US bishops promote rule banning Congo militia funding
By Adelaide Mena
Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace.
Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace.

.- The U.S. bishops have reiterated their support for a federal regulation that would block American investments from supporting militias in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“The rule is consistent with Catholic teaching on protection of human life and dignity,” wrote Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, to Bishop Nicolas Djomo Lola of Tshumbe, president of the bishops in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Bishop Pates, who serves as the chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace for the U.S. bishops’ conference, noted that the regulation “takes into account the lived experience of the Church in your country,” as well as that of Catholic Relief Services and other agencies in the area.

He added that the regulation “also meets our concern of providing appropriate coverage of issuers and products, and ensuring information submitted to the SEC is accurate, verifiable and easily available to investors and consumers.”

The rule, which is part of the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, requires that the Securities and Exchange Commission create restrictions preventing U.S. funds from supporting armed militias.

The regulation is currently being challenged in the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia Circuit.

The U.S. bishops’ conference voiced its support of the rule when it was first announced, which Bishop Pates noted in his letter.

He also praised the “tireless efforts” of Bishop Djomo, “along with those of your brother bishops and the entire Church community,” who have “long exemplified courageous leadership in the face of violent conflict.”

“We send our ongoing prayers as innocent people in your country suffer and die at the hands of militias who control illegal mines, divide up your country and eliminate the rule of law,” Bishop Pates wrote.

Bishop Djomo has voiced his support for the limiting of American funding to Congolese militias. During a May 2012 testimony before a U.S. Congressional committee, the African bishop voiced his support of laws promoting transparency, particularly for mining companies, to ensure that violent groups are not funded.

“The Church in the Congo trusts that the business community can and will join us to protect the life and human dignity of the Congolese people by conducting legal, transparent and accountable international commerce,” he said.

“We are confident that they do not want to be part of the misery that has plagued Eastern Congo for years.”

Tags: Violence, Africa, Congo

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