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WASHINGTON – The Obama administration should use the lead-up to Congo’s election this month as an opportunity to press the Congolese government into reforms that will help end conflict in the country’s restive east, according to a new Enough Project report.
The report highlights seven areas of progress being made to reform the conflict minerals sector in Congo, one of the key drivers of the war that has killed more than five million people. The report also looks at three important goals that can be achieved by the end of the year to bring transparency to the mineral industry and security to Congolese in the mining sector.
“Eastern Congo is a key election battleground region," said Sasha Lezhnev, Enough Policy Consultant and report author. "Easterners are unhappy about the Congolese government's lack of progress in ending the war. The Obama administration should use this opportunity of influence to press the Congolese government to choose reform to win votes, not armed force to repress opposition."
In order to improve lives of Congolese in the east, three key steps must be taken this year, according to the report. The Obama administration should support the adoption of a regional monitoring team to inspect mines and traders, the demilitarization of mines through the deployment of UN observer troops around mines, and a targeted livelihood fund for miners.
“There is still a need for further work on conflict minerals and to help open the door to army reform and governance issues,” said Aaron Hall, Enough Project policy analyst. "A monitoring mechanism, improved mine security and civil society and mining community protection are concrete steps that can be taken this year, alongside a diplomatic initiative toward certification. But time is running out. We must utilize this year’s window of the elections to press the Congolese government on reforms.”
Read the full report: A Window for Reform in Eastern Congo.
Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, the Enough Project focuses on crises in Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas of Africa affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, please visit www.enoughproject.org.