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DR of Congo: UN panel on illegal exploitation of resources gets new 6-month mandate

DR of Congo: UN panel on illegal exploitation of resources gets new 6-month mandate

The United Nations Security Council today unanimously decided to ask for a new six-month mandate for a panel of experts investigating the illegal exploitation of natural resources and other forms of wealth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

In adopting resolution 1457, the Council asked the panel to recommend measures that could be taken to ensure that the DRC’s resources are legally extracted, on a fair commercial basis to benefit the Congolese people.

The panel was also asked to review and analyze previous information in order to verify, reinforce and update its findings, and/or clear parties named in its previous reports, with a view to adjusting the lists of those involved in illegal activities.

The panel should also include information about steps taken by governments in response to its previous recommendations, including information on how capacity building and reforms in the region are affecting exploitation activities.

In the panel’s last report, released in October 2002, the experts said that a ban on the export of raw materials originating from the DRC would be counterproductive, and recommended that punitive measures be taken to curb the illegal exploitation of the country's natural resources by criminal organizations and persons.

The experts also suggested that financial restrictions be placed on 29 companies based in the DRC, Belgium, Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe and South Africa, and that a travel ban and financial restrictions be imposed on 54 persons, including senior officials in the DRC, Zimbabwe and other countries in the region.