Eastern Congo

Congo President Kabila Fails to Agree to Democratic Transition

Date: 
Dec 19, 2016

 

Grave concerns about worsening crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as Kabila fails to hold elections or come to agreement with opposition. He suddenly names new government, and his last legal term ended at midnight Kinshasa time. 

December 19, 2016 - 6:45pm EST (Washington, DC) –

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Joseph Kabila has failed to agree to a democratic transition with the country's political opposition. After the Congolese government failed to hold scheduled elections on November 19, tonight at midnight marks the end of Kabila's second and last legally sanctioned term as the country's president, according to Congo's constitution. Five minutes before midnight on national television, Kabila announced a new government under Prime Minister Samy Badibanga, despite the lack of a political agreement with the opposition.

Civil society groups have organized numerous public demonstrations demanding President Kabila respect the constitution and help prepare for the democratic election of his successor. Many of those demonstrations have been met with brutal crackdowns by police and military forces. The government has blocked nearly all access to social media today, and at least two prominent activists are missing. There have been over 40 arrests reported today. 

Enough Project experts are available for comment and analysis.

Holly Dranginis, Senior Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, said: “The Congolese people have already endured untold repression in the weeks and months leading up to this flashpoint, especially those calling for a democratic transition of power. Today marks Kabila’s admission into a dangerous category of leaders who gain power by force, not by democratic process or respect for their people. Last week, the EU and US sent a strong message of warning by issuing sanctions, but today there is repression in the streets. The international community needs to enforce sanctions with vigilance and rigor, and above all, support the Congolese people as they fight for their right to vote in a new leader.”

Sasha Lezhnev, Associate Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: "Today is a turning point for Congo. Without a deal for a democratic transition, President Kabila should announce that he will not run in the next elections. That would help calm the major tensions. If not, the U.S. and Europe should ratchet up the financial pressure through sanctions on high-level advisors and anti-money laundering actions."

John Prendergast, Founding Director at the Enough Project, said: "Clearly, President Kabila is not willing to relinquish power, and appears to be insisting on running for a third term whenever elections actually are held. The kleptocracy he has overseen is too lucrative to let go of, and so he will try to stay, even if it means the country catches fire around him."

Since as early as January 2015, Congolese people have taken to the streets and launched other advocacy efforts to express their support for a peaceful, timely presidential transition. Crackdowns on peaceful protesters, opposition leaders, and youth activists related to elections have been consistent since January 2015 when 36 were killed in a demonstration in Kinshasa and four in Goma. More recently, the week of September 19th44 people were killed and dozens arrested.

Last week, in an effort to promote restraint by security forces and show support for democracy, the European Union imposed targeted sanctions on seven individuals, for “holding positions of authority…over the Congolese security forces which have exercised a disproportionate use of force.” The United States also placed sanctions on two high-level Congolese officials last week, Evariste Boshab and Kalev Mutondo, bringing the total to five this year. 

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact:
Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.

“Merci Congo”: An Inspiring Film on Congo by Director Paul Freedman

Merci Congo

A new film, Merci Congo, by filmmaker Paul Freedman explores the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that has torn lives apart and killed millions of people – and what we as individuals can do to help stop it.  Read More »

As Congo Heads into Crucial Week, U.S., E.U., Place Sanctions on More High-Level Officials

Date: 
Dec 12, 2016

 

Amidst escalating election crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, US, EU sanctions signal “enough is enough”

Washington, DC -- Today, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) placed Évariste Boshab, Vice Prime Minister and Interior Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Kalev Mutond, Director of the country’s National Intelligence Agency (ANR) on its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List. Further, the European Union placed targeted sanctions against seven senior security officers in Congo. The ANR has been known for using calculated intimidation tactics against civilians and committing serious human rights abuses, including arbitrary arrests and disappearances. Boshab is a key member of President Joseph Kabila's inner circle. 

Enough Project experts are available for comment and analysis.

Sasha Lezhnev, Associate Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “The sanctions are a critical step to protect human rights and prevent wider violence in Congo. The U.S. Treasury Department should follow suit by enacting anti-money laundering measures to help stop corrupt transactions from taking place in U.S. dollars.”

