Open Letter to the President: Critical Steps for Obama's Second-Term

 
President Obama speaks at an event.

As President Obama sets off on his new four-year term, the Enough Project delivered an open letter to the president outlining critical steps that the U.S. government should take to address the conflicts in Sudan, between Sudan and South Sudan, in eastern Congo, and in areas impacted by the Lord’s Resistance Army. The full letter is available on this page, and here’s an overview of what Enough Co-founder John Prendergast and Executive Director John C. Bradshaw wrote.

Peace talks between the Congolese government and M23 rebel group continue in Kampala but demonstrate the clear need for a broadened peace process. The 11+1 peace framework proposed by the United Nations looks promising, but impartial facilitation and participation representative of the various actors in the region, including women and local civil society leaders, are necessary for any process to succeed. In particular, Enough asked President Obama to:

  • Appoint a presidential special envoy to support the United Nations led peace process;
  • Organize a responsible investment initiative for a conflict free minerals trade; and
  • Continue to place pressure on any state found to be fueling the conflict.       

Sudan and South Sudan are also in the midst of crises, both within and between the two countries. Violence and ongoing instability—primarily orchestrated by Khartoum—in Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Abyei has contributed most to humanitarian crises in which about 3.5 million Sudanese face dire food insecurity and 2.4 million are displaced from their homes. Sudanese and South Sudanese military forces are facing off along their contested border, while Sudan continues to stall negotiations with South Sudan on a number of issues including the final status of the Abyei area. To reinvigorate the effort to quell the violence and promote lasting peace, Enough called on President Obama to:

  • Immediately appoint a special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan;
  • Increase support for civil society organizations working for democratic change in Sudan;
  • Increase public support for the proposal put forth by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel for determining the final status of the Abyei area;
  • Support the A.U. and U.N. on negotiations for a cessation of hostilities between the government of Sudan and the SPLM-N; and
  • Fund programs and implement policies that encourage the South Sudanese government to address systemic causes of inter-communal violence and the lack of accountability for human rights abuses, reform the security services to better equip them to protect civilians, stem the flow of small arms, and work to create economic opportunities for youth.

The Lord’s Resistance Army continues to threaten the stability of central Africa despite its declining membership. Kidnappings and killings will continue until the top LRA leaders have been apprehended. Enough asked President Obama to:

  • Continue to provide intelligence support to the A.U.;  
  • Keep the U.S. military advisors deployed until they succeed in capturing the LRA senior leadership; and
  • Negotiate military access to safe havens in Sudan, Congo, and the Central African Republic, and work with the African Union to encourage the deployment of special forces to those areas..

Photo: President Obama (AP)

Comments