Actress and UN Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie on Tuesday urged the international community to back a fragile transition to peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), following nearly five years of war during which an estimated 3.3 million perished.
Jolie's call followed a three-day tour of war-torn areas of eastern Congo, including Beni, Bukavu, Bunia, Bunyakiri, Goma, Oicha and Rutshuru.
"All of the Congolese people I met with have chosen peace over war," she said in a statement. "It is at this very moment of hope and opportunity that the international community must decide whether to help and support the Congolese people, or again abandon the country to continuing cycles of violence."
She reported that many of the armed groups that had devastated the country had agreed to disarm, but needed viable alternatives to war.
"Now is the time to support their demobilization and reintegration into productive civilian livelihoods," she said. "If these militia members - many of whom are children - have no options for the future, they will no doubt resort back to war."