By Tricia Miller
Roll Call Staff
Jan. 19, 2010, 12 a.m.
It was an unusual occurrence: a Congressional hearing that turned highly emotional last May, leaving a mark on those involved.
A joint effort of two Senate Foreign Relations subcommittees, the hearing focused on violence against women in the conflict zones of Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. John Prendergast, the co-founder of the Center for American Progress’ Enough Project, which seeks to stop political violence against civilians in Africa, testified that day.
“I can’t even count the number of hearings I’ve testified at during the last couple decades. They come and go, and Members are usually somewhat attentive, and they have a day or two worth of chatter afterward,” he recalled last week. “This particular hearing — I thought it was quite profound. The Members who attended still talk about it when I see them.”
The hearing was a distinct highlight in the first year of a revamped Foreign Relations subcommittee. Formerly known as the Subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Human Rights and Democracy, the panel added global women’s issues to its portfolio in the 111th Congress.
Issues affecting women around the world are getting a new look in the U.S. With Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) as chairman of the revamped subcommittee and former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton serving as secretary of State, the committee quickly moved to confirm a former Clinton aide, Melanne Verveer, to a new post at the State Department: ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues. Verveer was among the witnesses in the first panel at the subcommittee’s hearing in May.
“We are being exterminated by the LRA and from hunger,” said a resident of Bangadi, a small town in northeastern Congo, speaking to Enough researcher Ledio Cakaj. In a new two-part dispatch, Ledio reports on his recent trip to an area that has recently fallen victim to reoccurring attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Read More »
A resurgent LRA is terrorizing the population in the Haut Uele region of Congo. Soldiers deployed to the region have been unable to provide adequate protection. This is the second of two dispatches based on my visit to Haut Uele.
In a trip to Democratic Republic of the Congo in December 2009, Enough researchers found abundant evidence of brutal ongoing violence committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA. This is the first of two dispatches based upon my visit to Haut Uele.
Reporting on a recent trip to the Masisi region of North Kivu province in eastern Congo, Enough field researcher Olivia Caeymaex challenges the impression given by the Congolese government and the United Nations that the situation this war-torn region of Congo is improving. Read More »
The end of 2009 saw optimistic statements about the situation in Congo from both the United Nations and the Congolese government. However, my experience on the ground in North Kivu seemed to point to a different picture. This is the first of two field dispatches based on my travel to particularly contentious territories in the region.
This week, support for the Lord’s Resistance Army bill, or S. 1067, reached a majority in the Senate, marking a degree of support that—according to the Congressional Research Service—has not been seen since 1973 for a bill specifically on sub-Saharan Africa. Read More »