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Cablegate: Codel Durbin Visit to Goma, Drc

VZCZCXRO0582
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0232/01 0540708
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 230706Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0233
INFO RWANDA COLLECTIVE
SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/USAID WASHDC 0035
RUEHLGB/AMEMBASSY KIGALI 0001
RUEHOU/AMEMBASSY OUAGADOUGOU 0004
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 000232

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
PASS TO AF/C, H, PRM

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREF ECON CG
SUBJECT: CODEL DURBIN VISIT TO GOMA, DRC

1. (SBU) Summary: Senators Richard Durbin and Sherrod Brown
traveled to Goma, DRC from February 15-16, 2010. The Senators,
accompanied by Ms. Connie Schultz (wife of Senator Brown) and four
staff members, visited an IDP camp, a hospital specialized in
treating victims of sexual violence, and met with MONUC
representatives, as well as a cross section of international and
national NGO and civil society members. Press coverage of the
visit highlighted Senator Durbin's call for Congolese, Rwandan, and
international efforts to address ongoing insecurity related to the
FDLR presence in eastern DRC. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Responding in part to recent reporting from New York
Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, Senator Durbin and Senator Brown
visited Goma, DRC from February 15-16, 2010. CODEL Durbin's first
stop was the Mugunga 3 internally displaced persons (IDP) camp on
the outskirts of Goma. The delegation met with camp leaders,
visited health, water/sanitation and livelihoods facilities, and
discussed areas of concern with staff of UNHCR and NGOs providing
services in the camp. Multiple IDP interlocutors told the Senators
that their areas of origin, primarily Walikale, Rutshuru, and
Masisi territories, continued to be highly insecure, with the camp
president saying she "would never return."

3. (SBU) CODEL Durbin also visited the Heal Africa hospital, where
they received a tour of the USG-supported facilities, as well as a
briefing on efforts to combat and respond to sexual violence by
Heal Africa, as well as the American Bar Association, which
maintains an office at the hospital to legally pursue cases of
rape.

4. (SBU) In briefings with the acting head of Eastern Coordination
for the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC),
Spyros Demetriou, and other MONUC officials, CODEL Durbin were
informed of the location and activities of the remaining
non-integrated Congolese armed groups as well as the LRA and FDLR,
originating from Uganda and Rwanda respectively. MONUC briefed on
the transition from Kimia II to Amani Leo operations to be planned
jointly by the FARDC and MONUC, including the conditionality
provisions requiring MONUC to cease support for any Congolese
forces engaging in Human Rights violations.

5. (SBU) The delegation met with a cross-section of Congolese
civil society, as well as representatives of the international
humanitarian community in a roundtable at the USG Office in Goma.
Participants included Justine Bihamba (Synergie des Femmes),
Immaculee Ibirhaheka, Promotion et appui aux Initiatives Feminines
(PAIF), Delly Mawazo Sesete, Centre de Recherche sur
l'Environnement, la Democratie et les Droits de l'Homme (CREDDHO),
Alois Tegera, Pole Institute, Ulrika Blom-Mondlane, Norwegian
Refugee Council, Esteban Saccoe, Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs, and081 988 Edem Blege, Civil Affairs
Coordinator, North Kivu Brigade HQ, MONUC. Discussion focused on
the role of mineral exploitation in conflict in eastern Congo,
sexual violence, as well as challenges to humanitarian response.
Senator Durbin sought views on how to prevent illegal exploitation
of minerals by focusing on companies marketing products containing
these "blood minerals" in the United States. A recurring theme was
the weakness, or absence of the Congolese state and its inability
to provide security or other basic services to populations in
eastern DRC.

6. (SBU) In a breakfast meeting with Human Rights Watch (HRW)
researchers Anneke Van Woudenberg and Ida Sawyer, CODEL Durbin
pressed for recommendations on concrete action the USG could take
to limit the extensive human rights abuses that have marked recent
MONUC-supported FARDC military operations in the Kivus. Van
Woundenberg and Sawyer pushed for the USG to pressure the GDRC to
arrest CNDP-leader and ICC-indictee Bosco Ntaganda, and to ensure
that MONUC strictly applied its policy of conditionality under
Amani Leo. HRW passed the Senators a letter naming fifteen FARDC

KINSHASA 00000232 002 OF 002


commanders with records of gross human rights violations that the
organization had sent to MONUC and the FARDC with the hopes of
preventing their participation in Amani Leo operations.

7. (SBU) From human rights, the Senators were able to also raise
animal rights concerns with two organizations working on primate
conservation, the Jane Goodall Institute and the Diane Fossey
Gorilla Fund International (both USAID-funded). CODEL Durbin
visited the offices of the latter organization, where orphaned
gorillas rescued from poachers were being raised in enclosures in
downtown Goma.

8. (SBU) Press Coverage: Senator Durbin gave interviews to the
Goma-based AFP stringer, who traveled with the delegation to
Mugunga 3 IDP camp and Heal Africa, and to a journalist with
UN-supported Radio Okapi. Press coverage of the visit highlighted
Senator Durbin's call for Congolese, Rwandan, and international
efforts to address ongoing insecurity related to the FDLR presence
in eastern DRC and his suggestion that the Government of Rwanda
publish the names of FDLR fighters accused of violating human
rights.

9. (U) CODEL Durbin has cleared this cable.
GARVELINK

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