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Special Reports

Congo’s bishops criticise West for failing to stop plundering of resources

Congo’s Catholic bishops have criticised the failure of Western governments to stop the abuse of Africa’s natural resources and urged Church groups to follow the Pope’s call to mobilise.

“It is our profound conviction that exploiting these resources can contribute to improving our population’s conditions of life,” the bishops’ commission for natural resources said in a statement in late September.

The commission said “awareness by the major polluting countries comes nowhere near to any concrete commitment, or to the efforts required in countries whose forests provide the lungs for conserving the world’s bio-diversity”.

The statement, issued last week in Kinshasa, said experts on mining, hydrocarbons, forestry and environmental protection had all stressed an urgent need to combat the “illegal, clandestine, irrational and irresponsible exploitation” of Congo region’s resources.

“The fact is that these resources are being exploited without responsibility, and that this now constitutes an increasingly serious menace to our common home, environment and planet,” the commission said.

Western firms have been accused of working with violent groups in the DRC and other countries to obtain minerals used for producing mobile phones, laptops and other consumer objects. They also have been accused of allowing trade in resources to perpetuate human rights violations.

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