International Institutions

29 Smelters Go Conflict Free, More Help from Aerospace Companies Needed

Last week, the electronics industry updated its list of audited conflict-free smelters to 29. This is up from 11 smelters in the Conflict-Free Smelter program, or CFS, at the start of 2012—nearly tripling the size of the program over the past year.  Read More »

Joint NGO Letter on Congo Crisis to President Obama

The Enough Project and a coalition of international NGOs call on President Obama to lead  the response on the crisis in eastern Congo and to appoint a special Presidental Envoy to support peace efforts in the region. 

President Obama

Rights Groups Call on Obama to Lead Response to Congo Crisis and Appoint Envoy

Date: 
Dec 10, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Tracy Fehr, tfehr@enoughproject.org, +1 202-459-1219

WASHINGTON, DC – The Enough Project has joined a coalition of human rights groups calling on President Obama to lead a coordinated U.S. response to the escalating crisis in eastern Congo.

Today, the coalition sent a letter to President Obama asking him to appoint a Presidential Envoy and support the appointment of a U.N. envoy to the Great Lakes region, to support the imposition of sanctions against violators of the U.N. Arms Embargo on Congo, and to cut military assistance and suspend non-humanitarian aid to the government of Rwanda for its support of the M23 insurgency.

The coalition welcomes regional efforts by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region to find a solution to the crisis, but also recognizes that the regional process’s stopgap approach and reliance on military solutions will not bring sustainable peace to the region. The coalition argues that efforts to achieve a durable peace must be led, not by those who continue to perpetuate the conflict, but rather by a credible internationally facilitated process.

“The current crisis in eastern Congo requires the U.S. to step up its efforts to uphold international law and demonstrate its commitment to human rights,” said John C. Bradshaw, Executive Director of the Enough Project. “Regional intervention in eastern Congo continues to perpetuate a cycle of violence and conflict that cannot be addressed without the support of regional and international actors. The U.S. should appoint a Presidential Envoy to support a credible process that will both cease hostilities and address the underlying economic and political interests to ensure long-term peace and stability for the region.”

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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.

Foreign Policy Op-ed: The 7 Deadly Sins of Congo's Peace Process

Only in the Alice in Wonderland world of war-torn eastern Congo would the withdrawal of M23 rebels from Congo's eastern provincial capital of Goma be cause for major celebration. The truth is that the retreat is just the latest chapter in a long story involving competing mafia-like political and military alliances controlled by leaders in the capitals of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda, all of whom justify their actions in terms of national security concerns to mask economic and political interests.  Read More »

Congo Peace Talks Must Be Broadened to Include Economic and Political Issues – Enough Project

Date: 
Dec 7, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jonathan Hutson, jhutson@enoughproject.org, +1-202-386-1618  

GOMA, DR CONGO and WASHINGTON, DC – Regional peace talks on eastern Congo’s crisis due to begin today in Kampala, Uganda are not enough to resolve the protracted conflict, says the Enough Project.

The regional talks—which include Congolese President Joseph Kabila, the M23 rebel movement, and a very limited number of Congolese civil society groups—must be broadened to include wider representation of civil society, political parties, and the private sector in order to address the systemic economic and political drivers of the war, according to an Enough Project policy brief.

Fighting between the M23 rebel group and the Congolese army escalated two weeks ago, when the rebels seized control of Goma, a key city in eastern Congo. To address the growing violence, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni will broker the Kampala talks, the first round of which is expected to take no more than one week. However, Museveni’s role as mediator is particularly concerning because a U.N. Group of Experts report recently linked Uganda to support for the M23.

John Prendergast, Enough Project Co-founder, said:

“The UN Security Council must act quickly to appoint a senior, respected African mediator to work with the African Union and help lead a broadened peace process quickly. Regional governments can't be both negotiating and mediating at the same time, as that excludes the vast majority of eastern Congolese voices and issues from consideration. The Obama administration should support the process robustly and appoint a senior presidential envoy to work with the UN and AU mediators. This is only the start of the process, but the international community must be swift, before a hasty deal is made that will only patch over the real issues at hand.”

Sasha Lezhnev, Enough Project Senior Policy Analyst, said:

“The peace process, as it currently stands, is going to be far too narrow, both on the issues it covers and the players that are involved. The bigger political issues remain for President Kabila, which is going to be a major problem for him, because his power is waning. Congolese civil society and political parties must be brought in through a wider inter-Congolese dialogue. If the talks only focus on security, rather than the critical underlying political and economic issues, the crisis will repeat itself again in two years.” 

Aaron Hall, co-author of the brief and Enough Project Associate Director of Research, said:

“The current conflict in eastern Congo has revealed new evidence of support for armed groups from the governments of Rwanda and Uganda and confirmed evidence of continued mismanagement within the governance and security sectors of Congo. However, the causes and dynamics of the long-standing conflict are unchanged. If the cycle of regional foreign intervention, economic exploitation, and rapacious governance in eastern Congo is not broken, there is no chance for peace in the region.”

