Here at Enough, we often swap emails with interesting articles and feature stories that we come across in our favorite publications and on our favorite websites. We wanted to share some of these stories with you as part of our effort to keep you up to date on what you need to know in the world of anti-genocide and crimes against humanity work.Read More »
Secretary of State John Kerry will attend the African Union Heads of State Summit this weekend. Kerry’s participation in the summit —which marks 50 years of African regional cooperation—presents an opportunity to improve leverage for substantive outcomes. In partnership with African leaders, Kerry can help ensure that this summit has an impact by pushing for credible peace processes in Africa’s two deadliest wars: Sudan and Congo. Read More »
More than 70 Heads of State will gather this week to attend the 21st Africa Union summit which coincides with a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the continental institution. The summit’s theme “Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance” will unfold with a call for Africans to “realize the dream of the founding fathers for a peaceful, prosperous, and united Africa”. Read More »
The Congolese military has again been accused of significant human-rights abuses, including mass rape. Recently, the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office released a report concerning abuses by the Congolese Army (FARDC) as it retreated from advancing M23 rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo between Nov. 15 and Dec. 2. Read More »
Right now, in 2013, it has been ten years since the tragedy occurring in Darfur started. In 2003, the Sudanese government began supporting militia groups called the Janjaweed (“Devil on Horseback” in Arabic) to terrorize villages in Darfur because of their ethnicity and with goals of acquiring land and resources. These actions have been widely recognized as genocide. Read More »
On Monday morning, the M23 rebel group and the Congolese army, or FARDC, clashed in the village of Mutaho, approximately six miles northwest of the provincial capital of Goma. The fighting comes after six months of relative calm between the warring parties following the 12-day occupation of Goma by M23 in November 2012. Read More »
Goma, DR Congo and Washington, DC – Significant international repercussions for neighboring government support to rebels in Congo, and consumer pressure on companies that trade in conflict minerals, are weakening armed groups and providing new leverage for U.N. envoy Mary Robinson’s efforts to help build peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo, argues the Enough Project in a new report [http://www.enoughproject.org/files/MaryRobinsonsNextStepsToEndCongosDeadlyWar.pdf].
Enough Project Congo Researcher and report co-author Fidel Bafilemba said:
International pressure on Rwanda to stop supporting armed groups, and on Congo to enact reforms, helped split M23 and led to Bosco Ntaganda’s surrender to the International Criminal Court. U.N. envoy Mary Robinson can take advantage of this moment and initiate a comprehensive peace process that includes regional negotiations and a Congolese democratic reform process. Civil society must be at the negotiation table this time around.
For too long, the “Three K’s”— Kigali, Kampala, and Kinshasa – have been competing violently in eastern Congo, but the Dodd-Frank legislation on conflict minerals has made it much more difficult to profit from the illicit trade. Now is the time to offer the region a forum to legitimately cooperate on economic and security issues. To provide incentives for the economic talks, the Obama administration should launch a responsible investment initiative with the private sector and NGOs that explores expanded investments in conflict-free natural resources in the region.
Because of its close relationship with, and ability to influence Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda, the U.S. government should play an active role in Congo’s peace process. The report, “Mary Robinson’s Next Steps to Help End Congo’s Deadly War,” offers six recommendations, including that the U.S. rapidly deploy a senior U.S. envoy to support the peace process; sanction key gold smugglers and officials aiding armed groups; provide military advisors to the U.N. Intervention Brigade to combat spoiler armed groups; and support the International Criminal Court to investigate and issue arrest warrants for at-large war criminals in eastern Congo.
Enough Project Co-founder and report co-author John Prendergast said:
One of the most pressing challenges for Special Envoy Robinson and other diplomats will be the construction of a credible process that allows Rwanda, Uganda, and Congo to work together to address the security and economic drivers of violence in eastern Congo. Working together to enhance regional infrastructure, undertake joint economic projects, and create a conflict-free minerals trade will attract foreign investment and allow the regional economic pie to grow larger, thus benefiting everyone. That will be the biggest incentive for peace in the Great Lakes region, and provide the international community with real leverage to end violent conflict there.
The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more about Enough, go to www.enoughproject.org.
