WASHINGTON – The International Contact Group on the Great Lakes of Africa meeting in The Hague is an opportunity to address political, diplomatic, security and development issues in Congo, the Enough Project said in a new report.
The body, consisting of the United States, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the European Union, and the United Nations, will likely focus the meeting on security reform and civilian protection in eastern Congo, the continued irregularities in the Congolese political process, continued reform in the conflict minerals sector, and armed groups and regional dynamics.
The Enough Project recommends that the group pressure the Congolese government to arrest rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda and implement security sector reform. The group should also call for the disbanding of the Congolese National Election Commission and enact accountability measures for electoral fraud.
“With the recent rebellion of ICC-indicted war criminal Bosco Ntaganda in eastern Congo, and renewed questions about the involvement of Rwanda in de-stabilizing Congolese security for power and profit, The Hague seems like a fitting place for the International Contact Group to meet,” said Aaron Hall Enough Project associate director of research. “Prosperity starts with peace, and coordinated efforts to ensure that Congo is able to deliver justice to war criminals like Ntaganda and his men should be a paramount objective for the group, not only as a matter of setting global precedent, but for all those Congolese who are currently suffering and have suffered in the past from unnecessary conflict in the region.”
On the conflict mineral issue, the group should work with the U.S. Government to use the burgeoning Public Private Alliance to begin a multilateral negotiation process on an internationally agreed upon certification scheme.
"The focus on Ntaganda has also left a security vacuum in eastern Congo, which has led to a resurgence of the deadly FDLR militia and the recent killings of over 200 civilians," said Enough Project Senior Policy Analyst Sasha Lezhnev. "The US and European Special Envoys should proactively engage the region on a plan to deal with the FDLR's increased strength, including a more robust defection strategy."
The Enough Project also urged the group to weigh in on the Lord’s Resistance Army conflict. The group should engage vigorously with governments in and outside the Great Lakes region and the A.U. to secure more capable troops to apprehend the LRA’s senior leadership and protect civilians, while deploying a sufficient number of soldiers to cover the vast area affected by the LRA.
This week, the International Contact Group on the Great Lakes Region will meet in The Hague, Netherlands. The upcoming meeting will likely focus on four urgent subject areas: security reform and civilian protection in eastern Congo, continued irregularities in the Congolese political process and the upcoming provincial elections, continued reform in the conflict minerals sector, and armed groups and regional dynamics including the FDLR and LRA. As a whole, these areas represent core impediments to peace, stability, and development in the Great Lakes. The Enough Project has developed recommendations to the group on specific elements of each subject area where this body can act to create real progress to mitigate conflict and fill critical gaps in cross-border coordination and communication.
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