A hopeless existance – sans papiers

Eric is born in the North of Congo, that by Mobutu in the 70ties is named Zaïre. He escaped the conflicts in his homecountry in … to unite with his mother, brothers and sister who had left Congo before and meanwhile had a refugee status in the Netherlands. But because his mother was financially depending on benefit, Eric was not qualified for family reunification. Ever since he roams from one illeagel livingplace to another, from a former garage to ex-office, often without any facilities, without any money and without any future.

The Dutch Governement does not send people back to Congo because of the precarious political situation in the country but also does not give them a residence permit in The Netherlands. Eric hovers in between systems and sees his life pass by, without hope without perspective.

Mobutu was commander at the army under the Government of Lumumba after the independence of Belgium.On 24 november 1965 found Mobutu that his moment had come and he committed a coup. Mobutu immediately consolidated his power. He abolished the Parliament and the multi-party system. Later, his party, the MPR, the only party permitted by the Constitution. Mobutu quickly proved a cruel dictator. He ruled the country untill 1992. He enriched himself and a small group of friends and family, a wealth that increasingly differed from the local population, who largely lived in great poverty. Mismanagement and political corruption holden the Zairean state more and more out, which led to an enormous chaos. In the beginning of the years ‘ 90 is the Congolese people Dima. This period is characterized by several looting in Kinshasa, the effects of which are felt to this day. In the border areas in the East of the country (where also the great mineral wealth, among others) gave rise to conflicts with neighbouring countries, which together with the conflict in the neighbouring countries themselves, at least not improved stability in Zaire. The FDL also arose during this period – a guerilla army from the East under the leadership of Laurent Kabila, which Mobutu after the capture of Kinshasa in 1997 the country uitjoeg. Mobutu died a few months later of cancer.
The ADFL had not encountered many difficulties, in their advance from Eastern Zaire had the troops in most regions pretty easy passage found. The Zairean population was Mobutu more than tired. This does not mean, however, that this passage went smoothly, the ADFL committed many wrongdoings.
With the arrival of Kabila as president of the Democratic Republic of Congo got the Congolese people new hope, which, however, eventually turned into disillusion as quickly when it was observed that the arrival of Kabila not really brought a lot of improvement.
Kabila carried out an almost as authoritarian authority as its predecessor. This created already in 1998 new rebel forces in the East of the country, with the support of neighbouring countries such as Rwanda and Uganda. They took the weapons back on and occupy large parts of the eastern regions. A new civil war had broken out.
In the end, Kabila in January 2001 by one of his bodyguards killed. His son Joseph Kabila took power. But there still is no stability in Congo.

The Dutch supportersgroup ‘We are here’ supports the group where Eric makes part of: http://wijzijnhier.org/who-we-are.