Peace has a better chance to take root in eastern Congo now than at any time since the cycle of conflict began in the early to mid-1990s. This report analyzes the factors that contribute to the unique role the U.N. special envoy Mary Robinson can play in establishing a more comprehensive and inclusive peace process that addresses the core drivers of violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
By Fidel Bafilemba, Sasha Lezhnev, and John Prendergast | May 16, 2013
Contact: Jonathan Hutson, email@example.com
Darfur's Gold Rush Spurs Violence, Instability, and Humanitarian Crisis
WASHINGTON – The Sudanese government's interest the unprecedented level of gold production from the Jebel 'Amer area of North Darfur – where workers and rescuers recently died in multiple mine collapses – has spurred state-sponsored violence and displacement, argues a new report by the Enough Project and the Satellite Sentinel Project.
The report, which draws on extensive interviews and DigitalGlobe satellite imagery, challenges Khartoum's characterization of violence in the region as "inter-tribal" battles.
Report co-author Omer Ismail, a Sudanese activist on Darfur and a senior adviser to the Enough Project, stated:
"The Sudanese government asserts that Darfur is beset by 'inter-tribal' tensions that inevitably result in violence. However, the evidence shows that Khartoum systematically spurs these clashes by sponsoring militias and taking sides. This year alone, we've seen government forces exacerbate clashes by backing the Abbala versus the Beni Hussein; the Beni Halba versus the Gimr; and the Taaysha versus the Salamat. Government-armed Abbala militias' recent power play to control North Darfur's gold mines represents a continuation of state-sponsored atrocity and plunder."
Co-author Akshaya Kumar, an Enough Project policy analyst, stated:
"Ten years after the genocide began; state-sponsored violence has once more taken hold of the region. Cash-strapped and dollar-starved, Sudan sees gold as its new oil. The recent gold discoveries are fueling atrocities again in Darfur. More than five times as many people were displaced in the first few months of 2013 than in the entirety of 2012."
DigitalGlobe satellite imagery featured in the report illustrates the major influx of thousands of artisanal miners into Jebel 'Amer, North Darfur, between February 2012 and January 2013, as well as confirming major displacement, consistent with U.N. reports that by April 2013, more than 150,000 people have been displaced due to the recent fighting. In December 2012, Sudan's minerals ministry declared that 4,000 new gold mines, which yielded approximately $2.2 billion in 2012, are operating in the Jebel Amir area.
"Most of the gold from Darfur has been produced by unlicensed, artisanal mines, which are difficult for Khartoum to tax," explained Kumar. "This helps explain the government's drive to consolidate control over the mines."
Following the regional violence in January and February, which displaced some 150,000 miners and their families, the governor of North Darfur banned mining in the Jebel 'Amer area. However, many mines continued to operate.
On April 29, Sudanese officials – including Jebel 'Amer District Chief Haroun al-Hassan -- initially reported that at least 60 workers died there in two collapses of a gold mine shaft that descended 131 feet (40m). On May 6, Sudan's state-owned SUNA news agency sharply revised the estimated number of casualties downward to five deaths and five injuries. However, miners who had been on the scene during the disaster and failed rescue efforts reported to the Agence France-Presse wire service that more than 100 workers were trapped and killed when several mines close together collapsed, and that nine rescuers also disappeared when the ground crumbled underneath them.
Darfur is suffering its worst humanitarian crisis in years. Since the beginning of 2013, over 200,000 people have been displaced by what the government of Sudan dismisses as “inter-communal” violence. Ten years after the first reports of genocide trickled out of Darfur, an eerie echo of the past is sweeping across the region. The government of Sudan would like the world to believe that Darfur is plagued by intractable inter-tribal hatreds that inevitably lead to violent destabilizing conflict. But in a new report, “Darfur's Gold Rush: State-Sponsored Atrocities 10 Years After the Genocide,” Enough Project Senior Advisor Omer Ismail and I challenge that descriptive framework. Our research shows that government-armed Abbala militias’ recent power play to displace the Beni Hussein people and thereby gain control North Darfur’s gold mines is not the product of inter-tribal rivalries. Instead, the Abbala offensive must be understood as a continuation of Khartoum’s campaign of state-sponsored atrocity and plunder in the region. Read More »