Holly Dranginis, Senior Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, said: “The United States is ratcheting up the pressure ahead of a flashpoint on December 19th, when Kabila is supposed to step down. This next round of US sanctions says 'enough is enough' to individuals in the government who have committed abuses with impunity for far too long. Instead of waiting for the crisis to explode or waiting for others to act, the US is using prevention strategies. It's a show of support for thousands of people in Congo who are putting their lives on the line to demand their right to a new elected leader.”

John Prendergast, Founding Director at the Enough Project, said: “Now is a crucial time to prevent violence in Congo. Today's sanctions announcements are key, but the financial pressure should be further escalated if the Congolese government does not ensure an effective democratic transition ahead of December 19."

According to the country's constitution, President Kabila is due to step down on December 19. However, the government-led electoral commission announced that the elections will be delayed, potentially until 2018. Congolese civilians have taken to streets demanding President Kabila step down and hold elections, citing sanctions in particular as a tool the international community can use to support democracy and mitigate violence.

Today's measure makes five OFAC designations in total on high-level Congolese officials this year. In July, the Treasury Department sanctioned General Célestin Kanyama, the Police Commissioner of Kinshasa and in late September, it sanctioned General Gabriel Amisi Kumba, aka "Tango Fort," head of the First National Defense Zone and Major General John Numbi Banza Tambo, former Inspector General of the National Police. 

Earlier today, the EU also imposed sanctions on seven high-level Congolese officials including: General Célestin Kanyama, General Gabriel Amisi, Major General John Numbi Banza Tambo, Ilunga Kampete, Commander of the Republican Guard; Ferdinand Ilunga Luyoyo, Commander of the Anti-Riot Unit of the National Police; Roger Kibelisa, Chief of Internal Security of the ANR; and Delphin Kaimbi, Chief of Military Intelligence.

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact:
Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.

NGO Coalition Calls for Sanctions on Senior DR Congo Officials

Date: 
Dec 9, 2016

Washington, DC – The Enough Project along with a coalition of 72 Congolese and 14 international human rights organizations have called on the European Union and the United States to expand targeted sanctions against those most responsible for recent violent repression and other serious human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Sasha Lezhnev, Associate Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: "If the EU and US act now, they can help prevent widespread violence in Congo. They have leverage, as Congolese officials use US dollars and Euros to conduct suspicious transactions, and it is now time to use that leverage to prevent atrocities and promote democracy." 

Please see joint press release and the full list of signatories below.

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.

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EU/US: Sanction Senior DR Congo Officials
Urgent Action Needed to Deter Large-Scale Violence, Repression 

(Kinshasa, December 9, 2016) – The European Union and United States should expand targeted sanctions against those most responsible for recent violent repression and other serious human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a coalition of 72 Congolese and 15 international human rights organizations said today. 

Ten days before the December 19, 2016, deadline marking the end of President Joseph Kabila’s constitutionally mandated two-term limit, he still has not made any clear commitment on when or even if he will step down. At the same time, government repression against pro-democracy activists, the political opposition, largely peaceful protesters, and the media has intensified at an alarming rate.

“Imposing targeted sanctions on senior officials, especially before December 19, could help walk Congo back from the brink and deter further violent repression,” said Me Georges Kapiamba, president of the Congolese Association for Access to Justice (ACAJ). “Such action would show that with each passing day, the consequences for the government will be greater.” 

Opposition leaders and pro-democracy activists have called for Congolese to take to the streets if President Kabila stays in office beyond his mandate. Past protests suggest that they will be met by security forces quick to use excessive and lethal force. There are risks that political leaders could mobilize the dozens of armed groups active in eastern Congo for political ends, or that the country’s brittle security forces could fracture if Kabila relies on force to stay in power. This raises concerns that the country could descend into further repression or widespread violence and chaos, with potentially volatile repercussions across the region.

Earlier targeted sanctions imposed by the US on three security force officers at the forefront of violence against protesters had a notable deterrent effect and rattled those implicated, the organizations said. The US should impose targeted sanctions against more senior level officials. 

