Koenders: "The international community must not be allowed to forget Congo"

Development minister Bert Koenders, currently on a visit to the DRC, has responded to an urgent appeal from the UN by allocating an extra €9.5 million to the UN emergency aid fund for refugees in eastern Congo.

The UN had only half the funds it needed for its emergency action plan in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). "The international community must not be allowed to forget Congo," the Minister said. New fighting in the eastern Congo has displaced 300,000 people, and Mr Koenders is urging that every possible effort be made to put an end to this situation.

On 28 September he will pay a working visit to North Kivu, where he will speak with representatives of the UN peace mission (MONUC), aid agencies and local authorities, and will visit a refugee camp. The visit has also included talks on illegal logging, which is rampant. The Minister believes that much greater attention should be paid to this issue and to the extremely poor working conditions of loggers.