There has never been a better chance than now for sustainable peace to take hold in eastern Congo since the current phase of conflict began in the mid-1990s. This activist brief looks at the role that the United Nations and U.S. government can play in ensuring that the new peace process brings lasting stability to the Congolese people.
Enough Project Policy Alerts provide a reaction and set of recommnendations to a significant development designed for policymakers, advocates, and other influential people participating in the policy making process.
In a welcome move on May 29, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice called on the Ugandan/African Union mission against the Lord’s Resistance Army to restart operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Read More »
This report, based on field research conducted by Kasper Agger and Jonathan Hutson in January 2013, documents new evidence that the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, has turned to elephant poaching as a means to fuel its atrocities.This report is a co-production of the Enough Project, The Resolve, Invisible Children, and the Satellite Sentinel Project (with DigitalGlobe).
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 »
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 »
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.