U.S. Policy

The Power of Collaboration: Students in the International Movement for Peace in Congo

Special Envoy Feingold and Congolese President Joseph Kabila

Last year, I met Chelsea Strelser when I attended my first meeting for William & Mary’s STAND chapter. Fresh off a summer internship with the Enough Project, I was excited to begin combating mass atrocities and genocide across the globe.   Read More »

USA Today Op-ed: George Clooney: Sudan could become a second Syria

The last two times the Sudan government perpetrated horrific attacks against civilian populations in the disputed territory of Abyei, a Connecticut-sized political football contested by both Sudan and South Sudan, we visited with the survivors after the fact.   Read More »

New Report: UN, US should address FDLR and M23 rebel threats in Congo

Date: 
Oct 28, 2013

Enough Project Press Release
 
For Immediate Release
 
Contact:
Sandi Fox, sfox@enoughproject.org, 202-478-6325 

New Report: UN, US should address FDLR and M23 rebel threats in Congo
 
A new Enough Project report argues that the United Nations and U.S. government should address regional security threats in Africa's Great Lakes region by working with Congo, Rwanda, and the U.N. Intervention Brigade to contain the rebel groups Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FDLR, and M23. “Taking Back Eastern Congo: Comprehensively Addressing the FDLR and M23 Rebel Groups” discusses Congo and Rwanda’s most prominent security concerns, blending analysis, field research, and interviews in Goma and the surrounding region.
 
The report also provides recommendations for regional envoys. These recommendations include promoting a sustained focus on core security issues; developing disarmament and reintegration plans for the M23 and Congolese armed groups; and improving operational intelligence, humanitarian measures as well as public outreach for the U.N. peacekeeping mission and new intervention brigade.
 
The report takes stock of the strength levels and recent battlefield dynamics involving two key rebel groups with different connections to Rwanda that shape security concerns for governments on both sides of the Congo-Rwanda border. The FDLR is headed by some of the perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, and it has attacked Rwanda in the past year. Kigali believes the FDLR poses an existential security threat. The M23 is an offshoot of several previous rebel groups, and the U.N. and other groups have linked it to the Rwandan government, but Kigali denies the link. “Taking Back Eastern Congo” argues that neutralizing a weakened FDLR through a more robust and comprehensive strategy could mitigate Rwanda’s security concerns in eastern Congo. Alleviating these Rwandan security concerns could, in turn, result in a more rapid solution to the M23.
 
Goma-based Enough Project field researcher and report co-author Timo Mueller says, “As the U.N. peacekeeping force and the Intervention Brigade work to improve their capabilities on the ground, it is also as important that the U.N., U.S., African Union, and European Union envoys encourage substantive talks to take place as soon as possible on the security interests of states in the region, including support for rebel groups.”
 
Enough Project field researcher and report co-author Fidel Bafilemba adds,“The people of eastern Congo have been bearing the brunt of the many atrocities of the FDLR rebel group. Regional leaders must finally commit to resolving this issue once and for all.”

Read the report, Taking Back Eastern Congo: Comprehensively Addressing the FDLR and M23 Rebel Groups: http://www.enoughproject.org/files/TakingBackEasternCongo-report.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.

New Evidence: M23 Rebels in Congo Conflict Gold Trade

Date: 
Oct 9, 2013

Enough Project Press Release

Embargoed Until: October 9, 2013 7pm EST/October 10, 2013 Midnight GMT

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

New Evidence: M23 Rebels in Congo Conflict Gold Trade

The Enough Project has released a groundbreaking new report that documents the conflict gold smuggling network of the Eastern Congo-based M23 rebels. The report, “Striking Gold: How M23 and its Allies are Infiltrating Congo's Gold Trade,” reveals how M23 is involved in the lucrative gold trade in eastern Congo, which is worth approximately $500 million per year overall.  Instead of controlling mines directly, M23 has built alliances with other armed groups in gold-rich areas and expanded its contacts with influential traders in Uganda, Burundi, and Congo to trade gold. The report calls on U.S. Special Envoy Russ Feingold, the U.N. Security Council, U.N. Envoy Mary Robinson, and jewelry retailers to take concrete measures to limit the documented paths of conflict gold to international markets.