In October, the EU Foreign Ministers stated that the EU would “use all means at its disposal” against individuals responsible for serious human rights violations, who promote violence, or who “obstruct a consensual and peaceful solution to the crisis.” In November, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on the EU to urgently implement targeted sanctions. The EU is due to discuss Congo and possibly move forward with targeted sanctions during its next Foreign Affairs Council meeting on December 12.

Such targeted sanctions could include travel bans, asset freezes, and the blocking of bank accounts and financial transactions linked to the individuals.

“President Kabila and Congolese officials need to be sent a strong message that violating the rights of the Congolese people is costly for those responsible,” said Ida Sawyer, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Acting now to help prevent the situation in Congo from spiraling out of control will be critical to stability, the rule of law, and respect for fundamental human rights in Congo and throughout the region.”

For more information, please contact:
In Brussels, for Human Rights Watch, Ida Sawyer (English, French): +1-917-213-0939 (mobile); or +243-99-86-75-565 (mobile); or sawyeri@hrw.org. Twitter: @ida_sawyer
In Kinshasa, for the Congolese Association for Access to Justice (ACAJ), Me Georges Kapiamba (French): +243-814043641; or kapiambag2@gmail.com. Twitter: @kapiambaGeorges
For FIDH and its member organizations in the DRC: presse@fidh.org  

In Brussels, for EurAc, Julie Capoulade, (English, French): +32-499-81-01-77 (mobile); or julie.capoulade@eurac-network.org. Twitter: @JulieCapoulade
In Washington, DC, for the Enough Project, Greg Hittelman (English): +1-310-717-0606; or gh@enoughproject.org.

Signatories:

International organizations

  1. Agir Ensemble pour les Droits de l'Homme (AEDH)
  2. Ecumenical Network Central Africa (OENZ)
  3. The Enough Project
  4. European Network for Central Africa (EurAc)
  5. Fédération internationale de l’Action des chrétiens pour l’abolition de la torture (FIACAT)
  6. Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’Homme (FIDH)
  7. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  8. Global Witness
  9. Human Rights Watch
  10. Never Again Coalition
  11. PAX
  12. Protection International
  13. Reporters sans Frontières/Reporters Without Borders
  14. Save the Congo
  15. World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

