Yesterday the U.N. Security Council renewed the arms embargo and associated sanctions for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and further expanded the remit of the Group of Experts tasked with monitoring the embargo and researching the role of natural resources in the conflict “to include the creation of recommendations on due-diligence guidelines for the purchase, sourcing, acquisition and processing of mineral products from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
This is all well and good, but is hardly the sort of strong action that ought to follow from the damning evidence provided to the Security Council in the latest U.N. Experts report, as well as its many predecessors. Per William Wallis in the Financial Times: “the will to act is absent, as evidenced by the speed with which the panel’s findings are buried each year and the regularity with which the same offenders reappear.” Given the newfound enthusiasm to take on Congo’s crisis in the Obama administration, we should hope for much stronger action from the United States and its partners, with strong action against the individuals, companies, and governments found to be trading in conflict minerals and violating the arms embargo, but also support for the critical steps that need to be taken on the ground in eastern Congo to clean up the trade.
Photo: United Nations headquarters (AP)