Position of Group of civil society NGOs working for the protection of the environment in the Democratic Republic of Congo to KIMIA Mining; a Chinese company and illegal mining exploitation in protected area (Okapi Wildlife Reserve (RFO) a UNESCO world heritage site.
TO ACT IN FAVOR OF A FAIR AND TRANSPARENT JUSTICE, RESPECTFUL OF THE LEGAL TEXTS AND OF THE COMMITMENTS OF THE DRC ON THE PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE (CFR THE FILE (RP 1499/021) WHICH OPPOSES THE ICCN TO THE CHINESE COMPANY KIMIA MI-NING)
We, members of the civil society gathered in the ” group of ONG working in environmental protection and conservation in DR Congo”, have the distinguished respect to come to you to express what the object is resumed in margin and that in virtue of the article 53 of the constitution which recognizes to every person the right and the duty to defend its environment.
Indeed, the above mentioned file is pending before your jurisdiction and was recently called in public hearing on August 4, the civil society took its time to attend the previous hearings and is obliged to fulfill its civic duty by communicating the following points:
A. Its concern about the determination and self-sacrifice that animates the Chinese mining company KIMIA MINING based in Bunia/Ituri DRC. Held by the Chinese who seek at all costs to exploit minerals within the legally recognized limits of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to endangered species of primates and birds, and about 5,000 okapi, out of 30,000 living in the wild; moreover a protected area (see Article 2. 1, 39 of the law on nature conservation); while such activity is strictly prohibited by the legal texts in force in the DRC, hereinafter:
Article 25 of Law No. 14- 003 of February 11, 2014 on nature conservation which states that: “Any activity incompatible with the objectives of conservation is prohibited in protected areas. Subject to the exemptions provided for in this law, any right granted within the boundaries of protected areas and their buffer zones is null and void.”
Article 33 of Law N° 11- 009 of July 09, 2011 on the fundamental principles of environmental protection which stipulates that: “Any activity likely to harm the environment is prohibited in protected areas as well as in prohibited zones. Any right granted within the limits of the areas and zones referred to in paragraph 1 is void.
Article 6 paragraph 5 of Law No. 18/001 of March 09, 2018 amending and supplementing Law No. 007/2002 of July 11, 2002 on the Mining Code, which states that: “No mining or quarrying rights may be granted in a protected area nor may an artisanal exploitation zone be erected there.”
B. With regard to the international commitments of the DRC and the policy advocated by the Head of State; let us point out that the Democratic Republic of Congo has committed itself to devote more than 15% of its national territory to protected areas and to date this quota has not yet been reached, hence the need for all to act in the sense of seeing this percentage be reached. By doing so, you will be supporting the policy of promoting the protection of the environment as advocated by His Excellency the President of the Republic, Head of State.
C. What about the membership of the village of Muchacha in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve (RFO)?
Environmental civil society remains convinced that this village is an integral part of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, as supported by the Officer of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the experts of the ICCN. Thus, any mining operation maintained there is illegal and harmful because it is likely to cause incalculable damage to the ecosystems of the RFO and especially to corrupt and discharge toxic supplies into the waters of this reserve by disturbing the natural habitat of
several species of fauna and flora, hence the importance of discouraging any initiative that would tend to promote mining in this part.
In view of the above, the actors of the Civil Society formulate the following recommendations:
1. To the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of the Environment and Sustainable Development in the DRC, to get involved by raising this issue in the Council of Ministers in order to remind the Minister of Mines of the terms of the law and the urgency of withdrawing the authorization given to the Chinese company Kimia Mining, and to cease issuing any mining authorizations on spaces intended for reserves and protected areas in the DRC.
2. To the Minister of Mines to be kind enough to voluntarily withdraw the decree that authorizes mining in a protected area and that gives rise to a conflict of competences between Ministries that could have been avoided by simply respecting the legal texts of the Republic.
3. To the President of the Garrison Court to confirm the seizure of these gold ingots which sufficiently testify to the mafia organized by certain institutions in the flight of national capital and heritage of our generations abroad and to order the immediate prohibition of any mining activity in the space reserved for the RFO. This is to comply with the above- mentioned legal provisions.
In any case, the actors of the environmental civil society will consider any attempt to render a judgment that would be impossible to give in favor of Kimia Chinese Mining as a way of denying and trampling underfoot the national legal texts protecting the environment in the DRC, as well as the international conventions such as the UNESCO Convention for the world site heritage. And also to call into question all the speeches and programs made so far in favor of the protection of the environment and which advocate the respect of the commitments of the DRC on its contribution in the efforts of the fight against the climate change and the preservation of the biodiversity. It would be sad to see the Salonga National Park removed from the list of endangered heritage at the same time that the Congolese justice system is endangering another of its exceptional sites, threatened by illegal mineral exploitation. Moreover, this would be tantamount to supporting the exploitation of non-standard ore mines by companies of Chinese origin, which are currently being singled out throughout the country, as well as the non-respect of environmental standards, particularly deforestation and the disruption and pollution of watercourse regimes, which in the short and medium term affects the health of local communities and indigenous peoples living in these forest areas of the DRC.
Please accept, Mr. President of the Tribunal Militaries of Garrison, the expression of our patriotic sentiments.
To the Presidency of the Republic with our most deferential tributes;
To His Excellency the Prime Minister;
To His Excellency the Vice Prime Minister and Minister in charge of Environment and Sustainable Development in Kinshasa;
To her Excellency the Minister of State in charge of Justice and Keeper of the Seals in Kinshasa;
To His Excellency the Minister in charge of Mines;
To His Excellency the Governor of the Province of Ituri in Bunia;
To the First President of the Ituri Court of Appeal and President of the Ituri High Council of the Judiciary in Bunia; To the First President of the Ituri Military Court in Bunia
To the Director General of ICCN in Kinshasa;
To the Environment Commission of the National Assembly;
To the Representative of the Diplomatic Delegation of the Republic of China in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Kinshasa;
To the Director of the BCN: National Central Bureau at Interpol Kinshasa Done in Kinshasa on 05 August 2021.