S. 2125 (109th): Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act of 2006

109th Congress, 2005–2006. Text as of Dec 14, 2006 (Passed Congress/Enrolled Bill).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

S.2125

One Hundred Ninth Congress

of the

United States of America

AT THE SECOND SESSION

Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday,

the third day of January, two thousand and six

An Act

To promote relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act of 2006'.

TITLE I--BILATERAL ACTION ON ADDRESSING URGENT NEEDS IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

SEC. 101. FINDINGS.

    Congress makes the following findings:

      (1) The National Security Strategy of the United States, dated September 17, 2002, concludes that `[i]n Africa, promise and opportunity sit side-by-side with disease, war, and desperate poverty. This threatens both a core value of the United States preserving human dignity and our strategic priority combating global terror. American interests and American principles, therefore, lead in the same direction: we will work with others for an African continent that lives in liberty, peace, and growing prosperity.'.

      (2) On February 16, 2005, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency testified, `In Africa, chronic instability will continue to hamper counterterrorism efforts and pose heavy humanitarian and peacekeeping burdens.'.

      (3) According to the United States Agency for International Development, `Given its size, population, and resources, the Congo is an important player in Africa and of long-term interest to the United States.'.

      (4) The Democratic Republic of the Congo is 2,345,410 square miles (approximately 1/4 the size of the United States), lies at the heart of Africa, and touches every major region of sub-Saharan Africa. Therefore, a secure, peaceful, and prosperous Democratic Republic of the Congo would have a profound impact on progress throughout Africa.

      (5) The most recent war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which erupted in 1998, spawned some of the world's worst human rights atrocities and drew in six neighboring countries.

      (6) Despite the conclusion of a peace agreement and subsequent withdrawal of foreign forces in 2003, both the real and perceived presence of armed groups hostile to the Governments of Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi continue to serve as a major source of regional instability and an apparent pretext for continued interference in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by its neighbors.

      (7) A mortality study completed in December 2004 by the International Rescue Committee found that 31,000 people were dying monthly and 3,800,000 people had died in the previous six years because of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and resulting disintegration of the social service infrastructure, making this one of the deadliest conflicts since World War II.

      (8) In 2004, Amnesty International estimated that at least 40,000 women and girls were systematically raped and tortured in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1998, and nearly two-thirds of ongoing abuses against women and girls are perpetrated by members of the security forces, particularly the Forces Armes de la Republique Democratique du Congo (FARDC) and the Police Nationale Congolaise (PNC).

      (9) According to the Department of State, `returning one of Africa's largest countries [the Democratic Republic of the Congo] to full peace and stability will require significant United States investments in support of national elections, the reintegration of former combatants, the return and reintegration of refugees and [internally displaced persons], establishment of central government control over vast territories, and promotion of national reconciliation and good governance'.

SEC. 102. STATEMENT OF POLICY.

    It is the policy of the United States--

      (1) to help promote, reinvigorate, and support the political process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in order to press all parties in the Transitional National Government and the succeeding government to implement fully and to institutionalize mechanisms, including national and international election observers, fair and transparent voter registration procedures, and a significant civic awareness and public education campaign created for the July 30, 2006, elections and future elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to ensure that elections are carried out in a fair and democratic manner;

      (2) to urge the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to recognize and act upon its responsibilities to immediately bring discipline to its security forces, hold those individuals responsible for atrocities and other human rights violations, particularly the rape of women and girls as an act of war, accountable and bring such individuals to justice;

      (3) to help ensure that, once a stable national government is established in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it is committed to multiparty democracy, open and transparent governance, respect for human rights and religious freedom, ending the violence throughout the country, promoting peace and stability with its neighbors, rehabilitating the national judicial system and enhancing the rule of law, combating corruption, instituting economic reforms to promote development, and creating an environment to promote private investment;

      (4) to assist the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo as it seeks to meet the basic needs of its citizens, including security, safety, and access to health care, education, food, shelter, and clean drinking water;

      (5) to support security sector reform by assisting the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to establish a viable and professional national army and police force that respects human rights and the rule of law, is under effective civilian control, and possesses a viable presence throughout the entire country, provided the Democratic Republic of the Congo meets all requirements for United States military assistance under existing law;

