Friends of the Congo

8,107 supporters

Background
The Friends of the Congo (FOTC) is a 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt advocacy organization based in Washington, DC. The FOTC was established at the behest of Congolese human rights and grassroots institutions in 2004, to work together to bring about peaceful and lasting change in the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire.

The Friends of the Congo is led by people of African ancestry and others of goodwill. We believe that with strong support from friends of the Congo throughout the globe , the vast human and natural resource potential of the Democratic Republic of Congo can serve as an instrument to meet the enormous needs of the people of Congo and Africa.

Mission
• Work with Congolese institutions from diverse sectors of the society who are working on behalf of and in the interest of the masses of Congolese.
• Provide opportunities to help develop and reconstruct the Congo.
• Work to elevate the quality of life of the people of the Congo and by extension African peoples throughout Africa and the globe.

Vision
The ultimate vision of the FOTC is to see a strong vibrant Congo where the Congolese control their own destiny and utilize their country's vast resources as an engine for their own development and that of Africa and the African diaspora.

Become A Friend of the Congo
BREAK the silence
STOP
the pillaging
PROMOTE Justice
DEFEND the women and children
PROTECT the environment
SUPPORT
the people

You can become a friend of the Congo by visiting our website (www.friendsofthecongo.org) or calling our office at 202-584-6512 or 1-888-584-6510.

Started 4 petitions

Petitioning Moussa Faki Mahamat, Dr. Solomon Ayele Dersso, Stephane Dujarric, Mercedes Garcia Perez, Donald Yamamoto, Southern African Development Community

Demande de la justice aux civils congolais brutalisés par le régime de Kabila

Le Comité de Coordination des Laïcs de l'Église Catholique Chrétienne en République Démocratique du Congo (RDC) a appelé à une marche nationale pour la paix et la justice le dimanche 31 décembre 2017. Groupes de la société civile, toutes catégories de paroissiens catholiques, formations de jeunes, leaders religieux, et l'opposition politique a répondu à l'appel et a rejoint la marche, par milliers, conformément à la constitution de la RDC. L'objectif principal de cette marche pacifique était d'exiger que Joseph Kabila, qui a dépassé son mandat constitutionnel expiré le 19 décembre 2016, déclare qu'il ne se présentera pas aux prochaines élections. En outre, les manifestants ont appelé à la libération inconditionnelle des prisonniers politiques, au retour des personnalités politiques exilées, à l'ouverture des médias qui ont été fermés, ainsi qu'à un certain nombre d'autres revendications pour finalement apaiser le climat politique tendu en RDC. Les marcheurs pacifiques ont été confrontés à la force meurtrière du gouvernement congolais, représenté par la police, les agents des services secrets en civil et surtout l'armée. Avant même le début de la marche, dans la nuit du 30 décembre, le gouvernement a mis des camions pleins de soldats dans les rues des villes clés, en particulier la capitale, Kinshasa. La plupart des soldats étaient positionnés devant les églises à partir de 21h30 le samedi soir. Le gouvernement a également mis en place des barrages routiers et des points de contrôle dans toute la ville et, dans certains cas, placé des verrous sur les portes des églises pour que les paroissiens ne puissent pas entrer ou quitter les paroisses dimanche après la messe. En outre, le gouvernement a ordonné aux sociétés de télécommunication et / ou aux fournisseurs de services de fermer l'ensemble de la connexion Internet et des services SMS. Certains leaders de jeunes ont déjà été ciblés par la mobilisation des médias sociaux et arrêtés dans la soirée du 30 décembre. Dimanche 31 décembre, le régime de Kabila a déclenché un barrage brutal de force brute et nue. Les paroissiens marchants et chantant paisiblement et en priant, ont rencontré des matraques, du gaz lacrymogène tiré à l'intérieur des églises, des grenades assourdissantes, des balles réelles. Les paroissiens âgés, en particulier les femmes, ont été laissés en larmes, meurtris et traumatisés. Douze garçons d'autels ont été arrêtés, et les pasteurs ont été battus et emprisonnés. La brutalité et la démonstration massive de la force ainsi que la violence insensée contre des civils non armés laissaient peu de doute que les populations locales étaient prises en otage par l'occupation par un régime militaire cruel, illégal et illégitime. Selon les organisateurs de la marche (Le comité de coordination des laïcs), environ une douzaine de vies ont été perdues, plusieurs dizaines ont été emprisonnées et plusieurs centaines ont été battues et plusieurs autres ont été blessées. Ces chiffres donnent un aperçu de ce qui s'est passé dimanche 31 décembre 2017 en RDC: "Nous ne pouvons que dénoncer, condamner et stigmatiser les actions des prétendus vaillants hommes en uniforme, qui ne sont malheureusement rien de plus, rien de moins que de la barbarie" Laurent Monsengwo, archevêque de Kinshasa "Kabila et ses acolytes ont, une fois de plus, montré au monde qu'ils ne sont que des criminels sanguinaires qui n'ont ni la crainte de Dieu ni le sacré". Martin Fayulu, politicien de l'opposition "Comment cela peut-il venir et tirer sur les gens, c'est incroyable, nous sommes venus ici pour prier, pour prier pour notre nation" Serge Mutumbo, participant à la marche "Nous avons affronté les soldats (surtout les étrangers) qui nous méprisaient, nous fouettaient, nous donnaient des coups de pied et tiraient à balles réelles, c'était terrible, mais Dieu nous a protégés." Participant à la marche "Nous sommes venus à la maison de notre Seigneur pour prier et demander la paix en RDC, mais nous avons été attaqués à l'intérieur et soumis à la violence" a pleuré une vieille femme congolaise tenant sa Bible à la main Le président de la Commission de l'Union africaine, Moussa Faki Mahamat, a déclaré qu'il "déplorait profondément la perte de vies humaines pendant la marche" et "appelle à se concentrer sur toute la force excessive exercée par les forces de sécurité pour que les coupables puissent ". Rejoignez-nous en exigeant:1. Une enquête internationale sur la répression violente de civils non armés.2. Les auteurs du régime de Kabila doivent être tenus responsables et traduits en justice.3. La pression maximale exercée par les instances internationales (Union Africaine et Nations Unies) sur le régime de Kabila pour mettre un terme à la répression des civils congolais qui exercent leur droit constitutionnel de se rassembler et de manifester pacifiquement.