Congolese organizations

  1. Action Chrétienne Contre la Torture (ACAT) – RDC
  2. Action d’Aide aux Survivants de la Torture (AAST/Relève)
  3. Action de Solidarité de Femmes pour la Femme et l’Enfant (ASOFFE) 
  4. Action pour la Bienveillance Humanitaire (AB/ Humanitaire)
  5. Action pour la Justice et le Développement (AJD)
  6. Action pour la Paix et la Protection de l'Enfant (APPE)
  7. Action pour la Protection des Droits Humains et de Développement Communautaire (APDHUD)
  8. Agir pour la Reconstruction de notre Espace et pour la Convivialité (AGIREC)
  9. Agir Rapidement pour la Femme (ARF)
  10. Association africaine de défense des droits de l’Homme (ASADHO)
  11. Association Congolaise pour l’Accès à la Justice (ACAJ)
  12. Association de défense des Droits de la Femme (ADDF)
  13. Association des Femmes Juristes Congolaises (AFEJUCO)
  14. Association des Femmes pour le Développement Communautaire (AFEMDECO)
  15. Association des Femmes pour le Développement Endogène Mboko/Fizi (AFDEM) 
  16. Association des Jeunes pour la Protection de l’Environnement Fizi (AJPEF)
  17. Association des Jeunes pour le Développement Intégral de Kalundu/Uvira (AJEDIK)
  18. Association pour le Développement des Initiatives Paysannes (ASSODIP)
  19. Association pour le Développement Intégral du Haut Plateau de Fizi (ADIPF)
  20. Association pour les Droits Humanitaires (ADH)
  21. Bureau de Promotion Socioculturelle (BUPSOC)
  22. Centre de Promotion Socio-Sanitaire (CEPROSSAN)
  23. Centre de Rééducation pour l’Enfance Délinquance et Défavorisée (CREDD)      
  24. Centre d'Observation des Droits de l'Homme et d'Assistance Sociale (CODHAS)
  25. Centre Indépendant de Recherches et d’Études Stratégiques au Kivu (CIRESKI)
  26. Centre International de Promotion et de Développement et des Droits de l'Homme (CEIPEDHO)
  27. Cercle international pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme, la Paix et l’Environnement (CIDDHOPE)
  28. Cercle National de Réflexion sur la Jeunesse (CNRJ RDC)
  29. Comité de Coordination des Actions de Paix (CCAP)
  30. Commission Internationale en Formation des Droits de l’Homme (CIFDH)
  31. Convention pour le Respect des Droits de l’Homme (CRDH)
  32. Congrès pour le Renouveau Syndical (CORES)
  33. Debout Fille de Fizi (DFF)
  34. Femme en Danger (FED)
  35. Femme et Enfant en Détresse (SOS FED)
  36. Femme pour le Développement des Mutuelles de Solidarités à Fizi (FDMUSOF)
  37. Femme qui en Soulève une Autre (FESA)
  38. Femmes Engagées pour la Promotion de la Santé Intégrale (FEPSI)
  39. Femmes Juristes pour la défense des Droits de la Femme (FJDF)
  40. Fraternité des Prisons (FP)
  41. Genre pour l’Appui au Développement (GAD)
  42. Great Lakes Human Rights Program (GLHRP)
  43. Groupe d’Action Non-Violente Évangélique (GANVE)
  44. Groupe d’Associations de Défense des Droits de l’Homme et de Paix (GADHOP)
  45. Groupe Lotus (GL)
  46. Institut Africain de Formation en Droits Humains (INAFDH)
  47. Juriste en Action (JURAC)
  48. JUSTICIA Asbl
  49. Ligue contre la Fraude et la Corruption (LICOF)
  50. Ligue des Activistes des Droits de l'Homme (LADHO)
  51. Ligue des électeurs (LE)
  52. Ligue pour la Défense et la Vulgarisation des Droits Humains (LDVDH)
  53. Mama Tupendane (MT)
  54. Mama Tushirikiane (MATU)
  55. Maniema Libertés (MALI)
  56. Maniema Tuende Mbele (MTM)
  57. Mobilisation, Encadrement Écologie et Défense des Droits Humains par les Amis des Familles Démunies (MEEDAF)
  58. Œuvre Chrétienne pour la Femme (OCF)
  59. Organisation Communautaire pour la Conservation de la Nature (OCCN)
  60. Organisation de Paix pour les Opportunités et le Développement (OPOD)
  61. Organisation pour la Promotion et Protection des Droits Humains (OPPDH)
  62. Pax Christ Butembo   
  63. Psychologues sans Frontières (PSF)
  64. Relance pour la Fille de Sion (RFS)
  65. Réseau des Activistes des Droits Humains de Fizi
  66. Réseau des Communicateurs Humanitaires (RCH)
  67. Réseau des Parajuristes du Maniema (REPAJUMA)    
  68. Réseaux de Femmes pour le Développement de Jeunes d’Itombwe (RFDJI)
  69. Service Par, Pour et Avec les Femmes (SEPPAF)
  70. Solidarité des Associations Féminines pour les Droits de Femmes et de l’Enfant (SAFDF)
  71. Solidarité des Hommes pour la Protection et la Promotion des Femmes (SHPF)
  72. Wamama Tusimame (WATU)

Congressional Hearing on Democratic Crisis in Congo

Sasha Lezhnev testifying before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

On Tuesday, November 29, Enough’s Associate Director of Policy for the Great Lakes Region, Sasha Lezhnev, testified in Congress before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on democracy and human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Read More »

Testimony of Sasha Lezhnev - Democracy and Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Testimony of Sasha Lezhnev, Enough Project Associate Director of Policy, given on November 29, 2016 before the U.S. Congress’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing on “Democracy and Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

Enough’s Lezhnev to Testify in Congress on Preventing Violence through Financial Pressure in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Date: 
Nov 28, 2016

 

TomorrowNovember 29, Sasha Lezhnev, Associate Director of Policy at the Enough Project, will testify alongside a distinguished panel of senior U.S. officials and Congolese and international activists before the U.S. Congress’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing on “Democracy and Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” 

Lezhnev, author of the recent Enough Project report “A Criminal State: Understanding and countering institutionalized corruption and violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” will present testimony on strategies to avoid a much more violent crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in particular through the use of greater U.S. financial pressure to leverage a successful democratic transition process. 