      (6) to help expedite planning and implementation of programs associated with the disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reintegration, and rehabilitation process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

      (7) to support efforts of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), and other entities, as appropriate, to disarm, demobilize, and repatriate the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda and other illegally armed groups;

      (8) to make all efforts to ensure that the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo--

        (A) is committed to responsible and transparent management of natural resources across the country; and

        (B) takes active measures--

          (i) to promote economic development;

          (ii) to hold accountable individuals who illegally exploit the country's natural resources; and

          (iii) to implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative by enacting laws requiring disclosure and independent auditing of company payments and government receipts for natural resource extraction;

      (9) to promote a viable civil society and to enhance nongovernmental organizations and institutions, including religious organizations, the media, political parties, trade unions, and trade and business associations, that can act as a stabilizing force and effective check on the government;

      (10) to help rebuild and enhance infrastructure, communications, and other mechanisms that will increase the ability of the central government to manage internal affairs, encourage economic development, and facilitate relief efforts of humanitarian organizations;

      (11) to help halt the high prevalence of sexual abuse and violence perpetrated against women and children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and mitigate the detrimental effects from acts of this type of violence by undertaking a number of health, education, and psycho-social support programs;

      (12) to work aggressively on a bilateral basis to urge governments of countries contributing troops to the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) to enact and enforce laws on trafficking in persons and sexual abuse that meet international standards, promote codes of conduct for troops serving as part of United Nations peacekeeping missions, and immediately investigate and punish citizens who are responsible for abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

      (13) to assist the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo as undertakes steps to--

        (A) protect internally displaced persons and refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and border regions from all forms of violence, including gender-based violence and other human rights abuses;

        (B) address other basic needs of vulnerable populations with the goal of allowing these conflict-affected individuals to ultimately return to their homes; and

        (C) assess the magnitude of the problem of orphans from conflict and HIV/AIDS in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and work to establish a program of national support;

      (14) to engage with governments working to promote peace and security throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo and hold accountable individuals, entities, and countries working to destabilize the country; and

      (15) to promote appropriate use of the forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in a manner that benefits the rural population in that country that depends on the forests for their livelihoods and protects national and environmental interests.

SEC. 103. BILATERAL ASSISTANCE TO THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO.

    (a) Funding for Fiscal Years 2006 and 2007- Of the amounts made available to carry out the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151 et seq.), the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954 (68 Stat. 454, chapter 469), and the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2751 et seq.) for fiscal year 2006 and 2007, at least $52,000,000 for each such fiscal year should be allocated for bilateral assistance programs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    (b) Future Year Funding- It is the sense of Congress that the Department of State should submit budget requests in fiscal years 2008 and 2009 that contain increases in bilateral assistance for the Democratic Republic of the Congo that are appropriate if progress is being made, particularly cooperation by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, toward accomplishing the policy objectives described in section 102.

    (c) Coordination With Other Donor Nations- The United States should work with other donor nations, on a bilateral and multilateral basis, to increase international contributions to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and accomplish the policy objectives described in section 102.

SEC. 104. ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO.

    (a) Sense of Congress- It is the sense of Congress that--

      (1) the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo must be committed to achieving the policy objectives described in section 102 if the efforts of the United States and other members of the international community are to be effective in bringing relief, security, and democracy to the country;

      (2) the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo should immediately exercise control over and discipline its armed forces, stop the mass rapes at the hands of its armed forces, and hold those responsible for these acts accountable before an appropriate tribunal;

      (3) the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in collaboration with international aid agencies, should establish expert teams to assess the needs of the victims of rape and provide health, counseling, and social support services that such victims need; and

      (4) the international community, through the United Nations peacekeeping mission, humanitarian and development relief, and other forms of assistance, is providing a substantial amount of funding that is giving the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo an opportunity to make progress towards accomplishing the policy objectives described in section 102, but this assistance cannot continue in perpetuity.

    (b) Termination of Assistance- It is the sense of Congress that the Secretary of State should withhold assistance otherwise available under this Act if the Secretary determines that the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is not making sufficient progress towards accomplishing the policy objectives described in section 102.

SEC. 105. WITHHOLDING OF ASSISTANCE.

