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Government is ‘failing Africa’: CEN 11.16.07 p 7. November 17, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of the Congo, Arms Control/Defense/Peace Issues, Church of England Newspaper, House of Lords, NGOs.

bishop-of-winchester_p6_1_.jpgThe Bishop of Winchester has lambasted the government for backing away from its commitments toward Africa. Bishop Michael Scott-Joynt told the House of Lords on Nov 7 his ears were “cocked for one word in particular-Africa-but cocked in vain,” as he listened to the Queen’s speech.

Bishop Scott-Joynt urged the government to turn its attention towards the Congo and address the on-going instability in the Great Lakes Region of East Africa.

He asked the government what it was doing to ensure land reform, the demobilization of militias, and the support of nascent democratic institutions. Why would it not “funnel aid through church-based organisations? How [did] the Government view the contemporary scramble for Africa by China and a range of Islamic states?”, he asked.

He asked the government to tell Parliament who was funding the wars across the region, “because it would be good to get to the bottom of the matter.”

“Who is running the Great Lakes region,” Bishop Scott-Joynt demanded to know.

“Human rights abuses and impunity from them” were the rule in the Congo, he said. While there had been great strides in democratic reform, the “the place is very little better,” he said.

“There is a crying need for the accountability of the justice and police systems to be worked at and, if security sector reform is not given priority, there will be no peace and security within Congo or along and across its borders, no containing of pillage of mineral resources, and no working at good relationships with the countries of the Great Lakes region,” Bishop Scott-Joynt argued.

He asked the government where had “gone the front-line commitment-the concentration of the last Prime Minister and the present one when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, on the Commission for Africa?”

It had been fobbed off “to a thing called the Africa Partnership Forum, whose latest report the Government have not thought worth bringing to Parliament,” Bishop Scott-Joynt said.

Stability and nation-building in the Great Lakes Region was a matter “of deepest urgency” he said, urging the government to honor its commitments to the people of Africa.

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