Some 200 placard-carrying people marched through the streets of Brussels on Wednesday in protest at what they said was the "forgotten War" in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"The occupation of eastern DRC by foreign troops and the attacks against the local population perpetrated by their allies represent today the main obstacle in the way towards peace and reconstruction in DRC," the organizers said in a statement, signed by several Belgian NGOs active in central Africa.
They referred to the latest killings in Ituri District, Orientale Province, where hundreds of people were killed on 3 April in the town of Drodro. They also accused the Rwandan-backed rebels of the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD-Goma) of perpetrating "massacres, rapes and pillaging" in South Kivu, notably in Burhale and Walungu. The accusations were illustrated by Congolese testimonies.
"Belgium should condemn the renewed military presence of Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda in the DRC, and defer the human rights violators to the international [court of] justice,” the NGOs said.
They also condemned what they termed the support by the Kinshasa administration of militias in the east of the country. They pleaded for the reinforcement of the UN Mission in the DRC, MONUC, in order to help it to assume its tasks of monitoring and demobilisation of troops.
"But MONUC should also concretely deal with the protection of the Congolese population," they added.