Press Releases

Congo's National Army and M23 Rebel Group, Most Powerful Armed Actors in Eastern Congo

Date: 
Aug 13, 2013
Enough Project Press Release
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Contact: Carine Umuhumuza
 
cumuhumuza@enoughproject.org, 202-478-5314
 
Congo's National Army and M23 Rebel Group, Most Powerful Armed Actors in Eastern Congo
 
GOMA – The M23 rebel group and the Congolese national army – currently the two most powerful armed actors in eastern Congo - pursue their interests through a set of relationships with other armed groups, reveals a new Enough Project infographic and accompanying table. A field dispatch further documents recent clashes between the Congolese military and the M23 rebel group.
 
The infographic illustrates the strength and nature of the relationships between the Congolese army, the M23 rebels and their feuding alliances. The accompanying table provides detailed information about these groups, including their histories, leadership, composition, and other notable features. The research reveals that interaction among groups is often to support economic and political interests, often at the cost of human life.
 
Enough Project Field Researcher Fidel Bafilemba states: 
 
"The number of senior defectors from the Congolese army who now head armed groups and their complex web of relationships only exemplifies the perversity of the Congolese security system, and the genuine political commitment it will require for its reform as Congo aspires to have sustainable peace."
 
The field dispatch, "The Recent Fighting in Eastern Congo and Its Implications for Peace" documents recent clashes between the Congolese military and the M23 rebel group from July 14 – 26, stating that fighting was at the worst it's been since M23 temporarily occupied Goma, eastern Congo last November. The report is based on Enough Project Researcher Timo Mueller’s eyewitness account at the frontlines during the first days of fighting in Mutaho, a few kilometers north of Goma, where fighting was heavy until moving onto M23-held territory.
 
Amid the fighting, talks between the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the M23 rebels have stalled in neighboring Uganda. Over the course of the last seven months, the warring parties have employed militaristic bluster, as well as traded fierce accusations of foul play as a means of furthering narrow political agendas. The resumption of fighting on July 14 suggests that the Congolese government has been trying to influence its bargaining position at the talks through military gains on the battlefield. 
 
 Enough Project Field Researcher Timo Mueller states:
 
"If the army could manage to hurt M23 badly enough—short of a military defeat—the movement might be willing to make concessions in Kampala and provide the least politically damaging exit strategy for Rwanda, an alleged supporter of M23. Uganda, on the other hand, could present itself as a successful mediator to the crisis after it was accused last year of supporting M23."
 
As a response to increased fighting, the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission, the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or MONUSCO, put all of its agencies on high alert, stating that they are prepared to use “lethal force” to protect civilians. Mueller writes: "The latest escalation takes place against a growing militarization of the peacekeeping mission, which later may join the army in fighting M23."
 
The report warns that active, open conflict presents a wide range of problems for the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region, or U.N. PSCF, as parties continue to trade accusations and delay agreements. Continued violence in the region between M23 and the army has already displaced thousands of civilians, and resulted in the death of civilians, Congolese army soldiers and M23 rebels.
 
Read the field dispatch, “Field Dispatch: The Recent Fighting in Eastern Congo and Its Implications for Peace”: http://www.enoughproject.org/files/FightingEasternCongoImplicationsforPeace.pdf
 
View or download the infographic,“The Networks of Eastern Congo’s Two Most Powerful Armed Actors”: http://enoughproject.org/multimedia/infographic-networks-eastern-congos-two-most-powerful-armed-actors
 
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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.

Sudan: The Economics of Ethnic Cleansing

Date: 
Aug 8, 2013

Enough Project Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Carine Umuhumuza, cumuhumuza@enoughproject.org
 
WASHINGTON – Economic imperatives are now a major driving force for escalating violence in Darfur, says a new Enough Project report. Based on research from a recent trip to the region, the report confirms that the Sudanese government is sponsoring violent clashes to strategically pacify restless janjaweed militias and consolidate economic control over Darfur’s rich natural resources.
 
While many accept the government’s narrative, which frames the latest rounds of fighting as the product of inter-tribal rivalries, the Enough Project’s report, “The Economics of Ethnic Cleansing in Darfur”, co-authored by John Prendergast, Omer Ismail, and Akshaya Kumar confirms the Sudanese government’s role in using violence to systematically create and maintain instability in Darfur. 
 
Since the height of genocide in 2003-2005, the government of Sudan has relied on militia groups, acting as proxies, to carry out the regime’s security interests in Darfur where Sudan Armed Forces are weak. In recent years, the government budget has declined, leaving the Sudanese government unable to fulfill patronage obligations. To appease weakened alliances and loyalty among militia groups, the regime now secures its interests by allowing these militias to loot and pillage with complete impunity and keep the spoils as a form of compensation.
 
