When the United Nations hosts a donor conference next week for the violence-racked Democratic Republic of Congo, one important country will not attend: Congo itself. The government of President Joseph Kabila has said that it will boycott the gathering, denying that his central African nation faces a humanitarian crisis at all.
The move, which took some diplomats by surprise, was another sign of the increasing isolation of the government of Mr. Kabila, who has faced internal rebellion and international criticism for holding on to power in defiance of constitutional term limits. The government’s increasingly bellicose stance comes as it has been blasting what it calls international “meddling” in the country’s politics.
The United Nations says challenges to Mr. Kabila’s rule have caused a collapse of political authority, leading to fighting that has displaced 4.5 million people and left 2 million children severely malnourished. It has declared Congo one of the world’s worst humanitarian emergencies on par with Syria and Yemen.
To respond to the crisis, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance organized the donor conference in Geneva on April 13 to make its biggest appeal yet for aid to Congo to provide emergency assistance — including food, sanitation, shelter and education — to more than 13 million people affected by the violence.
[New York Times]