Press Releases

Sudan: Civilians Endure Worst of War in Blue Nile State

Date: 
Jul 12, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jonathan Hutson, jhutson@enoughproject.org

+1-202-386-1618

Sudan: Civilians Endure Worst of War in Blue Nile State

WASHINGTON – A new multimedia report and video with eyewitness accounts from rebel-held areas in Sudan’s Blue Nile state document how Khartoum’s campaign of indiscriminate air strikes, coupled with an escalation in ground fighting, is driving out the civilian population and causing a regional humanitarian crisis, according to the Enough Project.

“Sudan’s Bloody Periphery: The Toll on Civilians from the War in Blue Nile State”, written for the Enough Project by academic and analyst Matthew LeRiche, Ph.D., reveals that the government of Sudan’s campaign of oppression, including an ongoing blockade of humanitarian access to the region, has spurred influxes of refugees from Blue Nile to Ethiopia and South Sudan.

In March 2013, armed conflict between Sudan Armed Forces, or SAF, and an alliance of rebel forces known as the Sudan Revolutionary Front, or SRF, in Blue Nile increased and intensified significantly. This fighting has resulted in significant civilian casualties and displacement, as evidence by eyewitness reports, videos of SAF Antonovs dropping bombs on villages, and a buildup of informal settlements for internally displaced persons.

A new round of SAF ground attacks during the dry season in early 2013—in addition to near-daily, indiscriminate bombardment—marked a shift in tactics, causing even more civilians to flee the violence. The violence was particularly severe against the communities of the Ingessena Hills, the home area of the former elected governor of Blue Nile, Malik Agar, who is also leader of the SRF.

Refugees continue to flee due to aerial bombing, food shortages, and disease; a large number have fled their homes in early 2013 to escape the crossfire from ground attacks and engagement between SPLM-N and SAF forces. More than 1,000 new refugees fled to South Sudan and Ethiopia, adding to the 100,000 already in the refugee camps.

The report’s companion video, written and produced by LeRiche and and directed by Viktor Pesenti for the Enough Project, includes interviews with newly displaced civilians and captures vivid imagery of the aftermath of attacks on the population. The affected populations have also suffered increased hunger and malnutrition, as agricultural productivity has been abandoned as the threat of bomber attacks prevents farmers from harvesting their crops.

Report author and independent filmmaker Matthew Leriche states:

“The people in Blue Nile are suffering routine aerial bombardment and bear the brunt of the government of Sudan’s scorched-earth tactics. They endure miserable living conditions with limited humanitarian assistance, and the conditions only continue to worsen.”

Enough Project Director of Research Mark Quarterman states:

“Indiscriminate attacks on Blue Nile state have caused a massive toll on the civilian population, and the continuation of this regional crisis carries the potential for even larger refugee and displaced populations. The systematic and deliberate targeting of civilians is an alarming pattern, and violates humanitarian law.”

Read the full report, “Sudan’s Bloody Periphery: The Toll on Civilians from the War in Blue Nile State”: http://www.enoughproject.org/files/SudansBloodyPeriphery_FieldDispatch.pdf

Watch the video, “Bombing in Sudan’s Blue Nile State”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1J

Download images from the report on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/enoughproject/sets/72157634356926027/

Enough Project Applauds Rice's Ascendance as National Security Adviser

Date: 
Jul 1, 2013

ENOUGH PROJECT MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Enough Project Applauds Rice's Ascendance as National Security Adviser

WASHINGTON -- The Enough Project congratulates Ambassador Susan Rice, who assumed her new post as President Barack Obama's National Security Adviser on July 1. She faces deteriorating security situations in Sudan, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as unique opportunities for peace in those countries.

