Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Democratic Republic of Congo

Delivered in Plenary - 20th November 2008

Madam President

In 1994 the West turned its head while genocide occurred in Rwanda. The same could now happen in eastern Congo. The immediate priority is humanitarian, but beyond that there is a delicate and tangled political mess to sort out. This is partly because the international community not only washed its hands of the genocide in Rwanda, but allowed the Hutu génocidaires to flee to eastern Congo where President Kabila did little to rein in the militias, to the disgust of Kigali and the local Tutsis.

The UN and the AU must now take the lead in addressing the immediate political and security issues at stake, but we should also recognise that the competition for natural resources is behind funding much of this bloodshed. China is a serious player in the region but has little interest in the human rights of Africa.

The Commission should examine whether a certification process for minerals and other resources could be applied now in Africa in the same way that the successful Kimberley Process has worked so well with the diamond industry over blood diamonds or conflict diamonds. I therefore voted in favour of this resolution.