Friends of the Congo
14 supporters
Petitioning Moussa Faki Mahamat, Dr. Solomon Ayele Dersso, Southern African Development Community, Mercedes Garcia Perez, Donald Yamamoto, Stephane Dujarric

Demand Justice For Congolese Civilians Brutalized by the Kabila Regime

The Lay Coordinating Committee of the Christian Catholic Church in The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) called for a national march for peace and justice on Sunday, December 31st 2017. Civil society groups, all categories of catholic parishioners, youth formations, faith leaders, and the political opposition responded to the call and joined the march, in their thousands, accordingly with the DRC constitution. The primary objective of this peaceful march was to demand that Joseph Kabila - who has overstayed his constitutional mandate, which expired on December 19, 2016 - to declare that he will not run in the next elections. In addition, the marchers called for the unconditional release of political prisoners, the return of exiled political figures, opening of media that have been shuttered, along with a number of other demands to ultimately ease the tense political climate in the DRC. The peaceful marchers were met with lethal force from the Congolese government, represented by the police, secret service agents in civil clothes and mostly the army. Before even the march started, on the night of December 30th December, the government put trucks full of soldiers in the streets in key cities, especially the capital, Kinshasa. Most of the soldiers were positioned in front of the churches from 21h30 on Saturday night . The government also set-up roadblocks and checkpoints throughout the city and in some instances placed locks on church doors so that parishioners could not gain entry or leave the parishes on Sunday after the mass. In addition, the government ordered the telecommunication companies and/or service providers to shut down the entire Internet connection and SMS services. Some youth leaders were already targeted through social media mobilization and arrested on the evening of December 30th. On Sunday, December 31st, the Kabila regime unleashed a brutal barrage of raw, naked force. Parishioners marching and singing peacefully as well as praying, were met with batons, tear gas fired inside churches, stun grenades, live bullets. Elderly parishioners, particularly women, were left in tears, bruised and traumatized. Twelve altar boys were arrested, and pastors were beaten and jailed. The brutality and massive demonstration of force as well as sheer senseless violence against unarmed civilians left little doubt that grassroots populations are being held hostage under occupation by a cruel, illegal and illegitimate military regime. According to the organizers of the march (The Lay Coordinating Committee) about a dozen lives were lost, several dozens were jailed and several hundred were beaten and more were injured. These figures provide a glimpse into what transpired on Sunday the 31st December 2017 in the DRC: “We can only denounce, condemn and stigmatize the actions of the supposedly valiant men in uniform, which are, unfortunately, nothing more, nothing less than barbarism” Lauernt Monsengwo, Archbishop of Kinshasa "Kabila and his henchmen have, once again, shown to the world that they are nothing but bloodthirsty criminals who have neither the fear of God nor the sacred." Martin Fayulu, Opposition Politician"How can this be they are coming and shooting on people, it is unbelievable. We have come here to pray, to pray for our nation" Serge Mutumbo, March participant "We confronted the soldiers (especially foreigners) who despised us, whipped us, kicked us and fired live ammunition. It was terrible, but God protected us." March Participant "We came to the house of our Lord with respect to pray and ask for peace in the DRC, however we were attacked inside and subjected to violence" cried an elderly Congolese woman holding her Bible in her hand. The President of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat said he "deeply deplores the loss of human life during the march" and "calls for a focus on all the excess force carried out by the security forces so that the perpetrators can be held accountable." Join us in demanding:1. An international investigation into the violent repression of unarmed civilians2. Perpetrators from the Kabila regime be held accountable and brought to justice3. Maximum pressure by international bodies (African Union and United Nations) to be placed on the Kabila regime to cease repression of Congolese civilians who exercise their constitutional right to assemble and demonstrate peacefully.