Enough Project Co-Founder John Prendergast said:

“Ambassador Rice may not be the most conventional of diplomats, but she is relentless and thoughtful, infusing values and American interests at the core of her unceasing efforts to make a positive difference around the world. Having a firm grasp of U.S. interests in a rapidly evolving world in crucial for a National Security Adviser. My time on the National Security Council staff with Ambassador Rice in the Clinton administration was like a seminar in U.S. interests from an elite professor. Anyone who has worked with Rice would agree that she possesses strong ethical standards and works from a set of well-developed principles that guides her actions. Issues and crises will come and go, but having a deep well of character from which to draw is crucial in the role she is assuming."

Enough Project Executive Director John C. Bradshaw said:
 
"The Enough Project looks forward to working with National Security Adviser Rice on atrocity prevention and in this critical moment of opportunity for U.S. policy toward Sudan, South Sudan, the Congo, and other nations in Africa's Great Lakes region. Rice has the necessary experience and commitment to continue to elevate atrocity prevention as a national security and foreign policy priority. She should work to secure a comprehensive peace deal for Sudan with the goal of democratic transformation at its core. Sustained participation by opposition political parties, the Sudan Revolutionary Front, civil society, and youth in such a deal will level the playing field for a new Sudan.

"National Security Adviser Rice can bring much needed support to a peace process in Congo where the engagement of Uganda, Rwanda, and other Great Lakes countries will be critical to ending violence that has plagued Congo's people. Working together with Secretary of State Kerry, U.S. Special Envoy to the Great Lakes region Russ Feingold, and UN Special Envoy to the Great Lakes region Mary Robinson, Rice should work to ensure that Rwanda does not revert back to support to armed groups in the Congo as peace efforts gain traction." 

Advocacy Groups, Congo Experts Applaud Appointment of Feingold as Envoy

Date: 
Jun 18, 2013

Press Release

Contact: Jonathan Hutson, jhutson@enoughproject.org      

 +1-202-386-1618

Advocacy Groups, Congo Experts Applaud Appointment of Feingold as Envoy

WASHINGTON -- Twenty-two advocacy groups and Congo experts applaud U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for his appointment of former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) as the new U.S. Special Envoy for the African Great Lakes region and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

They congratulate Special Envoy Feingold in an open letter, and call on him to apply leverage and use incentives to focus on critical democratization reforms in Congo. They also urge him to ensure that a peace process between Congo and its neighbors address security, economic, and refugee issues.

Anthony W. Gambino, a co-author of the letter and former USAID Mission Director to the DRC, said:

“The most fundamental challenge that Special Envoy Feingold faces is to help create political space for democratic forces that can, over time, generate an anti-corruption, reform-minded government. Regrettably, donors have been sending the opposite message to the DRC: that the cost of rigging elections and evading democratic accountability will be low.”

John Prendergast, a co-author of the letter and Co-Founder of the Enough Project, said:

“Special Envoy Feingold has a great opportunity to address drivers of regional violence and tension that impact so negatively on the people of the Congo. While making it clear that there will be serious consequences for any continuation of past Rwandan and Ugandan support to Congolese armed groups, he should support investment initiatives that would demonstrate the benefits of regional economic cooperation. Past initiatives have lacked this crucial incentive for peace.”

David Abramowitz, Vice President of Policy & Government Relations at Humanity United, said: 

“We welcome former Senator Feingold’s appointment as the new U.S. Special Envoy to the Great Lakes region. He is recognized as an outspoken human rights advocate, particularly on the crises in the Sudans and in Congo. At this critical moment in U.S. policy toward the DRC and its neighbors, Special Envoy Feingold’s continued advocacy for peace, stability, and accountability in the region will be essential.”

The signers urged Feingold and the U.S. government to press for the holding of free and fair Congolese provincial and local elections beginning in 2014. They also call for expansion of assistance to build democratic and effective political parties, and to strengthen legislative capacity. They further advocate using “carrots and sticks” to advance cooperation between Congo and its neighbors. Such measures could include sanctions and restrictions of financial support to Rwanda and Uganda if those nations continue to support armed groups. The measures might also include backing a regional mechanism to monitor and deter smuggling of conflict minerals; and developing new incentives for conflict-free investments in the region.

