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Root of the Congo Crisis: Why Aid and Peacekeepers Just Won’t Cut It

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Root of the Congo Crisis: Why Aid and Peacekeepers Just Won’t Cut It

Posted by Laura Heaton on September 19, 2009

Have you heard of conflict minerals and want to know more about how they are tied to unprecedented violence against women in Congo? Are you wondering what can be done to combat this devastating cycle? Enough’s Co-founder John Prendergast spoke with this week about why it is important to raise the profile of the conflict in Congo and about Enough’s work – in concert with concerned consumers and key officials in Congress and the Obama administration – to stop the mineral trade that is fuelling the violence in Congo.

John explains why Congo, and why now:

As urgent as Sudan is, there is a deadlier conflict that has raged in the jungles of eastern Congo for the last dozen years. It is my paramount priority in the coming months to try to raise the profile of the conflict and clarify to policymakers and the broader public that there are clear and specific policy options that can be pursued by the Obama Administration and the UN security council and others that would have a meaningful impact on the ground.

The problem we have seen in the past is that people look at this issue and see that it is so bewilderingly complex. We have humanitarian aid, we have peacekeeping forces. [So they say] let’s just send more aid and more troops, which is completely and utterly apples and oranges to dealing with the root causes of the conflict. We’re spending a billion and a half [U.S dollars] a year globally to treat the symptoms of the Congo’s extraordinarily deadly conflict without dealing with the causes.

Read the full interview here.