Our latest report – Eastern Congo: An Action Plan to End the World’s Deadliest War – is out now and offers a five-point approach to confronting the world’s deadliest war, where rape as a weapon of war is a daily feature of the conflict. The paper pinpoints and details tasks that policymakers and activists should rally behind:
- Protecting civilians
- Implementing an effective counterinsurgency strategy against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FDLR
- Ending the trade in conflict minerals
- Promoting regional peace and economic cooperation
- Promoting accountability
The paper by Enough Co-founder John Prendergast and analyst Noel Atama argues that this multi-layered and immensely complex conflict can only end when the international community abandons its piecemeal approach to conflict management and adopts a new approach focused on these five points. As Atama explains:
A revamped approach requires a careful combination of all the tools available to policymakers, from aggressive multilateral diplomacy and conditioned foreign assistance to targeted sanctions and, in rare cases, carefully planned military action.
As the report and accompanying activist brief make clear, sustained attention from activists and concerned citizens is imperative for generating the political will to leverage these tools effectively. As Prendergast emphasizes, the conflict in Congo is linked to us as consumers, even if we may feel far removed:
Congo’s stain on our collective conscience is deep, but so too is the connection between our daily lives and those of Congolese people fighting to break the cycle of conflict and misery. Policymakers must fully acknowledge the role that the Congolese government and its neighbors-particularly Rwanda and Uganda-play in fuelling violence and profiteering from Congo’s state weakness and chronic conflict. Citizen pressure on policymakers and the corporations that benefit from the trade in conflict minerals-including American and European cell phone, laptop, and jewelry manufacturers-is a critical element of a worldwide effort to end the crisis in eastern Congo once and for all.
Photo: Displaced people return to an IDP camp after being forced to flee fighting near the camp a day earlier. Enough/Laura Heaton