When the M23 rebel group seized the city of Goma in eastern Congo last November, a coalition of activists sprang into action. Activists began calling for a U.S. presidential envoy to work with leaders and stakeholders from the region to address the urgent security needs.
Efforts to establish “safe reporting sites,” where rebels with the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, can surrender peacefully, are starting to pay off. Enough Project partner Invisible Children recently reported on their blog:
Longtime human rights champion Senator John Kerry was confirmed yesterday as the new U.S. Secretary of State by a Senate vote of 94-3. As the new administration settles in for the next four years, Secretary Kerry—who has been an outspoken and staunch advocate for human rights—will now, more than ever, be positioned to help support African nations in ending crimes against humanity and building a path toward long-term peace and stability.
Editor's Note: This op-ed by Rep. Karen Bass is cross-posted from Roll Call.
In his second inaugural address, President Barack Obama said, “We will support democracy from Asia to Africa, from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom.”
The Ugandan army, or UPDF, earlier this month had a major confrontation with the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA. Acting on a tip the army received about the LRA’s whereabouts in the Central African Republic, the UPDF encountered a small group of rebels approximately 175 miles north of Djema, which led to a firefight leaving Binansio “Binany” Okumu—a former bodyguard of Kony and LRA commander based in Congo—dead.
Here at Enough, we often swap emails with interesting articles and feature stories that we come across in our favorite publications and on our favorite websites. We wanted to share some of these stories with you as part of our effort to keep you up to date on what you need to know in the world of anti-genocide and crimes against humanity work.
Despite failing to see eye-to-eye on a range of issues up for discussion in the Kampala peace talks, the Congolese government and the M23 rebels moved ahead over the weekend with a review of the March 23, 2009 agreement that is officially at the crux of the movement’s rebellion. The Saturday session, which lasted well into the night, left both sides satisfied, according to Thomas Muiti, North Kivu civil society president.
Weeks after delegates first arrived in the Ugandan capital of Kampala for talks aimed at ending the M23 rebellion in eastern Congo, preconditions for the negotiations are just being finalized. But as details about M23-linked gold smuggling from the conflict area underscores, the group maintains an extensive and lucrative network throughout the region, which undermines any hopes that the Kampala process alone will bring about lasting stability.
President Obama signed legislation into law yesterday that will expand the scope of the Rewards for Justice Program. On hand at the Oval Office signing ceremony were representatives from human rights organizations who have been important supporters in this effort and work on these issues every day, including Enough Project Executive Director John C. Bradshaw (second from left) and our partners from Invisible Children, Resolve, and Humanity United.