A Taste of Congolese Classical Music
Sound of Congo presented the Congo Classical Concert, a special holiday event celebrating Congolese art and classical music. We would like to thank everyone who joined Sound of Congo during this historical cultural event in the Washington DC metropolitan area.
Congo Week Atlanta and Rome
Students, professors and community activists in Atlanta, Georgia and Rome, Italy who were not able to organize Congo Week during the third week of October (the traditional week for organizing Congo Week) hosted their events in late October and early November.
James Katshingu   and  Christian Lumu Lukusa  were kidnapped by unidentified security forces in Limete, Kinshasa. Their family and friends have not been informed of their whereabouts since Wednesday, November 22, 2017.

Both young men are active youth leaders of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS). The UDPS is the main party of an opposition coalition calling for President Joseph Kabila to step down by the end of the year.


On the same day, Jean-Marc Kabund, the Secretary General of the UDPS was detained by immigration services at Ndjili airport. His passport was confiscated by the Director-General of Migrations (DGM) “without just cause”. Kabund was headed to Spain for a Socialist International meeting.

Quatrieme Voie coordinator, Jean-Marie Kalonji and his lawyer, Sylva Mbikayi were also arrested on November 18th by Congo's Intelligence Agency (ANR in French). The Kabila regime is notorious for its arbitrary arrests of Congolese youth in particular. FOTC and our partner organizations are mobilizing to shed more light on these unlawful arrests. Call on the Ministry of "Human Rights" to secure the release of James and Christian.
Faith Leaders Give Joseph Kabila December 15th Ultimatum
The Coordinating Committee of the Laic called on Joseph Kabila to declare publicly by December 15th that he will not be a candidate in the next elections. They decried the widespread human rights abuses; restrictions on freedom of speech; the prohibition of peaceful marches; and the repression of non-violent movements.

Their demands included:
  • Unconditional release of all political prisoners
  • Return of opposition figures who have been exiled
  • Cessation of the duplication of political parties
  • Freeing up of media especially the Congo's National media outlet (RTNC)
  • Reopening of media that have been shuttered without justification
  • Restructuring of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI)
  • Building on the electoral calendar proposed by the CENI to arrive at a consensual election calendar
Local Health Clinic Rejuvenated
The Lumumba Scholars embarked on their latest community service project by cleaning and painting a local health clinic in the Masina commune. In return for their service, one of the Lumumba Scholars will be able to intern at the clinic and the clinic will also provide free care for orphans and the handicapped with whom the Lumumba Scholars work .
A Belgian news crew visited one of Quatrième Voie’s sites to learn about the work they are doing in the communes of Kinshasa (quartiers populaires). The reporters interviewed members of the handicapped community with whom Quatrieme Voie works. They also spoke with Quatrieme Voie's Coordinator, Jean-Marie Kalonji about the political and economic crisis in the Congo and the organization's efforts to support local communities through social services and civic education. 
Thank you for the support that you provided to Friends of the Congo (FOTC) in 2017. 
Throughout the year, you have helped Congolese youth leaders stand for social justice and deliver social services in the areas of education, legal and health care. With ongoing work to be done, your support is vital to our realizing our goals.

Please, make your year-end contribution to Friends of the Congo and give a gift that will make a lasting difference. You can make a one-time contribution here or become a sustaining donor here .
Friends of the Congo launched a Facebook giving campaign. Your contribution will make a significant impact on our work, whether you donate $5 or $500, every little bit helps. For nearly 15 years, we have raised consciousness around the world on the importance of bringing peace to the Congo, while providing support to organisations working on the ground to bring about lasting change.
A historic opportunity exists for ordinary people throughout the globe to participate in a global movement in partnership with the Congolese people as they strive to bring about fundamental and lasting change in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

This is Congo provides an immersive and unfiltered look into the world’s longest continuing conflict and those who are surviving within it. By following four compelling characters — a whistleblower, a patriotic military commander, a mineral dealer and a displaced tailor — the film offers viewers a truly Congolese perspective on the problems that plague this lushly beautiful nation. Watch Trailer here

Human Rights Watch released a report entitled "Special Mission: Recruitment of M23 Rebels to Suppress Protests in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” According to the report, senior security force officers recruited over 200 former M23 rebel fighters from military and refugee camps in Rwanda and Uganda to quash protests against President Joseph Kabila in December 2016. Human Rights Watch noted "Congolese army officers – including many from previous Rwandan-backed rebellions who had since integrated into the Congolese army – looked after them, paying them well and providing them with food and accommodation." Read more and watch video here
Industry Giants Fail to Tackle Child Labour Allegations

Are smartphone and electric vehicle companies doing enough to cut human rights abuses out of their cobalt supply chains?

Read more
www.amnesty.org
Human crisis in Congo 'worse than Syria'

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre said that an average of 5,500 people fled their homes every day this year. Despite there being four million displaced people, as well as more than seven million struggling to feed themselves...

Read more
www.bbc.com
DRC: Heavy-handed police crackdown on protests must stop

A man was shot dead and dozens more injured by police during protests in multiple cities calling of DRC President Joseph Kabila to step aside

Read more
www.amnesty.org
Congo basin's peaty swamps are new front in climate...

New exploratory research, conducted with the Congolese botanist Corneille Ewango, 50km from Mbandaka in DRC, suggests that central Africa’s inaccessible forest swamps could be even more important as a global carbon storehouse than they thought...

Read more
www.theguardian.com