    The Secretary of State is authorized to withhold assistance made available under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151 et seq.), other than humanitarian, peacekeeping, and counterterrorism assistance, for a foreign country if the Secretary determines that the government of the foreign country is taking actions to destabilize the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

SEC. 106. REPORT ON PROGRESS TOWARD ACCOMPLISHING POLICY OBJECTIVES.

    (a) Report Required- Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to Congress a report on the progress made toward accomplishing the policy objectives described in section 102.

    (b) Contents- The report required under subsection (a) shall include--

      (1) a description of any major impediments that prevent the accomplishment of the policy objectives described in section 102, including any destabilizing activities undertaken in the Democratic Republic of Congo by governments of neighboring countries;

      (2) an evaluation of United States policies and foreign assistance programs designed to accomplish such policy objectives; and

      (3) recommendations for--

        (A) improving the policies and programs referred to in paragraph (2); and

        (B) any additional bilateral or multilateral actions necessary to promote peace and prosperity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

SEC. 107. SPECIAL ENVOY FOR THE GREAT LAKES REGION.

    Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President should appoint a Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region to help coordinate efforts to resolve the instability and insecurity in Eastern Congo.

TITLE II--MULTILATERAL ACTIONS TO ADDRESS URGENT NEEDS IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

SEC. 201. PROMOTION OF UNITED STATES POLICY TOWARD THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO IN THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL.

    The United States should use its voice and vote in the United Nations Security Council--

      (1) to address exploitation at the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) by continuing to urge, when credible allegations exist, appropriate investigation of alleged perpetrators and, as necessary, prosecution of United Nations personnel responsible for sexual abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

      (2) to conclude at the earliest possible date a Memorandum of Understanding relating to binding codes of conduct and programs for the prevention of sexual abuse and trafficking in persons to be undertaken by the United Nations for all countries that contribute troops to MONUC, to include the assumption of personal liability for the provision of victims assistance and child support, as appropriate, by those who violate the codes of conduct;

      (3) to strengthen the authority and capacity of MONUC by--

        (A) providing specific authority and obligation to prevent and effectively counter imminent threats;

        (B) clarifying and strengthening MONUC's rules of engagement to enhance the protection of vulnerable civilian populations;

        (C) enhancing the surveillance and intelligence-gathering capabilities available to MONUC;

        (D) where consistent with United States policy, making available personnel, communications, and military assets that improve the effectiveness of robust peacekeeping, mobility, and command and control capabilities of MONUC; and

        (E) providing MONUC with the authority and resources needed to effectively monitor arms trafficking and natural resource exploitation at key border posts and airfields in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

      (4) to encourage regular visits of the United Nations Security Council to monitor the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

      (5) to ensure that the practice of recruiting and arming children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is immediately halted pursuant to Security Council Resolutions 1460 (2003) and 1539 (2004);

      (6) to strengthen the arms embargo imposed pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1493 (2003) and ensure that violators are held accountable through appropriate measures, including the possible imposition of sanctions;

      (7) to allow for the more effective protection and monitoring of natural resources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, especially in the eastern part of the country, and for public disclosure and independent auditing of natural resource revenues to help ensure transparent and accountable management of these revenues;

      (8) to press countries in the Congo region to help facilitate an end to the violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and promote relief, security, and democracy throughout the region; and

      (9) to encourage the United Nations Secretary-General to become more involved in completing the policy objectives described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of section 102 and ensure that recent fighting in North Kivu, which displaced over 150,000 people, as well as fighting in Ituri and other areas, does not create widespread instability throughout the country.

SEC. 202. INCREASING CONTRIBUTIONS AND OTHER HUMANITARIAN AND DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE THROUGH INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS.

    (a) In General- The President should instruct the United States permanent representative or executive director, as the case may be, to the United Nations voluntary agencies, including the World Food Program, the United Nations Development Program, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and other appropriate international organizations to use the voice and vote of the United States to support additional humanitarian and development assistance for the Democratic Republic of the Congo in order to accomplish the policy objectives described in section 102.

    (b) Support Contingent on Progress- If the Secretary of State determines that the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is not making sufficient progress towards accomplishing the policy objectives described in section 102, the President shall consider withdrawing United States support for the assistance described in subsection (a) when future funding decisions are considered.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Vice President of the United States and

President of the Senate.