Democratic Republic of Congo

Reference: World Without Genocide

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Since 1996, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC; Congo) has been embroiled in violence that has killed as many as 5.4 million people. The conflict has been the world’s bloodiest since World War II. The First and Second Congo Wars, which sparked the violence, involved multiple foreign armies and investors from Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Chad, Libya and Sudan, among others, and has been so devastating that it is sometimes called the “African World War.”

Fighting continues in the eastern parts of the country, destroying infrastructure, causing physical and psychological damage to civilians, and creating human rights violations on a mass scale. Rape is being used as a weapon of war, and large-scale plunder and murder are also occurring as part of efforts to displace people on resource-rich land.

Today, most of the fighting is taking place in North and South Kivu, on the DRC/Rwanda border. Some fighting is political, resulting from unrest caused by Hutu refugees from the Rwandan genocide now living in DRC, while other fighting results from an international demand for natural resources. DRC has large quantities of gold, copper, diamonds, and coltan (a mineral used in cell phones), which many parties desire to control for monetary reasons. However, money from the sales of these resources has not reached average citizens. Currently the education, healthcare, legal, and road systems are in shambles.

The DRC, formerly known as Zaire, is located in Central Africa. To the north, it is bordered by the Central African Republic and Sudan; to the east, by Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania; and to the south by Zambia and Angola. The capital city, Kinshasa, is located in the far western area of the country. DRC covers about 905,000 square miles and has a population of 63 million people.

Although citizens of the DRC are among the poorest in the world, having the second lowest GDP per capita globally, the country is widely considered to be the richest country in the world regarding natural resources, with untapped deposits of raw minerals estimated to be worth in excess of US$ 24 trillion.


To read the full text of the article, please visit the World Without Genocide site at: