Over 5.4 million dead. Over 2 million displaced. Congo is home to the deadliest conflict since World War II.
The war in eastern Congo began in the early 1990’s and continues to this day. It encompassed two international wars — from 1996 to 1997 and 1998 to 2003 — and multiple invasions from neighboring countries, with combatants from many armed groups, both foreign and domestic. While Congo has abundant natural resources, it is also the world’s poorest country per capita, according to the United Nations. Congo is also home to the largest and most expensive U.N. peacekeeping mission in the world, MONUSCO, which has more than 20,000 personnel and an annual budget of $1.4 billion. The eastern part of the country is plagued by instability, as militias continue to wreak havoc on the population. Meanwhile, the conflict gets very little coverage by the international media.
The conflict in Congo is notorious for serious violations of human rights, including violence against women and the use of child soldiers. Since 1996 the International Rescue Committee has calculated that approximately 5.4 million people have died from war-related causes. In 2012 Congo ranked lowest on the United Nations Human Developement Index. The UN deployed its largest peacekeeping force in the effort to ease and protect people with limited success. The world’s interest in the rich natural resources of the Congo and the schemes to obtain this wealth, in spite of the cost in human lives, has resulted in rampant suffering.
With your help, People to People Liaison stands with the Congolese people to provide a hopeful pathway for those who have suffered so much.
All refugees face the same set of problems: unsanitary conditions, inadequate health care, insufficient food, and poor or non-existent shelter. Children particularly are unable to resist common childhood diseases because of the unsanitary conditions and poor nutrition. Numbers of children have lost contact with their parents and are living with relatives because they do not know the whereabouts of their parents – or even whether their parents are alive. The people with whom PTPL partners live with all these problems every day.
Where PTPL works
The town of Uvira (circled in the map below) is the primary area served by PTPL. Uvira has grown enormously with displaced people fleeing violence in the countryside to find refuge in the town. Uvira is close to Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania, where they has been a great deal of violence. Our founders, Mimi and Baim, come from a village in this region.
Learn more about the conflict in the Congo
The following books are excellent sources for people interested in learning the basic history of the Congo and the conflict there. Click the titles to visit Amazon.
- The African Stakes of the Congo War
- The Troubled Heart of Africa: A History of the Congo
by Robert Edgerton
- The Congo: From Leopold to Kabila: A People’s History
by Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja
- Infra: Photographs by Richard Mosse
by Richard Mosse and Adam Hochschild
- King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
by Adam Hochschild
- The Democratic Republic of Congo: Between Hope and Despair (African Arguments)
by Michael Deibert
Websites of Interest