WASHINGTON, DC – The existing peace process in eastern Congo must be enhanced to address the economic, political, and security issues that lie at the heart of the escalating conflict, according to a new Enough Project policy brief released today.
The brief argues that, to date, the regionally mediated peace talks in Congo have only focused on short-term security agreements and completely ignored the core drivers of conflict. The peace process must be built on a shared economic and political framework based on a broad inter-Congolese dialogue. If President Kabila does not address these issues through inclusive dialogue, he may not survive politically.
“An enhanced process must directly address the underlying economic, political, and security interests of the ‘3 K’s’—Kinshasa, Kigali, and Kampala—all of whom have profited from the chaos of eastern Congo, to end the cyclical horrors of regional intervention and state predation,” said John Prendergast, co-author of the brief and co-founder of the Enough Project. “To further ensure long-term stability in the region, the critical interests of eastern Congolese civil society must also be incorporated into the peace process.”
The brief calls on the international community to provide incentives, pressures, and lasting support for the peace process as a whole, as well as help with the implementation framework. Getting all parties to agree on these fundamental issues will be a revolutionary step toward peace in the region.
"Uganda has been aiding M23 and is not the right party to mediate the peace process for Congo,” said Sasha Lezhnev, co-author of the brief and Enough Project Senior Policy Analyst. “It is time to shake things up, appoint a serious, high-level mediator, and deal with the actual economic and political reasons why the groups have been fighting. The U.S. should appoint a presidential envoy to work on such a peace process."
The report also recommends that the U.S. and European Union help expand the economic pie for Congo and countries in the region by organizing a summit on responsible, transparent, conflict-free investment in the region. Dealing with the economic roots of war not only removes the main driver of the conflict, but creates the primary catalyst for state reconstruction. Recent economic transparency reforms in the region are starting to offer a new path for the future, whereby resources such as conflict minerals can be part of the engine for peace and development instead of war.
This brief is the second in a three-part series on the process, substance, and leverage necessary to create a path towards a viable peace in eastern Congo and the surrounding region.
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.
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If you have been reading about eastern Congo lately, one name has been stealing headlines: M23. In a dramatic show of force, the Rwanda-supported rebel militia group led by ICC indictee Bosco Ntaganda took control of strategically important Goma in mid- November and then earned a place at the ongoing peace talks in Kampala by ending their 11-day occupation earlier this week.
However, focusing on the M23 belies the complexity of the highly militarized politics of eastern Congo. Read More »
This piece first appeared as part of New York Times’ "Room for Debate." Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast and others—including writer Eve Ensler, consultant and analyst Willet Weeks, Kambale Musavuli of Friends of the Congo, Yaa-Lengi Ngemi of the Congo Coalition, and Séverine Autesserre of Columbia University—address the complex question: How to stabilize Congo? Read More »
As we were making our way home to be with family and friends this Thanksgiving, the M23 rebel group backed by Rwanda and Uganda stormed and seized Goma, one of the largest cities in eastern Congo. This is the first time since 2004, at the height of Congo's conflict, that rebels have occupied the city of Goma. A week has gone by, but the U.S. media and government have barely acknowledged this escalating crisis. Read More »
Earlier this year, Congolese activist Bandi Mbubi was chosen to speak at a TEDx Talk at the University of Exeter in southwest England focusing on “Sustainability and Our Interconnected World.” His words brought those in the audience to tears and have inspired many others throughout the world, including us here at the Enough Project. Read More »
Barack Obama's victory over Mitt Romney could have significant implications for America's approach to countries ranging from China to Russia. But U.S. policy toward Africa was unlikely to shift dramatically no matter who was elected president this week -- a remarkable fact considering that nearly every foreign policy issue is cannon fodder for partisan battles these days. Read More »
Today, the Enough Project's Raise Hope for Congo campaign launched the first-ever Instagram petition calling for the next president of the United States to prioritize the conflict in eastern Congo. Read More »