Omer Ismail, Darfuri Activist and Enough Project Senior Advisor states:
 
"As the regime struggles to stay afloat economically and pacify Janjaweed militias looking for greater compensation, Sudanese government officials are increasingly willing to fan the flames of violence, even against some of their traditional allies. The refugees we talked to in Chad explained that the ‘chameleon is switching its colors’. Now, for economic reasons, government- backed Arab militias are even attacking other Arab communities."
 
Competing Arab groups have clashed in the past. However, the patterns of recent violence reveal that the systematic nature of attacks aligns with Khartoum’s underlying strategy: consolidating control of Darfur’s economy and appeasing Janjaweed militias that the government needs for its fight against the rebel Sudan Revolutionary Front.  The report states that a closer look at  the common threads of economic motivations for militia groups and the Sudanese government's patronage networks reveals that motives are visible, as follows: 
 

● North Darfur's gold: Long-favored Abbala tribe cleared the Jebel Amer gold mining area of traditional Beni Hussein custodians but then grew dissatisfied and declared their own rebellion.

● South Darfur's gum arabic: Beni Halba cleared gum arabic producing areas of Gimr with support of second vice president.

● Central Darfur's arable land: Ali Kosheib's Taaysha pushed Salamaat off their land with support from Minister of Finance.

● Nyala clashes: In a rare fissure, Janjaweed and National Security and Intelligence Service forces clashed in South Darfur following a dispute over spoils from an extortion scheme.

By pitting regional groups against each other, Khartoum has been able to seize lucrative resources throughout the region while attributing violence to historical tribal conflicts. Now, clashes between tribes regularly occur around the gold mines in North Darfur, gum arabic groves in South Darfur and fertile lands of Central Darfur, often driving out civilian populations and destroying towns.
 
John Prendergast, Enough Project Co-Founder states:
 
"Crafting a durable solution to the unfolding human catastrophe in Darfur requires understanding the economic drivers of the violence. Khartoum is spurring an array of revitalized Janjaweed militias to grab fertile land, consolidate control over gold mines, manipulate reconciliation conferences for increased “blood money,” expand protection rackets and exploit smuggling networks with impunity. Civilians are suffering the consequences"
 
The latest ethnic-cleansing campaign has displaced more than 300,000 Darfuris since the beginning of this year and forced more than 75,000 to seek refuge in neighboring Chad, the largest population displacement in recent years. 
 
Akshaya Kumar, Sudan and South Sudan Policy Analyst states:
 
"The Sudanese government's continued inaction in the face of systematic ethnic cleansing campaigns is a clear failure of its responsibility to protect its own. Now it won't even allow refugee aid workers into the country. When a state won't fulfill its duties to its people, the international community's responsibility to act is triggered."
 
The report concludes that peace efforts in Darfur since the mid-2000s have intensified conflict instead of reducing it. Real solutions, the authors write, will only come if the United States and its international partners can play a major role in helping construct a new comprehensive national peace process that replaces the region-specific initiatives, and addresses the core issues that drive violence in Darfur, and include the interests of the rebels and general population. 
 
Read the full report,“The Economics of Ethnic Cleansing in Darfur”: http://www.enoughproject.org/files/Economics-of-Ethnic-Cleansing-in-Darfur.pdf
 
View or download imagery from the report on Flickr:http://www.flickr.com/photos/enoughproject/sets/72157634424204377/
 
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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.

Africa's Great Lakes Region: The Need for a Single Peace Process

Date: 
Jul 31, 2013

Enough Project Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jonathan Hutson, jhutson@enoughproject.org

+1-202-386-1618

Africa's Great Lakes Region: The Need for a Single Peace Process 

NAIROBI – Ahead of the Special Summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, or ICGLR, Heads of State and Government meeting in Nairobi, Kenya on July 31, the Enough Project released a field dispatch, "The Need for a Single Peace Process in Africa’s Great Lakes Region”. The new report focuses on the escalating security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is slated to top the meeting agenda.

The report, written by Enough Project Field Consultant Aaron Hall, is based on research conducted by Enough Project field staff, reporting from the Kampala Peace Talks and the front lines of combat between the Congolese military and M23 rebels in eastern Congo.

Report author Aaron Hall states:

“The current structure for regional peace is flawed, and leaves room for regional actors to manipulate the other ongoing peace processes. International stakeholders and leaders in the Great Lakes region must act together to exercise diplomatic and economic leverage, and to ensure the success of a broader peace process.”

The Enough Project states  that renewed fighting between the Congolese army and M23 rebel group, which began on July 14, has amplified tensions in the region and could potentially stall prospects for regional peace processes, currently being brokered through the Kampala Peace Talks, the U.N. Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region, or U.N. PSCF, and through Congo’s national consultations.

The report argues that three political processes complicate efforts to establish a comprehensive peace process, and states that the newly appointed special envoys to the region should push for a single, coordinated peace process under the umbrella of the U.N. Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo, or U.N. PSCF.  A coordinated approach, he writes, will bring key stakeholders, particularly the state of Rwanda, to the table to discuss strategies for creating nonmilitary solutions to ongoing conflicts.

