Washington –The International Contact Group on Africa’s Great Lakes region should focus the efforts of its meeting later this week on enacting strong consequences and accountability measures against the Congolese government for recent electoral fraud, coordinating assistance for military justice reform in Congo, creating a multilateral negotiation process for an international conflict-minerals certification scheme, and generating more troops, robust intelligence, and transport capabilities to assist in the fight to end the LRA, according to a new Enough Project report.
“In the wake of the recent elections in Congo, the Great Lakes Region is at a cross-roads,” says Aaron Hall, Enough Policy Analyst and co-author of the report. “The massive irregularities in Congo’s recent elections, coupled with an increasingly illegitimate government, are causing many Contact Group members to rethink their relationship with Congo in regards to assistance, development, and investment. This forum provides a real opportunity for improved coordination and engagement in the Great Lakes Region. To this end, the group is perhaps one of the best-suited bodies to reform donor nations’ policy in the region.”
The Contact Group, a body which consists of representatives from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the European Union, and the United Nations, has met on a regular basis since the early 2000’s to focus on political, diplomatic, security, and development issues in the Great Lakes region of Africa. They will meet in Washington, D.C. on February 9 and 10.
The new Enough Project report, “The International Contact Group and Steps Towards Stability in the Great Lakes,” presents key policy recommendations that the Contact Group should adopt to further promote peace, development, security, and economic diversification in the Great Lakes Region of Africa.
With the meetings attended by representatives possessing in-depth knowledge of both the diplomatic world and the realities on the ground, the Contact Group provides a unique opportunity for key donor countries to coordinate regional policy, according to the Enough Project.
“The Contact Group has an opportunity to finally end the 25 year-long Lord's Resistance Army conflict,” says Ashley Benner, Enough Policy Analyst and co-author, “Supplementing the U.S. military advisors deployed in the region, it should secure more capable troops from the four affected countries or other nations, provide much-needed intelligence and logistical capabilities, and pursue a two-tiered defection strategy that gets commanders and rank-and-file fighters to leave the LRA.”
Recent developments in the region including the fraudulent Congolese elections, the continued deterioration of security along the Rwandan/Congolese border, and the deployment of U.S. military advisors to the region to end the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, have brought significant shifts to the political landscape of the Great Lakes.
Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, the Enough Project focuses on crises in Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas of Africa affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, please visit www.enoughproject.org.
This coming Thursday and Friday Washington, D.C., will host the latest meeting of the International Contact Group on the Great Lakes region. A new Enough Project report, “The International Contact Group and Steps Towards Stability in the Great Lakes” by Enough Policy Analysts Ashley Benner and Aaron Hall, presents key policy recommendations that the contact group should adopt to further promote peace, development, security, and economic diversification in the Great Lakes. Read More »
In a newly released industry white paper the Intel Corporation praised the Securities and Exchange Commission’s, or SEC, process for instituting rules concerning conflict minerals mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In section 1502, the conflict minerals provision of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, Congress empowered the SEC to draft regulations requiring, among other things, companies to disclose whether they use conflict minerals from the Congo in their products. Read More »
2011 was a year of unprecedented action on behalf of freedom and human rights. When citizens flooded streets throughout the Middle East and North Africa, the U.S. and other countries dropped their long-standing presidential allies and demanded new leadership. When massive human rights abuses loomed in Libya and Ivory Coast, the international community acted decisively. That backdrop makes it all the more puzzling why the two countries where human rights abuses are worst in the world—Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo—have received such comparatively tepid international responses. Read More »
Just over a week ago, a group of students and I who are part of the Coalition for a Conflict-Free Duke sent a video message to Tim Cook, Apple CEO and fellow Dukie, imploring him to create a conflict-free product by the end of 2013. Student leader Stefani Jones wrote this blog post that originally appeared on Huffington Post. Read More »
On Wednesday night, Gaithersburg, Maryland became the epicenter of the grassroots movement to end the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The small, unassuming town reminds you of something out of a scene from "Gone with the Wind." Complete with an old train station and a main street lined with small storefronts, Gaithersburg isn’t the place where you might necessarily expect neighbors, students, community leaders, and Congolese immigrants to gather to discuss how their community can affect change in the Congo. Read More »
The BBC published an article today—notably quoting three Enoughers or former Enoughers—called “How to offset your ‘conflict minerals’ guilt,” about the link between our electronics and the atrocities committed by armed groups in Congo over the control of key mines. However, as the article reveals, this issue is not about feeling guilty but about harnessing the power of technology for good, to feel empowered to help spur change in eastern Congo. Read More »