Since 1996, an estimated 5.4 million people have lost their lives in the DRC’s conflicts. The current crisis, triggered by military advances by Rwandan-supported M23 rebels and corruption within Congo, has raised international attention on the region. This global focus has resulted in the recent appointment of former Irish President Mary Robinson as U.N. Special Envoy, the signing of a peace framework by 11 regional countries, and the dispatch of a U.N. intervention brigade composed of African troops.

The letter underlines the importance of well-vetted and monitored U.S. support for reforms in the military and justice sectors to underpin democratic development and eliminate impunity for international crimes and other human rights abuses, including sexual violence. And it supports the provision of additional resources for U.N. programs to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate or repatriate rebel and outside armed groups such as M23, the Hutu-led FDLR and Lord’s Resistance Army.

In the appeal to Feingold, the signers address shortcomings in past international efforts to deal with the regional crisis. Instead of relying on vague promises from the conflicting parties, they support – as does a recent U.N. Security Council Resolution – the establishment of specific benchmarks for progress, close monitoring of performance, and appropriate follow-up measures. In addition, they invite Feingold to take initiatives to improve donor coordination and leverage.

Jacques Bahati, Policy Analyst at the Africa Faith and Justice Network, said:

“Bad governance is at the core of the crisis in the Great Lakes region. In the DRC, where most of the nation is at peace, despite pockets of violence, all of the people suffer from systemic injustice, corruption, lawlessness, and lack of infrastructure. The Congo suffers from a serious lack of a capable army to protect its sovereignty against internal and external threats. We hope that Special Envoy Feingold will push for good governance and security sector reform.  In particular, we hope he will ensure that Congo’s army does not repeat its mistake of 2009 by integrating Rwandan soldiers who are embedded with the M23 rebels.”

Sean D. Carasso, Founder of Falling Whistles, said: 

“For many years, a growing coalition of grassroots leaders in Congo, joined by activists around the world, has called for peace and organized for systemic change in Congo. We seek to reverse the West’s historic relationship with the Congolese people and move from exploitation to partnership. Senator Feingold’s appointment as Special Envoy marks a victory for people of conscience everywhere.”

Alysha Atma, President of the Atma Foundation in Portland, Ore., said:

“We look forward to Special Envoy Feingold’s encouragement of civil society groups, women’s groups, in coordination with Mary Robinson, the new U.N. special envoy to Africa’s Great Lakes region. We believe that encouraging these voices will help sustain long-term stability and peace in the region.”

The signatories of the letter include Anthony W. Gambino, former USAID Mission Director to the DRC; Stephen R. Weissman, Former Staff Director; House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Africa; John Prendergast and Sasha Lezhnev of the Enough Project; Mark Schneider of the International Crisis Group; Wynnette LaBrosse of Open Square; David Abramowitz of Humanity United; Sarah Pray of the Open Society Policy Center; Jason K. Stearns of the Rift Valley Institute; Jolly Okot and Lisa Dougan of Invisible Children; Dr. Denis Mukwege of Panzi Hospital; Michael Poffenberger of The Resolve; Michel Gabaudan of Refugees International; Jacques Bahati of the Africa Faith and Justice Network; Vukasin Petrovic of Freedom House; Sean D. Carasso and Monique Beadle of Falling Whistles; and Alysha Atma of the Atma Foundation.

Read the Open Letter to the New U.S. Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, Senator Russ Feingold: http://www.enoughproject.org/files/OpenLettertoUSSpecialEnvoyRussFeingold.pdf

Enough Project Applauds Kerry's Appointment of Feingold as Special Envoy

Date: 
Jun 18, 2013

Enough Project Media Advisory

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Enough Project Applauds Kerry's Appointment of Feingold as Special Envoy

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced former U.S. Senator Russell "Russ" Feingold (D-WI), as the new U.S. special envoy for Africa's Great Lakes region and to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

The Enough Project welcomes the appointment of Russ Feingold as U.S. Special Envoy and looks forward to working with him in this critical moment of opportunity for U.S. policy toward Congo and the other nations in the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

 Enough Project Co-Founder John Prendergast said:

“Special Envoy Feingold has a great opportunity to address the core regional drivers of violence and tension that impact so negatively on the people of the Congo. While making it clear that there will be serious consequences for any continuation of past Rwandan and Ugandan support to Congolese armed groups, he should support the development of investment initiatives that demonstrate the benefits of regional economic cooperation for all three countries. This is the crucial incentive for peace that has been missing from past initiatives.”

Enough Project Senior Policy Analyst Sasha Lezhnev said:

“Secretary Kerry is making a splash in Africa's Great Lakes region by appointing Feingold as special envoy. Feingold must now apply leverage and incentives to drive democratic reforms in Congo. He must work closely with U.N. envoy Mary Robinson to ensure that a peace process between Congo and its neighbors addresses security, economic, and refugee issues."

#

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. 

Sudans: Satellite Imagery Confirms Troops in Demilitarized Zone

Date: 
Jun 14, 2013

Satellite Sentinel Project and Enough Project Press Release

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

Sudans: Satellite Imagery Confirms Troops in Demilitarized Zone

WASHINGTON -- New DigitalGlobe satellite imagery confirms that, in contradiction of U.N. reports, and in violation of security agreements, both Sudan and South Sudan maintain troops in at least 14 locations within their contested border zone. The two nations' agreements to create a safe, demilitarized border zone have recently been put in jeopardy by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's statements repudiating September 2012 cooperation agreements between the Sudans.

George Clooney, Co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, a partnership between the Enough Project and DigitalGlobe, said:

"Our satellite imagery independently proves that in spite of their promises otherwise, both Sudan and South Sudan have troops where they should not be. By shining a spotlight on their violations, we hope that the two states will see that they have too much to lose to keep undermining these important agreements."

On March 8, 2013, Sudan and South Sudan agreed to completely withdraw all military forces from the border zone by April 5. However, satellite imagery taken in May and June, and analyzed for SSP, by DigitalGlobe Analytics, reveals that almost two months after both nations should have withdrawn all of their troops, armed forces from both parties are present in multiple locations within the border zone.

On May 17, a report from the U.N. Secretary General noted that a joint monitoring team composed of U.N., Sudan, and South Sudan forces had “verified that there was no military presence” in several border locations, such as the South Sudanese towns of Kiir Adem, Teshwin, and Wunthou. The report also said that the joint team had provided “aerial verification” that SAF had withdrawn troops from border locations, such as the Sudanese towns of Radom and al Kwek, and the South Sudanese village of Kilo 4, and that “no armed forces were observed during those verifications either.” However, SSP's latest report confirms South Sudan and Sudan’s military presence in all six of those locations, as well as eight other locations, in contravention of their agreement to create a safe, demilitarized border zone. 

John Prendergast, Co-Founder of the Enough Project and the Satellite Sentinel Project, stated:

"With bilateral issues such as Sudan's threat to shut off the oil pipeline deepening tensions, it is perilous for Sudan and South Sudan to persist with military deployments in contravention of their demilitarization agreement. The great risk of such transgressions is that any spark between the two states involving forces under their control in the border zone could start a raging fire of conflict."

May 23 imagery shows a reinforced infantry company of the Sudan Armed Forces, or SAF, at Keri Kera and confirms that artillery howitzers and apparent tank tracks remain visible. Additionally, DigitalGlobe Analytics confirms that tents and structures located in the area are consistent with military presence. Previous analysis has confirmed that a SAF infantry unit supported by tanks and artillery has been present at Keri Kera for more than two years. Further documentation of violations in Sudan include imagery showing tents and foxholes consistent with military presence in the al Kwek area of Sudan’s White Nile state.

DigitalGlobe imagery taken on June 3 also reveals evidence of noncompliance by South Sudan. Satellite imagery released by SSP reveals elements of a Sudan People’s Liberation Army, or SPLA, reinforced infantry battalion and four tanks in Wunthou, five miles (7.5 km) south of the border. At least 200 tents and temporary structures are also visible. SSP also released DigitalGlobe imagery of what appears to be a prohibited, platoon-sized infantry unit near the border village of Emtidad, in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state.

Enough Project Sudan/South Sudan Analyst Akshaya Kumar stated:

“The Sudans have taken some steps toward setting up this demilitarized zone, but this satellite imagery proves that armed forces remain in at least 14 locations. The U.N took an important first step by authorizing more peacekeeping troops to help monitor this area. But for real stabilization to occur, Sudan and South Sudan need to commit to complete compliance.”

Read the report, “Troops in the Demilitarized Zone: Confirmation of Violations by Sudan and South Sudan”: http://www.enoughproject.org/files/Troops-in-the-Demilitarized-Zone.pdf

View or download the DigitalGlobe satellite imagery on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/enoughproject/sets/72157634088801262/

Satellite Imagery Confirms Sudan's Indiscriminate Bombardment of Civilians

Date: 
Jun 10, 2013

Satellite Sentinel Project and Enough Project Press Release

 IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jonathan Hutson, jhutson@enoughproject.org
+1-202-386-1617

Satellite Imagery Confirms Sudan’s Indiscriminate Bombardment of Civilians

WASHINGTON--New satellite imagery confirms that Sudan Armed Forces, or SAF, indiscriminately bombarded a marketplace and civilian residential areas in the Abu Kershola district of South Kordofan, Sudan, where rebel forces had overrun a SAF garrison in April. The May 15 imagery, analyzed for the Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, by DigitalGlobe’s Analytics Center, shows 20 craters – including four apparently caused by artillery shelling and 16 consistent with aerial bombardment – along with damage to and destruction of civilian infrastructure.

Enough Project Sudan/South Analyst Akshaya Kumar stated:

"News about Abu Kershola and Dandour has been stealing headlines for months because of their strategic significance to the combatants in Sudan. However, we hear far too little about the devastating impact that these rounds of fighting have had on the civilians. These exclusive satellite images, showing blackened earth and bomb-cratered landscapes, highlight the debilitating effects that the government of Sudan's indiscriminate aerial bombardment has had on civilian infrastructure in both places." 

Enough Project Co-Founder John Prendergast stated:

"This report confirms that civilians continue to bear the brunt of the ongoing conflict in South Kordofan.  Civilian infrastructure continues to be indiscriminately destroyed.  As the government blocks humanitarian aid deliveries, civilians have few options of where to run, and their chances of returning home to rebuild are vastly diminished. This leads to longer displacement and potential radicalization of the population,further undercutting opportunities for peace. The need for a comprehensive peace process across border regions—Darfur, Abyei, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile State—continues to intensify."

Recent fighting over control of the strategically located Nuba Mountains towns of Abu Kershola and Ad Dandour began in mid-April, when the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North, or SPLA-N, rebel group overran a SAF garrison at Ad Dandour. DigitalGlobe imagery taken on April 22 and released by SSP indicates that the fighting led to the burning of civilian infrastructure in Ad Dandour, where a three-day battle took place from April 15-17.

Nuba Reports, a group of Sudanese citizen journalists, reported that two civilians and 18 rebel soldiers were wounded in the battle. They also interviewed displaced civilians and took GPS-tagged photographs which show the destruction on the ground. SSP’s satellite imagery corroborates the photos and eyewitness reports that when SAF soldiers entered Ad Dandour, Sudanese Antonovs and MiG jets dropped bombs on the town. SPLA-North forces held the town for a day before retreating ahead of a SAF counteroffensive.

The spokesperson for SAF, Al-Sawami Khaled Saad, said that SRF rebels had again attacked Ad Dandour on May 26 using tanks and artillery, but that SAF retained control of the town. Earlier this week, SAF announced that it had retaken Abu Kershola; SRF stated that it had withdrawn its forces.

Read the report, “Civilians Caught in the Crossfire: The Bombing of Abu Kershola and Burning of Ad Dandour”: http://www.enoughproject.org/files/Civilians_Caught_in_the_Crossfire.pdf

View or download the DigitalGlobe satellite imagery on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/enoughproject/sets/72157633974689193/

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The Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, a partnership between the Enough Project and DigitalGlobe, conducts monitoring of the border between Sudan and South Sudan to assess the human security situation, identify potential threats to civilians, and detect, deter and document war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Enough Project provides field research, policy context, and communications strategy. DigitalGlobe provides imagery from its constellation of satellites and geospatial analysis from the DigitalGlobe Analysis Center. SSP is funded primarily by Not On Our Watch.

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.

 

Enough Project Applauds President's Promotions of Susan Rice and Samantha Power

Date: 
Jun 5, 2013

Enough Project Media Advisory

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Enough Project Applauds President’s Promotions of Susan Rice and Samantha Power

The Enough Project applauds President Obama’s appointment of Ambassador Susan Rice to lead the National Security Staff and his nomination of Samantha Power to replace Rice as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

John Prendergast, Co-founder of the Enough Project, states:

“Two extremely committed public servants will be assuming two of the most important positions with an ability to affect human rights and peace around the world.  President Obama could not have chosen two more effective advocates for human rights and human dignity.  Susan Rice and Samantha Power will have a tremendous impact on America's ability to effect positive change in the places where people are hurting the most.”

Mark Quarterman, Director of Research for the Enough Project, states:

“Both Susan Rice and Samantha Power are taking up these significant responsibilities with backgrounds steeped in human rights and direct knowledge of past successes and failures in preventing genocide and other mass atrocities. They are intimately aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the international system, especially the United Nations, in protecting civilians in the midst of violent conflict. We congratulate them on their appointments to these positions for which they are so well prepared.”

John C. Bradshaw, Executive Director of the Enough Project, states:

“The appointments of these two strong leaders demonstrate President Obama’s conviction that atrocity prevention is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States. Both are committed to building an effective global system of atrocity prevention and will no doubt make that a high priority in their new positions. We look forward to working with them to advance a robust anti-atrocity and human rights agenda.”

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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.

Report Documents How Elephant Poaching Supports Lord's Resistance Army

Date: 
Jun 3, 2013

Enough Project and Satellite Sentinel Project Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Report Documents How Elephant Poaching Supports Lord’s Resistance Army

WASHINGTON – Human rights groups released a multimedia report and video documenting new evidence that the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, has turned to elephant poaching as a means to fuel its atrocities.

“Kony’s Ivory,” co-authored by the Enough Project and the Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, and co-produced by Invisible Children and The Resolve, combines photos and satellite imagery of an abandoned LRA camp in Congo’s Garamba National Park with eyewitness reports that LRA fighters rendezvous with helicopters to trade ivory for arms, ammunition, and food.

Co-author Kasper Agger, an Enough Project LRA field researcher based in Kampala, Uganda, states:

“After months of uncertainty, we now have proof that the LRA is killing elephants trading ivory for resources that help the group to survive. Greater investments are needed to combat the LRA across central Africa. Governments in Asia and elsewhere who fail to regulate the illegal ivory trade share responsibility for atrocities committed by the LRA and other armed groups engaged in poaching.”

International NGO African Parks employs approximately 130 rangers who are charged with patrolling Garamba. But they are outmanned and sometimes outgunned. 

Peter Fearnhead, Chief Executive Officer of African Parks, which has jurisdiction and which manages the park on behalf of the Congolese wildlife authority called the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature, stated:

“The Lord’s Resistance Army is now part of a larger poaching crisis that is decimating elephants throughout central Africa. The high price of ivory is increasingly incentivizing the involvement of armed groups such as the LRA, sustaining their atrocities in the region. Given the presence of the LRA in Garamba, the Park’s elephants are particularly under threat. In the 1970s, 20,000 elephants roamed Garamba. Today, our management is fighting to conserve the remaining 1,800 to 2,500 elephants. But the battle is far from lost. With more training, better equipment, and intelligence support, Garamba’s elephants will be saved.”

The report offers recommendations to combat the ivory trade. These include the expansion of programs to increase LRA defections, improvement of intelligence gathering and additional support for park rangers and other forces pursuing the LRA, and investment in livelihoods and infrastructure for local communities to provide alternatives to rebel activity and large-scale wildlife poaching. The report also calls for innovative uses of aerial reconnaissance, satellite surveillance, infrared sensors, and radar to track poachers by examining their hiding places, campsites, and water sources.

Report co-author Jonathan Hutson, Director of Communications for the Enough Project and the Satellite Sentinel Project, stated:

“African wildlife parks have become automated teller machines for armed groups that commit atrocities. They find a readily available source of support in poaching elephants and other protected species. That is a driver which contributes to record levels of poaching. Of course, the LRA is not the only group benefiting from the surging black market for ivory. Park rangers suspect that members of the Congolese, Sudanese, South Sudanese, and Ugandan armed forces, as well as janjaweed militias from Darfur, are killing elephants at an accelerating pace.”

Since 2005, Garamba has been one of the LRA’s hiding places in central Africa. But the LRA’s elephant poaching was not previously documented.

Multiple sources report that a group of heavily armed LRA fighters have picked up tusks from rendezvous points in Garamba and transported them north through the Central African Republic towards Sudan. An LRA defector reported that his group, based in the Kafia Kingi enclave – a disputed border region between Sudan and South Sudan – sold tusks poached in Congo to members of the Sudan Armed Forces.

The report concludes that the resources gained from the illegal trade of ivory undercut the efforts of the African Union Regional Task Force soldiers to combat the LRA and undermine the mission of U.S. military advisors to assist their work.

Read the report, “Kony’s Ivory: How Elephant Poaching in Congo Helps Support the Lord’s Resistance Army”: http://www.enoughproject.org/files/KonysIvory.pdf

View the video, “Kony’s Ivory: LRA Poaching in Garamba Park”: http://youtu.be/Ivt-d453grI

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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.

The Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, a partnership between the Enough Project and DigitalGlobe, conducts monitoring of the border between Sudan and South Sudan to assess the human security situation, identify potential threats to civilians, and detect, deter and document war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Enough Project provides field research, policy context, and communications strategy. DigitalGlobe provides imagery from its constellation of satellites and geospatial analysis from the DigitalGlobe Analysis Center. SSP is funded primarily by Not On Our Watch.

Mary Robinson's Policy Options for Peace in Congo – Report

Date: 
May 16, 2013

Enough Project Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Carine Umuhumuza, cumuhumuza@enoughproject.org, +1-202-478-5314

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.

Eleven African heads of state and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon signed the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Congo and the Region on February 24, diplomatic framework to address the drivers of the war. And in March, the U.N. appointed Mary Robinson as Special Envoy.

Enough Project Senior Policy Analyst and report co-author Sasha Lezhnev said:

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.

Read the full paper: “Mary Robinson’s Next Steps to Help End Congo’s Deadly War” [http://www.enoughproject.org/files/MaryRobinsonsNextStepsToEndCongosDeadlyWar.pdf

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.

Darfur's Gold Rush Spurs Violence, Instability, and Humanitarian Crisis

Date: 
May 9, 2013

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE  RELEASE

Contact: Jonathan Hutson, jhutson@enoughproject.org

+1-202-386-1618

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.

Read the report, Darfur's Gold Rush: State-Sponsored Atrocities 10 Years After the Genocide: http://www.enoughproject.org/files/Darfur_Gold_Rush.pdf

View or download the high-resolution imagery on Flickr.

 

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