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Obama’s New Great Lakes Envoy should focus on Economic Roots of Conflict, Accountability in Congo

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Obama’s New Great Lakes Envoy should focus on Economic Roots of Conflict, Accountability in Congo

Posted by Enough Team on December 7, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Matt Brown, mbrown@enoughproject.org, +1-202-468-2925

Washington D.C. – The Enough Project applauds the recent appointment of Ambassador Barrie Walkley as the Department of State's new Special Representative to the Great Lakes Region of Africa, and is hopeful that the appointment will spur increased engagement and commitment from the U.S. in working with regional partners to mitigate the violence, instability, and corruption that currently plagues the region.

“We welcome the appointment of Ambassador Walkley and hope that in his new capacity he will lead the administration in addressing the systemic drivers of conflict and poverty that plague the people of the region,” said John Bradshaw, Executive Director of the Enough Project. “If given sufficient authority and autonomy, Ambassador Walkley could be the needed shot in the arm for the administration's efforts to make progress on the conflict minerals trade, dismantling the LRA, and tackling justice and security sector reform in Congo.”

By appointing Ambassador Walkley to this position, the Obama Administration is positioning itself to build greater and more sustained cross-border relationships with regional leaders and civil society groups, and should be better suited to tackle some of the most difficult regional political, security, and economic issues.

“Ambassador Walkley will be most effective if he can focus his efforts, and those of the United States, on finally addressing the political and economic roots of instability in the Congo,” said John Prendergast, Enough Project co-founder. “Dealing with post-election power-sharing, army and judicial reform, and efforts to clean up the deadly minerals trade should top the US agenda.”

The Enough Project urges the new Representative to take this opportunity to focus on the drivers of conflict and instability in the region by addressing four primary issues:

*Make human rights and strengthening democratic institutions a priority in Congo’s post-election transition and in the Great Lakes region.

*Increase domestic and regional support for justice and security sector reform in the Congo.

*Push for the demilitarization of the mining sector and the full implementation of the Dodd-Frank Conflict Minerals Provision.

*Strengthen efforts to end the Lord's Resistance Army.

The State Department will announce Walkley's appointment at a December 12 briefing.
 

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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.