Twenty years after Rwanda’s horrors, there are signs of hope for a more effective international response to future genocides—but only if we recognize the evolution in genocidal tactics. This op-ed by John Prendergast originally appeared in The Daily Beast on the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. Read More »
As the African Union prepares to reconvene talks between the Sudanese Government and Rebel Leaders, the stakes for peace and for civilians affected by the conflict are higher than ever. February 2014 was the deadliest month for civilians in South Kordofan due to aerial bombardment since 2011. Read More »
Addressing Root Causes of Sudan’s Wars Key to Sudan Peace Agenda
Washington, DC — As the African Union convenes talks with the Sudanese government and rebel leaders, a new Enough Project report advocates a more comprehensive and inclusive humanitarian ceasefire and an overall peace process that addresses urgent needs across Sudan’s periphery in a coordinated way. The report, “Sudan’s Tortured Peace Process,” urges African Union and American diplomats to recognize the interconnected nature of Sudan’s conflicts and pursue approaches that recognize the interests of all parties. It argues that a comprehensive approach, addressing marginalization across Sudan, can bring transformative political change that Sudanese people demand.
Sudan’s peace processes are currently segmented, with separate, ineffective frameworks for Darfur and the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile). The separate structures fail to reflect the interconnected nature of the rebel coalition and the active conflicts--where a break in hostilities in one area can worsen the fighting elsewhere. As talks on the Two Areas resume in Addis Ababa, rebel leaders seek discussion of broader issues while Sudanese government officials and African Union mediators resist holistic talks. Many groups, including Sudanese civil society organizations, independent international analysts, African Union and European Union leaders, and U.S. officials have endorsed a comprehensive approach. The international community has failed, however, to commit the necessary diplomatic resources to build a broad international coalition to support such a peace process.
As violence escalates and urgent humanitarian needs increase, the divided approach to integrated problems undermines efforts to address urgent humanitarian needs.
Omer Ismail, Enough Project Sudan Advisor, says:
"The international community has done little to reject this stove-piping of Sudan’s conflicts. As conflicts in Sudan’s periphery worsen, the negotiating parties must stop pursuing this dead-end approach to the peace process that plays directly into Khartoum’s divide and conquer strategy."
To effectively advance a holistic peace agenda in Sudan, the report recommends that African Union and U.S. leaders take four critical steps:
1. African Union mediators should unify national dialogues and separate peace processes to comprehensively address conflicts in Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile and eastern Sudan.
2. The U.S. should build an international coalition to push for a comprehensive peace process and boost its diplomatic efforts by deploying an additional U.S. envoy.
3. American lawmakers should pass a measure to allow capacity-building support for Sudan’s opposition and civil society; and
4. The U.S. should use targeted sanctions and other sources of financial leverage to pressure combatants to pursue a comprehensive peace initiative.
Akshaya Kumar, Enough Project Sudan and South Sudan Analyst, says:
"A divided peace process mounts especially high stakes for civilians living in Sudan’s conflict-affected areas. This year’s rainy season is beginning early, putting millions at risk of food insecurity. An estimated four million in Sudan now face “emergency level” insecurity."
Our generation went to college when green “Save Darfur” rubber bracelets were ubiquitous on campuses across the country. Congress passed a unanimous resolution in 2004 declaring that the situation in Darfur amounted to a state-sponsored genocide by proxy Janjaweed militias. We stood on the National Mall and chanted “never again starts right now.” A decade later … Darfur is up in flames once again. Read More »
Since the defeat of the M23 in eastern Congo, around 8,000 combatants of other rebel groups surrendered to the Congolese army. The surrenders are a very positive development, but the Congolese government together with are slow to put in place a robust disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration program (DDR). They risk losing a great opportunity for peace. Read More »
In Abyei, a small but strategically important disputed area on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, rising inter-communal tensions have resulted in a marked escalation in conflict in recent weeks.
New Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) imagery shows at least 10 huts were burned since February 9, 2014 in Duk Payuel, in South Sudan’s Jonglei state. The area is home to the John Dau Foundation’s Duk Lost Boys Clinic and another project supported by former Lost Boy Joseph Akol Makeer: the African Heart American Soul Foundation's orphanage. Read More »
Implementing a viable and effective national strategy on disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration, or DDR, of ex-combatants of armed groups in eastern Congo is an urgent issue in the regional peace process for the Democratic Republic of Congo, argues a new Enough report.
By Fidel Bafilemba, Aaron Hall, and Timo Mueller | Feb 27, 2014
Congo: New Opportunity on DDR for Congo Peace Process
Goma, DRC and Nairobi, Kenya – Ahead of the March 5-6 meeting of the International Contact Group on Congo, the Enough Project released a new report today outlining challenges to the successful implementation of the national disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration, or DDR, strategy known as DDR III. The report, “Crafting a Viable DDR Strategy for Congo,” argues that resolving outstanding differences on DDR III must be a priority in the overarching regional peace agenda for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to the UN, nearly 8,000 combatants from a range of armed groups have surrendered since the official defeat of M23 in November 2013. Of that 8,000, 2,674 combatants, accompanied by 3,084 dependents, surrendered to the Congolese national army, or FARDC, at the transit camp of Bweremana, in Masisi, North Kivu province. The Enough Project report states that an effective program to rehabilitate ex-combatants is hindered by questions concerning funding, the current security environment, the fate of M23, and where and how to resettle ex-combatants. Additionally, previous DDR programs have been ineffective in the inclusion of justice and accountability while incentivizing defection.
Aaron Hall, co-author of the report and Enough Project Field Consultant, says,
“Implementing a viable and effective national DDR strategy in eastern Congo is now an urgent issue. New opportunities for the Congolese government and its international partners to establish stability in eastern Congo have become apparent since the signing of the U.N. Peace and Security Framework, and the fall of the M23. However, the speed and efficacy with which they implement a national DDR strategy will to a great extent determine the future of peace and economic growth in the region."
The report urges the United Nations and U.S. Special Envoys to the Great Lakes, Mary Robinson and Russ Feingold, other leaders and donors, and the Congolese government to address these issues before the International Contact Group on Congo meeting on March 5-6. Integrating lessons from previous national DDR strategies can help the Congolese government effectively and swiftly disarm a large portion of armed groups in eastern Congo and reintegrate ex-combatants into the military or provide alternative livelihoods, further incentivizing existing armed groups to surrender to the FARDC.
Timo Mueller, co-author of the report and Enough Project Field Researcher in Congo, says
"The success or failure of the DDR process is a major factor that determines the propensity of renewed violence. At its worst, an ill-designed program might become a conflict driver itself. Implementing partners should draw on the lessons learnt and pay particular attention to the reintegration of combatants, the most difficult part of the DDR process."
The national DDR strategy is one element of the peace process. The report states that it must be implemented in coordination with related regional peace and security agreements, including the U.N. PSC Framework and the International Security Stabilization and Support Strategy, or I4S. Coordinating these efforts will determine the success of DDR efforts and the long-term peace and stability of the region.