In celebration of International Women’s Day 2014, the Enough Project organized and co-hosted an event last Thursday with the United Nations Office of the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict entitled “Elevating the Conversation on Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict.” Read More »
This post was written by guest blogger and UNC-Chapel Hill student Danielle Allyn.
In the Kiswahili language, spoken by many in eastern Congo, methali (proverbs) play an important role in society. One such proverb reads Penye nia pana njia or, “Where there is a will, there is a way. Read More »
Congo: New Opportunity on DDR for Congo Peace Process
Goma, DRC and Nairobi, Kenya – Ahead of the March 5-6 meeting of the International Contact Group on Congo, the Enough Project released a new report today outlining challenges to the successful implementation of the national disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration, or DDR, strategy known as DDR III. The report, “Crafting a Viable DDR Strategy for Congo,” argues that resolving outstanding differences on DDR III must be a priority in the overarching regional peace agenda for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to the UN, nearly 8,000 combatants from a range of armed groups have surrendered since the official defeat of M23 in November 2013. Of that 8,000, 2,674 combatants, accompanied by 3,084 dependents, surrendered to the Congolese national army, or FARDC, at the transit camp of Bweremana, in Masisi, North Kivu province. The Enough Project report states that an effective program to rehabilitate ex-combatants is hindered by questions concerning funding, the current security environment, the fate of M23, and where and how to resettle ex-combatants. Additionally, previous DDR programs have been ineffective in the inclusion of justice and accountability while incentivizing defection.
Aaron Hall, co-author of the report and Enough Project Field Consultant, says,
“Implementing a viable and effective national DDR strategy in eastern Congo is now an urgent issue. New opportunities for the Congolese government and its international partners to establish stability in eastern Congo have become apparent since the signing of the U.N. Peace and Security Framework, and the fall of the M23. However, the speed and efficacy with which they implement a national DDR strategy will to a great extent determine the future of peace and economic growth in the region."
The report urges the United Nations and U.S. Special Envoys to the Great Lakes, Mary Robinson and Russ Feingold, other leaders and donors, and the Congolese government to address these issues before the International Contact Group on Congo meeting on March 5-6. Integrating lessons from previous national DDR strategies can help the Congolese government effectively and swiftly disarm a large portion of armed groups in eastern Congo and reintegrate ex-combatants into the military or provide alternative livelihoods, further incentivizing existing armed groups to surrender to the FARDC.
Timo Mueller, co-author of the report and Enough Project Field Researcher in Congo, says
"The success or failure of the DDR process is a major factor that determines the propensity of renewed violence. At its worst, an ill-designed program might become a conflict driver itself. Implementing partners should draw on the lessons learnt and pay particular attention to the reintegration of combatants, the most difficult part of the DDR process."
The national DDR strategy is one element of the peace process. The report states that it must be implemented in coordination with related regional peace and security agreements, including the U.N. PSC Framework and the International Security Stabilization and Support Strategy, or I4S. Coordinating these efforts will determine the success of DDR efforts and the long-term peace and stability of the region.
The president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo last night for a conference of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), being held in the capital city of Kinshasa. Read More »
Three and a half years ago, Enough and Campus Progress (now known as Generation Progress) protested the opening of Apple’s prestigious new store in Georgetown, Washington, DC because it was lagging behind other companies on combating the trade in conflict minerals from eastern Congo. Today, such a protest would be unnecessary. Apple released its annual Supplier Responsibility report yesterday, and the company is making some significant strides on conflict minerals. Read More »
Here we are again, that time of year where love is officially celebrated between family, friends, lovers, crushes and colleagues. Valentine's Day. Honestly, we both look forward to this holiday. What's not to love? Valentine's Day is the holiday for love, but the gold so many people give each other as a symbol of their love may be fueling violent conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The silver lining: we can do quite a bit as consumers to help our jewelry companies address conflict gold. Read More »
On March 6, the Enough Project’s Raise Hope for Congo campaign is partnering with the United Nations for an event to raise awareness about sexual violence in conflict and how it intersects with inarmed conflict, peace building, and conflict minerals trade. Read More »
On March 6th, the Enough Project’s Raise Hope for Congo Campaign is partnering with the United Nations for an event in recognition of International Women’s Day. The event will highlight the importance of women’s participation in Congo’s peace process, urgent actions needed to end and prevent sexual violence, and the transformative power women’s movements have in transitioning communities from war to peace.
Leading up to the event, students and activists around the world will take action in this social media campaign calling for an end to sexual violence and an inclusive peace process in Congo.
Take action now and join the call for peace:
Take a photo of yourself holding a sign that states why you think an inclusive peace process in Congo is important, followed by the hashtag #CongoPeace
Get all your friends, family, and random strangers you pass on the street to do the same—group shots and individual shots encouraged.
(e.g.: “Because women’s voices need to be heard - #CongoPeace”)
Be creative with your pictures! ACT BEFORE February 20th:
3. Instagram your photo and tag it as #CongoPeace.
(Make sure you use the correct tags, otherwise we won't see the pictures and we won't be able to accurately reflect the strength of the movement)
These photos will be sent to U.S. and U.N. Special Envoys Russ Feingold and Mary Robinson, U.N. Special Representative Zainab Bangura, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, and other key policymakers to encourage them to prioritize the fight against sexual violence and the promotion of an inclusive, comprehensive peace in Congo.