Congo Watch: UK Minister for Africa Baroness Kinnock makes inaugural visit to DR Congo

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

UK Minister for Africa Baroness Kinnock makes inaugural visit to DR Congo

Here are some photos of British government minister Baroness Kinnock on her first visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as Minister for Africa.

During her visit Baroness Kinnock met with Prime Minister Muzito and other key ministers to discuss, amongst other issues, the upcoming elections in 2011.

The UK is one of the largest bilateral donors to the DRC, providing support for stabilisation in the East as well as for governance, elections and police reform.

Minister for Africa makes inaugural visit to DRC

Photo: Minister for Africa makes inaugural visit to DRC (Photo credit: UK FCO)

Visit to DR Congo

Photo: Visit to DR Congo (Photo credit: UK FCO)

Muslim community in DRC

Photo: Muslim community in DRC (Photo credit: UK FCO)

Women activists in DRC

Photo: Women activists in DRC (Photo credit: UK FCO)

Minister for Africa makes inaugural visit to DRC
From UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), Tuesday, 23 February 2010:
Baroness Kinnock makes her first visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as Minister for Africa.

Baroness Kinnock, FCO minister with responsibility for Africa, visited Kinshasa and South Kivu as part of a wider visit to the region.

During her visit Baroness Kinnock met with Prime Minister Muzito and other key ministers to discuss, amongst other issues, the upcoming elections in 2011.

Baroness Kinnock also visited a Muslim community NGO, COMICO, which focuses on capacity building for Muslim women in the DRC. This was followed by a roundtable discussion with a number of MPs and NGOs focusing on women's rights.

Speaking during her visit, Baroness Kinnock said:

'The women in the eastern region of Congo have suffered the most terrible sexual abuse and violence and they suffer from terrible psychological trauma as well as physical problems of unimaginable kind. They need to feel that there’s some justice, that there is some way of dealing with the perpetrators of that violence, and those are the kind of issues that we need to keep raising. We need to see reform of many aspects of the institutions in Congo and I think whatever efforts we can make to support them, alongside the European Union, the United Nations and others, then we’re really up for doing that.'

The Minister was hosted by the British Embassy in Kinshasa, which won ‘Team of the Year’ at the UK Civil Service Awards in 2008 for its joined up approach with the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence.

Later in the week, the Minister will travel to the east of the country, where she will visit the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC), a water and sanitation project and Panzi hospital, which specialises in treating victims of gender based violence.
Glenys Kinnock said:

'When I’m in eastern Congo I will be meeting with the army, both the Congolese army and the United Nations forces, and talking about how they intend to review the way that they see the process of moving forward in Congo.'

The UK is one of the largest bilateral donors to the DRC, providing support for stabilisation in the East as well as for governance, elections and police reform.

Further information

DRC Embassy website

Glenys Kinnock on BBC News (23 Feb 2010)

Glenys Kinnock on BBC World News (22 Feb 2010)

Lord Malloch-Brown, previous Minister for Africa, visited DRC in November 2008.

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