The Congolese Community of Australia held a rally on August 10 calling for an end to violence in the Congo. It focused on recent violence in eastern region led by the M23 Rebellion.
Patrice Neyembo, president of the Congolese Community of Australia, said: “The M23 Rebellion is not really a rebellion, it is an invasion by the Rwandan government with the backing of Western allies. The aim is to take the land and legalise the exploitation of minerals in the so-called ‘neutral’ area.”
Protesters marched from Sydney's Town Hall to the United States embassy to highlight the role the US government has played in fuelling the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
They chanted “Stop the killing, USA, stop the killing, Belgium,” and “France, killers! EU, killers!” to emphasise the role of foreign powers in the war.
The conflict in the DRC has been ongoing since 1996. Between 5 million and 9.5 million people have been killed.
The Kivus region of eastern DRC, where the M23 had a recent killing spree, contains rich mineral deposits of coltan, gold, diamonds and natural gas.
Protesters stopped outside the iMac store in Sydney's CBD and chanted “Stop this coltan war”. Coltan is a crucial mineral used in iPhones and iPads.
Neyembo said: “We are critical of the role of the United Nations. People are being killed under the watch of the UN.
“Australian mining companies are active in the hot areas of conflict in Congo, with numerous complaints raised by human rights groups for the role they play in fuelling conflict.”
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recently issued a report that found Australian mining companies were complicit in violations of human rights in the DRC, where children have been victims of evictions, land dispossession and killings.