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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs