There is no doubt that some form of a national dialogue will be a key ingredient to a comprehensive peace in Sudan. But, to have a transformative effect on governance, that process needs to be meaningful, genuine, and inclusive. Despite hopeful signals in September 2014, Sudan’s nascent national dialogue process is currently none of those things. As it stands right now, the dialogue’s format remains imbalanced, exclusive and restrictive. Beyond problems with the structure of the process, the Sudanese government’s actions outside of the dialogue forum have further undermined prospects for genuine discourse about the way forward. But, this could change, if the Sudanese government decides to engage meaningfully and demonstrates its commitment by fulfilling six preconditions, including an alternate neutral administration for the dialogue. International stakeholders now have an opportunity to help to rebalance power dynamics and revitalize the much-needed but deeply compromised process.
By Akshaya Kumar and John Prendergast | Dec 17, 2014
The plight of women and children in eastern Congo has not received the urgent response it needs, which has facilitated widespread impunity. This culture of impunity allows perpetrators to continue their violations against vulnerable civilians. Sanctions on such perpetrators help combat the culture of impunity by holding the guilty accountable, allowing the survivors and their communities the opportunity to move forward and sending a clear message that violence against women and children will not be tolerated. Read More »
When Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee led women in song at the fish markets on the Liberian coast in the late 1990s, she began one of the most striking peace movements of our time. Amidst brutal civil war, Gbowee mobilized women across diverse religious and political affiliations to demand inclusion in their country’s peace process. As they advanced from church basements to picket lines to presidential palaces, little did Gbowee know she would inspire women over a decade later, almost three thousand miles away in the war-ravaged eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Read More »
On July 9th, President Kabila appointed Jeannine Mabunda Lioko Mudiayi as Presidential Adviser on Sexual Violence and Child Recruitment. The creation of this position was a response to one of the recommendations that emerged from the national dialogues in September and October 2013. Read More »
On July 17th, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon announced the appointment of senior Algerian diplomat Ambassador Said Djinnit as Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa. With international attention on Congo at a peak, Amb. Djinnit, in cooperation with his colleagues working in the Great Lakes region, African political leaders, and civil society groups, must harness this opportunity and lay the groundwork for a sustainable peace to take root. Read More »
In a web of complex global supply chains, few consumers can say that they share personal relationships with the artisans who craft their clothing and accessories. Mamafrica Designs - an organization based in Bukavu, South Kivu - seeks to provide that connection, while creating a community of beauty, strenght, and resiliance for women in eastern Congo. Read More »
In an effort to prevent tragedies like the November 22, 2012 attack on Minova and the impunity that followed, actress and UN Special Envoy Angelina Jolie and British Foreign Secretary William Hague co-chaired the first ever Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London on June 10-13. The summit highlighted what can and must be done to address this widespread issue. Read More »
STATEMENT: Enough Project Reacts to Verdict on Sexual Violence Case in Democratic Republic of Congo
Following the release of a verdict in the eastern Congolese military court prosecuting rapes in Minova that ended with two soldiers convicted and many completed cleared, Holly Dranginis, Policy Associate at the Enough Project, released the following statement:
“Minova has sparked much-needed attention to prosecuting sexual violence in Congo and other conflict-affected states. However, it has also shined a light on deep flaws in Congo’s approach to ending impunity for atrocities. From a legal perspective, the case was doomed from the beginning, and today's verdict confirms that. The selection of indictees excluded senior commanders, but otherwise was largely arbitrary with mostly rank and file soldiers being charged. Both sides – prosecution and defense – faced a debilitating lack of resources. Evidence was scarce and mismanaged.
That said, the bravery of survivors who testified cannot be overstated. They risked their safety and wellbeing and in doing so have made a significant contribution to the global fight for sexual violence accountability.
If Congo is serious about addressing its sexual violence crisis, it must fill critical gaps in the administration of cases. We have come a long way, but there is much more work to be done.”
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.
This is the second in a blog series about issues currently perpetuating the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including the conflict minerals trade, sexual violence, and child soldier recruitment. Although many Congolese are facing incredibly difficult situations, there are local civil society groups taking action and creating avenues for sustainable peace. In this blog series, I will discuss each issue and give examples of organizations making positive changes. Read More »