Last week, the U.N. Security Council met to discuss implementation of the 11+4 Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework signed in February. The meeting, chaired by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, signaled a recommitment to ending conflict in Congo, and called for U.N. Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Mary Robinson to establish benchmarks and indicators of progress on the Framework. Robinson is set to present benchmarks at the July 31 ICGLR meeting in Nairobi, ahead of the next meeting of the “11+4” oversight mechanism which will formally adopt them on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly high-level debate in New York this September.

Enough Project Senior Policy Analyst Sasha Lezhnev states: 

“UN Envoy Mary Robinson deserves praise for her efforts to keep the Great Lakes countries on track with the peace framework. It is now time for her and U.S. Special Envoy Russ Feingold to follow up with President Kabila on democratization reforms in Congo and to bring together regional leaders to agree on a common strategy to address security threats and take concrete steps toward conflict-free and transparent regional economic integration.”

Read the full report: “Field Dispatch: The Need for a Single Peace Process in Africa’s Great Lakes Region” http://www.enoughproject.org/files/Great-Lakes-Field-Dispatch.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.

4 Steps to Defuse Congo Crisis, Prevent Regional Conflict: Enough Project

Date: 
Jul 25, 2013

Enough Project Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

4 Steps to Defuse Congo Crisis, Prevent Regional Conflict: Enough Project

GOMA, DR CONGO – In advance of the U.N. Security Council’s special session on Africa’s Great Lakes region, which U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will chair on July 25, the Enough Project has released a new policy paper, “Four Steps for the U.S. and U.N. to Defuse Congo’s Escalating Crisis: Preventing Wider Conflict.

The co-authors, Enough Project Senior Policy Analyst Sasha Lezhnev and Congo Field Researcher Fidel Bafilemba, are currently in Goma, near the front lines of recent clashes between M23 rebels and Congolese government forces in Congo’s mineral-rich eastern region. The latest round of fighting between Congo’s army and the rebel group threatens to derail the peace process.  The report is based on interviews the Enough Project conducted in Congo, Rwanda, and Kenya over the past two weeks while investigating the deteriorating security situation and discussing the way forward with Congolese and regional stakeholders.

Lead author Lezhnev stated:

“Eastern Congo has become a powder keg in the first weeks of the new UN intervention brigade. Unless Secretary Kerry and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon work urgently to clarify its mission and strategy with countries in the region, the war could escalate into the kind of disaster we have not witnessed in years.” 

The Enough Project argues that diplomacy is urgently needed to bring the region back from the brink by addressing four key issues: clarifying the role of the U.N. Intervention Brigade to address legitimate Congolese and Rwandan security interests; advancing consultations between the Congolese government and the opposition; keeping Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda on track with their peace process obligations; and accelerating initiatives for regional economic integration.

The U.S. on July 23 called on Rwanda to end any support for M23, citing evidence of involvement by Rwandan military officials. Rwanda denies supporting the rebels, and alleges that the FDLR, a Rwandan Hutu militia founded by participants in Rwanda’s genocide and based in eastern Congo, remains a security threat to Rwanda.

Kerry will preside over the July 25 ministerial meeting in New York to push for implementation of a peace accord signed in February by 11 African nations and four international organizations. The accord aims to end the cycles of conflict and crisis in eastern Congo and to support an effective peace process in Africa’s Great Lakes region.

Co-author Bafilemba stated:  

“Despite the tensions, the February accord represents an opportunity for the parties to cooperatively address root causes of conflict in my country and to spare its eastern part more bloodshed. The most urgent issue is a lack of agreement among countries that signed the February accord, particularly Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, and South Africa, about the scope of the U.N. Intervention Brigade’s offensive mandate. The signatories need to agree on which armed groups this brigade will target and how it will go after them. Even if a region-wide shooting war might not yet be imminent, the U.S. and the U.N. must act fast to prevent Congo’s escalating crisis from triggering wider conflict.”

Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast stated:

"A critical part of the solution to the conflict will be effective regional economic integration, something that the UN Security Council meeting can ensure is recognized as an urgent priority.  Cross-border economic projects and transparent mineral certification provide win-win scenarios for all regional parties and create the most powerful incentive for peace and stability.  Such projects must be done transparently and through the rule of law, as secret deals will only lead to corruption, smuggling, and escalating violence." 

The eleven countries who signed the February 24 accord, known as the “11+4” Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework, are Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Angola, Uganda, South Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, and Congo-Brazzaville. The four organizations who co-signed are the United Nations, the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region. The accord calls for political reforms in Congo, neighbors to refrain from meddling in Congo’s affairs, and the international community to assist Congo to reform.

Read the Enough Project policy paper, “Four Steps for the U.S. and U.N. to Defuse Congo’s Escalating Crisis: Preventing Wider Conflict”: http://www.enoughproject.org/files/FoursSteps-to-Defuse-Congo-Crisis.pdf

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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. 

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."

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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. 

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.

 

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