News / Africa

    Advocacy Groups Welcome New US Great Lakes Envoy

    FILE- Sen. Russ Feingold, Nov 2, 2013.FILE- Sen. Russ Feingold, Nov 2, 2013.
    x
    FILE- Sen. Russ Feingold, Nov 2, 2013.
    FILE- Sen. Russ Feingold, Nov 2, 2013.
    James Butty
    Nineteen advocacy groups and Congo experts are giving the thumps up to President Barack Obama’s appointment of former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold as the new U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    Feingold is a former chairman of the Africa Subcommittee in the Senate and co-author of several legislations on the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels and the crisis in the DRC.

    His appointment comes on the heels of the signing of a peace framework by Great Lakes Region countries and the dispatch of a UN intervention brigade composed of African troops.

    Sasha Lezhnev, senior policy analyst for the Enough Project, a U.S.-based advocacy group, said advocacy groups have sent an open letter to Mr. Feingold urging him to use leverage and incentives to focus on the many concerns in the DRC.

    “We warmly welcome Senator Feingold as the new Special Envoy to the Great Lakes region. By appointing Senator Feingold, Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama are sending strong signals to the people in eastern Congo and in fact that they deem Congo to be a priority and ending this war to be an important part of the administration’s strategy in Africa,” he said.
    Butty interview with Sasha
    Butty interview with Sashai
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

     In their open letter to Senator Feingold, the 19 advocacy groups called on him to focus on democratic reforms in the Congo, and to ensure peace between the DRC and its neighbors.

    “We are calling on Senator Feingold to focus on two main areas to help enable peace in the region. First of all, to make sure to hold the Congolese government accountable for meaningful democratization reforms. The government needs to hold provincial and local elections which are long, long overdue. Number two, there needs to be a very serious reform of the Congolese army,” Lezhnev said.

    They called for expanding assistance to build democratic and effective political parties, as well as strengthen legislative capacity.

    The groups also called on the US to use “carrots and sticks” to advance cooperation between and the DRC and its neighbors, including the use of sanctions and restriction of financial support.

    “The US is the largest shareholder in the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. So it can use it to help incentivize progress in the peace process. Number two, the US gives various forms of military aid which it can put on and take off the table if necessary; and the US has a sanctions region. So if any official or smugglers are found to be enabling armed groups they should be sanctioned,” Lezhnev said.

    An estimated 5.4 million people have died since 1996 in the DRC conflicts. In their open letter to the new US Special Envoy, the advocacy groups expressed their support for establishment of specific benchmarks for progress, noting shortcomings in past international peace efforts.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora