Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 40th Parliament,
Volume 146, Issue 46

Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Foreign Affairs

Stabilization of Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been called a war against women. During this civil war, tens of thousands of women have been victims of rape as a weapon of war on a scale the world has never seen. Our Canadian mining companies are working in the Congo. We all benefit from the mining of coltan used for phones and BlackBerrys. I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate to tell us what the Canadian government is doing to revisit the decision of the United Nations that has asked us to play a leadership role in stabilizing the situation in the Congo?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, I thank Senator Jaffer for her concern in these areas, which is to be applauded. As was the case with the previous question, I will have to refer this question to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade for an update on the situation.

Senator Jaffer: The International Rescue Committee has estimated that approximately 5.4 million people have died in the Congo from August 1998 to April 2007. An estimated 2.1 million of those deaths have occurred since the formal end of the war in 2002. What role, then, are we playing at this time to stabilize and protect the citizens of the Congo?

I would also ask the leader if she could find out what the Canadian government has done. I know that the leader played a pivotal role in the guidelines created for gender-based persecution starting in 1992. How many Congolese women have been brought to Canada under this program?

Senator LeBreton: I will refer that portion of the question to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. The first part of the question will be referred to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I will seek a response through a delayed answer.