dramatically.  The elections and regional security are milestones in the restoration of stability in the Congo and a new beginning for the country.  
We pray for the rebirth of the nation and end to war and conflict.  

Life for the Congolese People  
  
The majority of the people live in poverty, despite the country’s vast natural resources.  Only 20% of the population has access to safe water, 70% has little or no access to healthcare, 16 million have critical food needs, and the country has the highest infant mortality rates in Africa. Almost no social services are provided to the population by the government.  The conflict has caused the displacement of millions of people.  Children have experienced extreme hardships – lifelong physical and psychological harm – due to the war. Each year, more children die in DRC than in China (a country with 23 times the population), and than in all the Latin American countries combined according to 2006 UNICEF report. The DRC has approximately $12 billion in foreign debt, most of which was incurred by the corrupt government of President Mobutu Sese Seko, a corrupt dictator.  
Challenges for the New Government  
The challenges facing the new government are vast.  It must consolidate the peace process, rebuild the government’s administrative capacity and restore its authority at all levels throughout the entire country, unify and consolidate its armed forces, and institute an impartial and credible judiciary system.    The government has developed a five-year economic development plan for  

reconstruction. The success of the plan requires reform of laws on the extraction, production and use of the country’s natural resources.  The government and its international partners should set up an independent mechanism to monitor the implementation of contracts, and ensure transparent and fair management of mining resources.  
The country’s development cannot be achieved without the active participation of its citizens. Non-governmental organizations need to be strengthened and given a real voice in the future of their country.    
Congolese need and deserve support to consolidate peace, construct democracy, save lives, and rebuild their country.  Celebrating with the Congolese people in the rebirth of their nation, the General Conference:  

1. Urges agencies and members of The United Methodist Church world wide to work  with The United Methodist Church in the DRC and with non-governmental organizations in rebuilding the country, its churches and seminaries, and the repatriation, resettlement and provision of shelter for displaced persons, child soldiers and other war victims  
2. Urges the government of the DRC to move forward with reforms:  security, economic and mining, judiciary, education, and communications  
3. Urges governments and international institutions to provide economic assistance for reconstruction and development and debt cancellation to the government of the DRC  
  
4. Urges multinational corporations, especially mining companies, and neighboring countries to respect the sovereignty and integrity of the DRC  
  
5. Supports the continued presence of MONUC, the UN peacekeeping force in the DRC.