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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.

‘Crime Against Humanity’: Sudan Burns 26 Nuban Villages Across 54 Square Miles

"Razing a village is a war crime, and the torching of now at least 26 Nuban villages, plus the systematic destruction of crops and grasslands for cattle, is a crime against humanity,” said George Clooney, Co-founder of Satellite Sentinel Project. “What we’re seeing here is a widespread campaign of village and crop burning.”  Read More »

M23 Rebels Leave Goma Ahead of Negotiations

A semblance of normal life is returning to Goma, with a few banks, shops, and schools reopening. But despite the presence of 600 policemen and a battalion of government forces who deployed to the city following M23’s withdrawal, people are still petrified that M23 might return. Ahead of talks with the Congolese government, the rebels have continued to posture by threatening to retake Goma if their demands are not met.  Read More »

Education Without Limits: Reflecting on Visit to Darfuri Refugee Schools

During my recent three-week trip to eastern Chad to visit the Darfuri refugee camps Djabal and Goz Amer, I had lots of conversations. The meetings under trees, in classrooms, and community centers throughout the camps made me realize how much I took education and what it means for granted. We understand the need and importance of education, yet we underestimate its power and potential to radically improve the human existence.  Read More »

New Report Warns UN and AU Are Failing to Defeat the LRA

Date: 
Dec 5, 2012

Joint Press Release (PDF)

Contact: Enough Project - Tracy Fehr, tfehr@enoughproject.org, +1 202-459-1219

Nearly six months on from the launch of a U.N. strategy aimed at ending 26 years of violence by the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, a joint report by a coalition of non-governmental organizations reveals today that the strategy has failed to make meaningful progress toward its core objectives. The report is released ahead of U.N. Security Council consultations on the LRA set for December 18th.

Tepid political commitment from regional governments, lack of urgency from the U.N., and an under-resourced African Union mission are the key causes of the failure.

For too long, the people of the central Africa have suffered from unspeakable atrocities committed by the LRA. Their children have been abducted and murdered. Their families have been forced from their homes and their livelihoods destroyed. The UN has shown great leadership, and invested a great deal, in developing a strategy to support these populations and respond to the horrors of the LRA. It must not fall short now. There is too much at stake and too much to lose,” Ben Keesey, Chief Executive Officer of Invisible Children, said.

The report comes as violence is again escalating in the Democratic Republic of Congo and amid reports that the Sudanese government is harboring the LRA. Both of these developments could give the LRA the opportunity to reassert itself in the region. The evidence of ineffective U.N./African Union collaboration is also of concern in the light of a likely military intervention in Mali.

This report is a wakeup call for the Security Council. Unless they reenergize the strategy and ensure that regional governments are effectively engaged then the whole process could fall apart. The Secretary General must publicly affirm his determination to see the UN Regional Strategy on the LRA implemented in full,” said Ernest Sugule, National Coordinator of Solidarité et Assistance intégrale aux Personnes Démunies (SAIPED), in the DRC.

The international community also has a critical role to play to support the UN and AU’s efforts.

“The UN, in partnership with the African Union and international donors, should vigorously lead the effort to end the LRA conflict. To deliver on the UN strategy will require more troops, access for the troops to LRA safe havens, enhanced intelligence, and improved efforts to promote defections. At this critical moment, the UN must rise to the challenge,” John Bradshaw, Executive Director of the Enough Project, said.

Read the full report: “Getting Back on Track: Implementing the U.N. Regional Strategy on the Lord’s Resistance Army

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Spokespeople from signatory NGOs and external experts will be available. To find out more and/or to request an advance copy of the report under embargo, please contact: Jake Goodman, +1 917 767-3609, Jake.Goodman@crisisaction.org, James Denselow, +44 793 260-7711, James.Denselow@crisisaction.org

Signatory organizations:

1. African Association for the Defense of Human Rights (ASADHO)

2. Congolese Action for Access to Justice (ACAJ)

3. Dungu-Doruma Diocesan Commission for Justice and Peace (CDJP)

4. The Enough Project

5. European Network for Central Africa (EurAc)

6. Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect

7. Group LOTUS

8. IKV Pax Christi

9. Invisible Children

10. Resolve

11. Solidarity and Integrated Assistance to Vulnerable Populations (SAIPED)

Crisis Action works behind the scenes to enable our partners to respond jointly to conflict and crises. Crisis Action should not be cited in media reports.

 

New Policy Brief: Why Congo Needs a Broadened Peace Process

M23 rebel soldiers in Congo

Last week, on November 20, the M23 rebels seized Goma, a major city in eastern Congo, escalating the ongoing conflict and highlighting the urgency for a credible peace process. Over the weekend, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, or ICGLR, met in Kampala for a high-level crisis summit—attended by the presidents of Congo and Uganda as well as by representatives of the M23—to discuss the increasing crisis.  Read More »

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