The Madison City Council in Wisconsin passed a resolution earlier this week symbolically declaring the city conflict free. The resolution comes after nearly two years of a growing student movement at University of Wisconsin-Madison that campaigned the city and University to denounce the use of minerals that fuel violence and change their electronics purchasing practices to favor verifiable conflict-free products.
Last month, student activists in Madison, WI seized energy from a rally for a conflict-free Congo with Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and celebrity activist Emmanuelle Chriqui. Their hard work was realized on Tuesday, December 3, 2013 when City Council leaders unanimously approved a city resolution (RES-13-00898).
Over the past several years, student activists throughout the U.S. have been working with theConflict-Free Campus Initiative, a student-led initiative that is active on 150 campuses across the country and abroad, to pass resolutions through campus administrations. Resolutions have been passed on 16 campuses, including Duke and Stanford, and in state-wide legislation in California and Maryland. Madison joins other cities such as Pittsburgh, PA, St. Petersburg, FL, and Edina, MN who have passed similar resolutions.
The Enough Project’s Raise Hope for Congo campaign, an initiative of the anti-genocide group in Washington, commended the city’s leadership.
Raise Hope for Congo Campaign Manager JD Stier said:
"Wisconsin is home to U.S. Special Envoy to the Great Lakes region, Russ Feingold as well as Congo activist Aaron Rodgers, placing Madison at the forefront of the human rights movement for peace in Congo. By leading the call to go conflict-free, Madison can inspire other cities across the nation to join the conflict-free movement."
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.
In early October, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Independent National Electoral Commission, or INEC, declared the release of a roadmap for the 2013-2016 election cycle on November 8, 2013. Read More »
In a time of deeply divided governance, Republicans and Democrats have been united in supporting U.S. efforts to help African forces bring an end to the terror sowed by Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) militia. Read More »
The Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, has grown weaker in the past two years as the Ugandan-led and U.S.-supported counter-LRA African Union Regional Task Force, or AU-RTF, has pursued its mission to eliminate the rebel group. The regional force,however, lacks the logistical capacity and authorization to access key areas where LRA groups operate in remote areas in Central Africa.
Central Africa: Access to Remote Areas Needed to Eliminate The LRA Rebel Group
Washington, D.C. --- Today, as the U.N. Security Council meets to discuss the status of the counter-Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, mission, the Enough Project released a new report, highlighting gaps in the fight to eliminate the LRA. The report, “Blind Spots: Gaining Access to Where the LRA Operates”, based on field research across central Africa, emphasizes a major obstacle in eliminating the rebel group: the lack of access to remote areas in central Africa where the LRA is known to be hiding and operating.
The counter-LRA mission, led by Ugandan forces and backed by the U.S.-supported African Union Regional Task Force, or AU-RTF, has made significant progress in the past two years, including increased defections from the rebel group, a decrease of more than 50 percent in attacks, and significant improvement for human security and protection of civilians.
“Gaining Access” argues that despite the AU-RTF’s progress in eliminating some of the LRA’s safe havens, including longtime strongholds in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC, LRA history reveals that the group can survive in a shrunken state and expand rapidly when circumstances and external support allow, a factor that can significantly curb the momentum of the mission, unless the senior leadership of LRA is removed and the group completely dismantled. The rebels are down to only 250-300 fighters, but are responsible for the displacement of more than 350,000 civilians. The LRA have found safe havens in remote areas of northeastern DRC, the eastern parts of Central African Republic and in the Sudan controlled Kafia Kingi enclave---where logistical and political blocks have denied the AU-RTF access to pursue the LRA.
Kasper Agger, author of the report, states:
“The endgame of removing LRA leader Joseph Kony from the battlefield and neutralizing the LRA is imperiled by the lack of access to wide swathes of central Africa where the group still hides. Expanded regional cooperation and increased logistical support for the mission are critical to boosting ongoing counter-LRA efforts and bringing a final end to the LRA rebel group.”
Currently, the largest hindrances to access are the lack of cooperation among regional governments and uncoordinated international support for the AU-RTF. Counter-LRA efforts are also undermined by the lack of full cross-border coordination, information sharing among regional forces, and limited logistical capabilities to cover large areas where the LRA reside. The report calls on international stakeholders, the United Nations, the African Union and the U.S. to use diplomatic leverage to forge an agreement between the leaders of the Sudans, Uganda, the DRC and the Central African Republic to ensure access for AU-RTF troops to all areas where the LRA operate and general support for counter-LRA efforts within their territories. The international community can also play a key role in ensuring a fully operational AU-RTF, equipped with sufficient communications assets and increased logistical capacity.
Consolidating and increasing the support for the mission will not only boost the decades-long effort to eliminate the LRA, but could also serve as a model for how to secure the long-term security of remote border areas in Africa.
Although substantial progress has been made in supply chain reform and demilitarizing mines in the DRC, gaps in the mineral certification process threaten to undermine these advances, a new Enough Project report argues. Read More »