FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON – In a new report, the Enough Project calls on the U.S. to continue to scale-up the engagement on Congo that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged after visiting the war-ravaged eastern region of the country in 2009.
“The Obama Administration should make peace and development in Congo a priority and focus on ending one of the most destructive and violent conflicts of our generation,” said co-author Aaron Hall, a Congo policy analyst for the Enough Project. “Secretary Clinton should follow up on her commitments by leading this effort.”
The report lauds the Obama Administration for expanding initiatives on Congo including promising to name a special envoy to the region, but the authors argue that the U.S. lacks a cohesive policy to end the worst conflict since World War II that has killed more than 5 million people.
To help end the conflict and bring about a democratic transformation in Congo, the U.S. should engage diplomatically to support credible elections in November. This can happen if President Obama appoints a special envoy who is a senior-level diplomat. Other areas where the U.S. should scale-up diplomatic engagement include dismantling of rebel groups, security sector reform and accountability for war criminals.
The report urges Secretary Clinton to address the trade in conflict minerals mined in Congo, which are used in electronics and fuel the violence and mass rape. Secretary Clinton should convene a high-level negotiation process that will lead to a scheme to certify minerals from Congo as conflict-free, the authors argue.
“Certification is the carrot to help the population on the ground, as it will allow for the legal exploitation of minerals with independent verification,” said co-author Sasha Lezhnev. “The administration is the best positioned actor to lead this process, as it has the most leverage with Congo and regional governments and with electronics and end-user industries.”
Read the full report: U.S. Congo Policy: Matching Deeds to Words to End the World’s Deadliest War.
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.