September 28th, 2023
Letter to Minister Hussen regarding the ongoing crisis in Democratic Republic of Congo
The Honourable Ahmed Hussen
Minister of International Development
Global Affairs Canada
125 Sussex Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2
September 28, 2023
Re: Emergency assistance for DRC
Dear Minister Hussen,
I am writing to you today regarding the ongoing crisis in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and the urgent need for Canada to increase its humanitarian aid response.
Over the past several months, the humanitarian situation has severely deteriorated in eastern DRC as a result of ongoing political instability and armed conflict. Over 600,000 displaced people are living in desperate conditions, with inadequate access to food and shelter in camps around Goma in the North Kivu region. In recent weeks, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams have observed an alarming 15% increase in cases of sexual assault in the areas where MSF operates. As you know, Minister, women and girls are particularly vulnerable in times of conflict, and the situation in DRC has resulted in extreme levels of sexual violence against them.
According to the World Food Programme, 44 percent of the population in eastern DRC, equivalent to 6.7 million people, are experiencing acute hunger and need life-saving assistance, with an estimated 2.6 million children facing acute malnutrition this year.
Funding for this humanitarian crisis remains critically low. For months humanitarian organizations, including UN agencies and organizations like MSF, have been urging donors to provide additional support. I urge you and the Canadian government to step up Canadian support and make new humanitarian assistance funding available to respond to the crisis in North Kivu . Many Canadian aid organizations have extensive experience working in DRC. Canada, with its long history of support for the region, must step up immediately.
I would be remiss, Minister, to neglect to mention my deep disappointment at your government’s cuts to official development assistance in this year’s federal budget. At this challenging time for the global community, the world needs more Canada. The crisis in DRC is but one example – and I urge you, as the new Minister on this file, to show the necessary leadership to ensure Canadian assistance is saving as many lives as possible.
Thank you for your consideration. and I look forward to receiving a response as quickly as possible.
Heather McPherson, M.P.
NDP Critic for Foreign Affairs
NDP Critic for International Development