Immediate action needed to address the humanitarian crisis in Democratic Republic of the Congo

    MONTREAL, Oct. 31 /CNW Telbec/ - DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE calls for the
support of the public as it responds to the flare of violence in Eastern
Democratic Republic of the Congo. The advance of an armed group led by rebel
leader Laurent Nkunda and the ensuing fighting against government forces and
the United Nations Mission in the Congo (MONUC) has caused panic amongst
inhabitants of Goma and of the Masisi and Rutshuru territories, many of which
are already displaced from previous conflict.
    "We are extremely concerned that a lack of international action could
lead to renewed war in the region, which between 1998 and 2008 killed more
than 5 million Congolese civilians," says Serge Blais, Program Officer for the
Democratic Republic of the Congo at DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE.
    DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE is asking the Canadian government to support
international action that will maintain peace in the Congo and in the region
and protect the millions of civilians caught in the crossfire.
    In partnership with Caritas Internationalis, the organization has already
sent $50,000 for an emergency relief project aimed at providing aid items to
90,000 homeless civilians in eastern Congo.
    "Urgent action is necessary for the displaced Congolese", adds Serge
Blais. "The civilian population must be freed from the control of the armed
groups that terrorise them. An emergency international force must be rolled
out in order to ensure the protection of the civilian population and end the
threat posed by the two main militias in the country - the National Congress
for the Defence of the People and the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda."
    In its appeal, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE joins voices with the National
Episcopal Conference of the Congo and the Great Lakes Region Issue Table.
    DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE has worked with local organizations to build peace
in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1997.
    Contributions can be made by telephone (1 888 664-3387), online at, or sent by cheque (marked "Emergency: Congo") to the following

                            DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE
                  1425, René-Lévesque Blvd. West, 3rd floor
                          Montreal (Quebec) H3G 1T7

For further information:

For further information: Eleonore Fournier-Tombs, (514) 257-8711, ext.

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