For press unable to attend the hearing will be available for viewing on livestream.

When: Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. EST

Where: Room 2255, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC. Click here for details.

Livestreamhttps://humanrightscommission.house.gov/  

Witnesses:

Panel I

  • Tom Perriello, Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, U.S. Department of State
  • Tom Malinowski, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State

Panel II

  • Ida Sawyer, Senior Researcher, Human Rights Watch 
  • Fred Bauma, LUCHA
  • Sasha Lezhnev, Associate Director of Policy, Enough Project
  • Mvemba Phezo Dizolele, Professorial Lecturer, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies  

Hearing details: https://humanrightscommission.house.gov/events/hearings/democracy-and-human-rights-democratic-republic-congo

Interview availability: Mr. Lezhnev will be available for selected media interviews following the hearing. For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.

Republicans, Democrats Unite to Pass Important Resolution on DRC, Urging Financial Pressure in Support of Congo's Constitution

On November 14, the United States House of Representatives passed H.Res.780 - A resolution urging respect for the constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the democratic transition of power in 2016,by a vote count of 416-3.  Read More »

In Memory of Katherine Fleming Yarges: Activist Extraordinaire and Heart of the Congo Activist Community

Katherine (second from left) at a Run for Congo Women event

For so many who came together as Congo activists, Katherine Fleming Yarges was a light—and a rock. Whether stepping up to Run for Congo Women, as one of A Thousand Sisters, taking on conflict minerals in the 45,000 penny campaign, or shooting protest selfies for Outcry for Congo or Special Envoy Now. Katherine was a steady, glowing presence that represented the very best of the Congo activist community.   Read More »

New Study Shows Congo is Run as Violent Kleptocracy

Date: 
Oct 27, 2016

 

In-depth report shows D.R. Congo is not a “failed state,” as it functions highly efficiently for ruling elites, certain commercial partners who profit immensely; Paradigm shift is needed by policymakers to use financial, legal pressure tools to target leaders most responsible for violence, corruption, and undermining democracy.

In a major report released today, the Enough Project shows that the Democratic Republic of Congo is not a “failed state,” exposing a highly functioning system of violence and corruption structured to allow President Joseph Kabila and his close associates to maintain power and profit from natural resource deals at the expense of country’s development.

The comprehensive study that analyzes Congo’s political economy over the past 130 years, “A Criminal State: Understanding and Countering Institutionalized Corruption and Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” authored by Sasha Lezhnev, the second in the Enough Project series “Violent Kleptocracy: Corruption and Conflict in East and Central Africa,” will be presented at an event today in Washington, DC, and will be livestreamed at 10 a.m. EDT.

Sasha Lezhnev, report author and Associate Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “It is time for a paradigm shift on policy thinking on Congo. Supporting Congolese reformers to transform the country requires a strategy to tackle the violent kleptocratic system head-on. The U.S. and Europe must impose significant consequences for the leaders that maintain it, in particular by using the tools of financial pressure normally reserved for countering nuclear proliferation. Congo’s business deals are made in U.S. dollars, thus touching the international banking system, so the international community has powerful leverage it is not using nearly enough.”

The current crisis in the DRC, the report argues, is the latest iteration of a longer pattern of violence and corruption and urges policymakers and the international community to respond with financial pressure tools that directly target those leaders benefiting from the violent kleptocratic system.

Holly Dranginis, Senior Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, said: “For too long, Congo's entrenched systems of theft and violence have been left to thrive. That has led to the death of millions of civilians, and now an acute constitutional crisis at the highest level of power. It has also spurred a mass popular movement demanding that Kabila must go, asserting the rights of the people to a democratic transition. There has never been a more important time for policy makers to view Congo as a hijacked -- not a failed -- state, and use the financial and legal tools at their disposal before this crisis reaches a fever pitch.”

Lezhnev added: “U.S. and international policy goals on Congo should be to create accountability for financial and human rights crimes; and to create new leverage for peace, human rights, and governance reforms. This would comprise a new, unique financial pressure approach that would create real leverage in support of processes that can bring change in Congo. The aim would be to freeze those committing atrocities and undermining peace out of the international financial system.”