Friends of the Congo
4,045 supporters
Victory
Petitioning Eduardo Castro-Wright, Vice Chairman, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

STOP YOUR OFFENSIVE AND PREJUDICED CONGO AD

On August 9th, 2011, Walmart released an ad for its Back-to-School campaign series titled “Urgent Care.” The video, originally posted on their Walmart YouTube channel, features three teenage boys communicating by smart phone to identify an unknown skin condition. As part of his diagnosis, the boy using Web MD as a medical reference asks the one with symptoms if he has “been in the Congo recently” while simultaneously browsing a page on “Leprosy.” When the answer is “no” he responds: “Okay, well it still might be contagious. I think maybe you should call 911.” The commercial is only 30 seconds long, but, in its brevity, it manages to misinform viewers, entrench negative stereotypes, and endorse a cavalier attitude about the conditions of serious struggle in the Congo. Many mobilizing a global response to this ad. Facebook Group started on August 22 to protest Walmart has already garnered more the 2000 members, most of them Congolese, who are calling the ad an “insult,” “offensive,” and “utterly inappropriate.” The Congolese community is demanding that the corporation take responsibility for this ad by: 1. Remove the “Urgent Care” ad from all forms of media circulation (TV networks, web, etc.), 2. Issue a press release delivering a public apology to the Congolese people about the ad, and 3. Educate and sensitize a.) Walmart's staff (especially the Marketing Department who approved the release of this ad) and b.) Walmart's customers by providing teaching materials that explain the situation in the Congo and what Walmart is doing to practice responsible sourcing as it relates to the Congo’s mineral resources. Eyewitness reports confirm that the commercial has been airing on tv from Houston to New York City, so the problem is not limited to internet exposure. A simple retraction is not likely to satisfy those who recognize the seriousness of such public misinformation. Corporations like Walmart need to understand that the American public will not support companies who promote aggressive forms of ignorance, especially when it comes to an unreported conflict in the world. Congolese and activists everywhere await an official response from Walmart that acknowledges this serious offense and explains how the company will answer demands for taking responsibility.

Friends of the Congo
378 supporters
Victory
Petitioning Secretary of State, US Congress and President of the United States

Secretary of State John Kerry, Help End the Conflict in the Congo

Take Action! Let Secretary of State Kerry know you want US to change its policy in the Congo.The Democratic Republic of the Congo, located in the heart of Africa and vital to the future of the African continent, has experienced the deadliest conflict in the world since World War Two. An estimated six million lives have been lost since 1996 when U.S. allies Rwanda and Uganda first invaded the Congo. Both countries invaded the Congo again in 1998 and continue to sponsor proxy rebel groups inside the Congo resulting in tremendous suffering on the part of the civilian population.Recognizing the destructive role that Rwanda and Uganda have played in the Congo, as Senator, Barack Obama sponsored a bill that was co-sponsored by Senator Hillary Clinton, called the Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security and Democracy Promotion Act, Public Law 109-456. Although the bill was signed into law by President Bush in 2006, very little has been done to implement the law. There is a key provision in Section 105 of that law that if implemented could play a constructive role in addressing the current instability and conflict in the east of Congo, which has displaced over 100,000 Congolese since March.Section 105 says "The Secretary of State is authorized to withhold assistance made available under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151 et seq.), other than humanitarian, peacekeeping, and counter terrorism assistance, for a foreign country if the Secretary determines that the government of the foreign country is taking actions to destabilize the Democratic Republic of the Congo."  Click here to take action.  

Friends of the Congo
3,670 supporters