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The Congo Memory Institute (CMI) seeks to create an open archive of written and oral memories of atrocities committed in the Congo region before, during and after European colonization, provide forums for people to record and share their memories with others, with a special focus on those living in the Congo, and to nurture a shared dialogue for local, state and foreign actors to build a collective memory from which to redress past wrongs by reforming institutions and cultures of oppression.
CMI’s archives will provide a rich source from which others can draw from to address the current problems facing the region. Before a new political culture and relations with foreign...

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A reoccurring pattern throughout Congolese history has been an unwillingness or inability by successor governments to address the past.

Every attempt by the sovereign power to record abuses has failed or been subverted:

  • 1897 – King Leopold II created a ‘Commission for the Protection of the Natives’ to inform the Governor-General about alleged violations: it reported nothing;
  • 1904/5 – King Leopold II set up a Commission that confirmed accusations contained in Roger Casement’s report, but nothing was done to remedy the situation for victims;
  • 1908 – The Kingdom of Belgium inherited a scarred colony, yet made no serious efforts to establish a credible account of King Leopold’s reign;
  • 1960 – In the rush for independence, the new Lumumba government did little to document and learn from the past by acknowledging abuses, establishing individual responsibility, reforming abusive systems and institutions, or initiating programs to commemorate the oppressed;
  • 1991 – The National Sovereign Conference sought to review Congolese history, but no findings were ever publicised;
  • 2002 – The power-sharing deal included a truth and reconciliation commission created as one of the institutions to support democratic change. It never completed its work.
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CMI issues a position on the UN Security Council Resolution 2348: a paradigm shift for civilian protection in the DRC and a turning point for the future of MONUSCO
Archives of the former National Parks of Belgian Congo: The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) and the Royal Museum of Central Africa opens up its archives pertaining to the the management of the national parks of Congo. In order to repatriate the materials related to several scientific missions that were organized between 1925 and 1960 by the Institute of the National Parks of Belgian Congo, a digitization of these collections started in 2003 and will be transferred to the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN). Collections digitized so far are accessible on the following website: http://www.apncb.be
How Belgian Colonization is presented in the school curriculum of Young Belgians: http://www.cliohres.net/books/6/Vanthemsche.pdf
New revelations in the murder of Independence leader Patrice Lumumba: British Consul in Kinshasa between 1959 to 1961admits that MI6 organized the elimination.

Read: Telegraph.co.uk article or Guardian.co.uk article
Congo Memory Institute welcomes the appointment of Mary Robinson as UN Special Envoy in the Great Lakes Region. Download Press Release
Finding a Lasting Solution to Instability in The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, February 11, 2013: http://www.state.gov/p/af/rls/rm/2013/204511.htm
CMI founder and director, Olivier Kambala cogitates prospect of reconciliation in the DRC and tables on the need for a civic pact and pledge to stop abuses against civilian populations and to reform abusive institutions, including the security sector: Is reconciliation in the DRC a mirage

Rainforest riches a curse for civilians in northeast DRC and the following link to the story:
CMI first report: “50 years of United Nations Peacekeeping Assistance in the DRC”. Download the report
After a field trip in the eastern DRC, Adam Hochschild - CMI Trustee – releases an article in The Atlantic, titled “the Trial of Thomas Lubanga”. Adam’s opinion on one of the ongoing trial at the International Criminal Court epitomizes the challenges related to coming to term with mass atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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E. Efinda has published in 2009 a book titled /« Grands Lacs : sur les routes malgré nous/ », in which she depicts her recollection of ordeal her families went through after the attacks in the Eastern DRC in 1996.

Although a personal/individual memory, her book is actually the first book attempting to establish collective memories of events which occured in 1996. She gives an exclusive interview to Congo Memory Institute. Available in French only.
Olivier Kambala writes: "Lifting a nation from its heart of darkness"
CMI Trustee, Adam Hochschild, releases an article in the New York Review of Books titled "Rape of the Congo". Click here to read more

Yale University - Genocide Studies Program: http://www.cis.yale.edu/gsp/colonial/belgian_congo/
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