Striking Gold” identifies four main gold exporters whose business operations enable M23 and other armed groups to profit from the gold trade, according to UN experts reports and Enough Project research. The report also names militia leaders, including M23 commander Sultani Makenga, who play a key role in the illicit trade. Makenga has built on the networks of former M23 co-commander Bosco Ntaganda and has extended alliances that cut across otherwise hostile ethnic and political divisions.

Ruben de Koning, co-author of the report, says, “Some of the major official gold exporters in Uganda and Burundi indirectly purchase smuggled gold from M23 and allied armed groups in violation of the U.N. arms embargo, and without exercising any due diligence on the origin of their gold. Sanctions against these individual exporters, as opposed to companies, would help prevent sanctioned owners from merely reinventing themselves under a new company name in order to continue operations. U.S. and U.N. sanctions would make it harder for M23 and other armed groups to finance their struggle, and compel others to start mitigating such risk.”

Sasha Lezhnev, Senior Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, says, “M23's deadly gold may be entering our jewelry stores or banks, which make up 80 percent of the global gold market. The U.S. government and jewelers can help stem this problem at its root.  U.S. envoy Russ Feingold should press Congo, Rwanda, and the Great Lakes region to finalize their certification system to weed out conflict gold. Jewelers must also step up efforts to build a clean gold trade in Congo by joining public-private alliances and tech company projects like 'Solutions for Hope.'”

M23 allies have consolidated control over mines, particularly those in Walikale and Lubero territories in North Kivu province and in Ituri district in Orientale province. The growing revenues have enriched those who perpetrate atrocities and crimes against humanity in the region. M23 and its allies have also secured cross-border transit routes for smuggling to Bujumbura, Burundi, and Kampala, Uganda, both important regional hubs for international gold markets.

De Koning adds, “The ball is in the court of the U.S. government and U.N. Security Council to sanction these known exporters. Responsibility also lies with the downstream gold industry to conduct proper due diligence and invest in a clean gold trade in Congo.”

Read the full report, "Striking Gold: How M23 and its Allies are Infiltrating Congo's Gold Trade": http://www.enoughproject.org/files/StrikingGold-M23-and-Allies-Infiltrating-Congo-Gold-Trade.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.

Striking Gold: How M23 and its Allies are Infiltrating Congo's Gold Trade

The M23 rebel group has taken over a profitable part of the conflict gold trade in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC, argues a new Enough Project report.

Completing the Mission: U.S. Special Forces Are Essential for Ending the LRA

The mission to end the deadly Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, rebel group is regaining momentum. This report examines the impact of U.S. special forces on the counter-LRA mission and recommends steps forward in light of the restart of offensive operations, which were suspended due to the violent coup in the Central African Republic and the Obama administration's recent committement to extend the mission into 2014. 

Sudan Tribune Op-ed: Abyei's Anticipated Referendum

Road into Abyei

The gate into the town of Abyei, located on the contested border between Sudan and South Sudan, is raised. An Ethiopian peacekeeper sits in the shade of a bunker laced with razor wire. He’s devoid of rifle or helmet.   Read More »

Foreign Policy Op-ed: Persona Non Grata

Bashir attends the African Union Summit in Nigeria, July 2013

For the first time ever, attendees at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) this week may include a sitting head of state who is the subject of an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant for genocide and crimes against humanity.  Read More »

#UNMatters: U.S. State Department Google Hangout on US-UN Relations Recap

On Wednesday, September 18, the U.S.Department of State hosted a Google+ Hangout, The U.S. and the United Nations: The Case for Multilateralism.  Read More »

U.S. Government Officials Voice Concern Over Bashir's Possible Trip to the U.N.

Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts

On Monday, the U.S. State Department confirmed reports that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, a war criminal indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and crimes against humanity, had applied for a U.S. visa with the intent of attending the U.N. General Assembly Meeting in New York next week.   Read More »

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