The Congolese government has increased repression in recent months. In September, a government crackdown on demonstrations to hold elections on time killed over 48 protesters, according to the United Nations. Over the past 18 months, numerous democracy activists have been jailed and radio, international human rights advocates have been kicked out of the country, and radio and TV stations have been shut down.

Report recommendations:

1. Financial pressure: For a policy of financial pressure aimed at reforms, the United States and other actors within the international community should combine the use of anti-money laundering measures with widened, enforced targeted sanctions designations. This would comprise a new and unique financial pressure approach that would create real leverage in support of processes that can bring change in Congo.

  • Implementing anti-money laundering measures
  • Enacting higher-level and robustly enforced targeted sanctions

2. Accountability: The International Criminal Court (ICC), the United States, Central and East African nations, and European states should use judicial tools to target the facilitators of violence, prosecute corruption-related crimes, and bolster atrocity crimes cases with a strategy to target assets stolen by those responsible for serious crimes to impose real accountability.

  • Targeting the facilitators of violence and prosecuting pillage
  • Seizing criminally derived assets
  • Prosecuting corruption-related crimes

3. Good governance and transparency: The overall objective of policymakers should be a reformed, functional state that is responsive to Congolese citizens’ needs. While pursuing financial and legal pressure to create immediate costs for current corrupt and violent behavior, the U.S., European, African, Asian, and multilateral institutions should support long-term democratic and transparency processes, governance reforms, and needed capacities by taking the following steps:

  • Reforming aid, focusing on including strong anti-corruption provisions.
  • Pressing for the publication of financial reports and audits of state-owned companies such as Gécamines and the China contract
  • Strengthening EITI implementation and urge completion of the Mining Code review
  • Supporting civil society with increased legal aid, protection, and capacity building

The report analyzes Congo’s political economy over the past 130 years, revealing seven main pillars of violent kleptocracy that have been used in various forms to rule the country, from the days of King Leopold II to the present.

  1. Let the security forces pay themselves. Mobutu said, “You have guns, you don’t need a salary.”  In order to prevent being overthrown by force, the regime allows army commanders to become wealthy by exploiting resources and citizens, thus fueling cycles of conflict.
     
  2. Stay in power, or possibly lose everything. Leaving office can mean that regime-connected elites lose their ill-gotten gains and immunity from prosecution. Pro-democracy movements are thus repressed, often violently, as they are threats to the corrupt system.
     
  3. Ensure there is little to no accountability for regime-connected elites. Impunity is the glue that holds the system together. Judicial systems target regime opponents or low-level figures, not high-level perpetrators of corruption or human rights abuses.
     
  4. Create parallel state structures and co-opt rebel groups to weaken political threats. Parallel chains of command are set up to ensure loyalty; rebels are brought into the army without vetting or real integration. The bloated army then commits abuses and collaborates with armed groups.
     
  5. Ensure that high-level officials benefit from corruption. If appointed to a military post or government office, the official is expected to pass payments up the chain. This system, “rapportage,” has led the real tax burden for Congolese citizens to be around 55 percent.
     
  6. Personally profit from natural resource deals, underspend on services, and hijack reforms. The regime receives bribes from certain outsiders to sell resources at very low prices, then outsiders flip them for large profits, depriving the Congolese state of massive revenue. Transparency reforms such as the Extractive Indsutries Transparency Initiative (EITI) help a bit, but the main vehicles for corruption—state-owned companies and their foreign shell company partners—remain opaque. The government deliberately underspends on public services, as its focus is on patronage.
     
  7. Confuse everyone by creating uncertainty on policies in order to increase corruption. The government creates institutions that contradict its own laws or policies, and state agencies impose and collect their own taxes, which increases predation.

LINK TO THE FULL REPORT: http://eno.ug/2dFQUDt. (French translation of executive summary also available)

EVENT DATE TIME: Thursday, October 27, 2016 | 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. EDT

EVENT LOCATION: 1333 H Street NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20036

EVENT LIVESTREAM: http://eno.ug/2e4UYOz

FOR MEDIA: For media planning to attend the event in person, please email: press@enoughproject.org. For media inquiries and interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org

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