Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mapping the Congolese Conflict

From Enough, I learn that Jim McDermott (D-WA) inserted an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill that would require the U.S. government to develop a map of armed groups and mineral-rich areas of eastern Congo. Mines in areas under the control of armed groups would be designated as ‘conflict zone mines,’ and the map would be updated semi-annually.

In February, I suggested that we train an extended network of educated local people in the Kivus to report on developments in resource management and sexual violence in their area. This sort of crowd-sourcing would keep us abreast of developments in real time, contribute to local capacity building, and enable us to develop a more comprehensive and up-to-date response to crises as they occur. For example, it would speed the ability of Monuc and Fardc to respond to a local outbreak of sexual violence. Ushahidi began such an effort last year, but seems to have abandoned it, perhaps for lack of funding.

I think this would be a much better use of our money than to send expensive expatriate cartographers out every half year to produce maps that--however sophisticated--will be out of date by the time they are published. The internet and the fact that even remote areas of Congo have cell phone access make McDermott's proposal seem antiquarian.

1 comment:

  1. MJPC blames the Congolese Government for the Deteriorating Situation in East Congo(DRC)

    "There is no excuse for missing to pay salaries to soldiers in lawless eastern Congo for six months"

    Following the deteriorating situation in east Congo, the MJPC called today for the Congolese Government to urgently pay the salaries to thousands of soldiers who have not been paid for over six months in eastern Congo, take swift action to enforce the International Criminal Court's (ICC) warrant against Bosco Ntaganda and to hold accountable perpetrators of sexual violence against women for their acts.

    "Failing to hold accountable individuals who commit war crimes and crimes against humunity continues to be the leading cause of widespread and systematic sexual violence acts against girls and women in the easten Congo" said Makuba Sekombo, Community Affairs Director of the Mobilization for Justice and Peace in the DR Congo (MJPC).

    Mr. Sekombo again criticized the government of Congo for not only the continuing failure to protect women and young girls from sexual violence, but also for "encouraging conditions that create opportunities for sexual violence to occur". "There is no excuse for missing to pay salaries to soldiers in the lawless eastern Congo for six months" said Sekombo. The MJPC has also renewed its call for the Congolese government to take urgent needed action to end human rights abuses in east Congo, hold perpetrators accountable and ensure reparation for the victims of sexual violence.

    The MJPC has been urging the Congolese government to compensate the victims of sexual violence in order to also help combat impunity in eastern part of Congo where sexual violence against women and children has been widely used as weapon of war for more than decade. The MJPC online petition calling for help to put pressure on Congolese Government to compensate victims of sexual siolence in Eastern DRC can be signed at

    About MJPC
    MJPC works to add a voice in advocating for justice and peace in the DRC particulary in the east of DRC where thousands innocent civilian including children and women continue to suffer massive human rights violations while armed groups responsible for these crimes go unpunished
    For more information about the MJPC and its activities, visit or call Makuba Sekombo @ 1-408-8063-644 or e-mail: The online petition calling on the Congolese Government to put urgently in place a comprehensive program of compensation for the victims of sexual violence in eastern Congo can be signed at