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Democratic Republic of Congo: Armed Conflict

Volume 457: debated on Thursday 8 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations her Department has made to the United Nations on resolving the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and what estimate she has made of the impact this conflict has had on numbers of people seeking asylum from that country within the United Kingdom. (125846)

Our embassy in Kinshasa works closely with MONUC (UN peacekeeping force) and the UN Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), William Swing. We also work closely with the UN in New York in our efforts to achieving durable peace in the DRC. I met William Swing on 2 March in London to discuss the situation in the DRC, as did my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development, and officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Development and Ministry of Defence.

We welcome the progress made in bringing peace and stability to the DRC following recent democratic elections. But we remain concerned by pockets of ongoing conflict in eastern DRC. We continue to encourage MONUC to act robustly against militia groups who threaten the civilian population and support their current mandate and troop strength to do this.

We are aware that conflict can cause people to leave their countries and claim asylum elsewhere. The number of people from the DRC claiming asylum in the UK has fallen since the country began to stabilise in 2003.