In 2005 & 2006, as a freshman senator, Barack Obama tried to pass 156 pieces of legislation. Only a single bill of his was signed into law - The Democratic Republic of Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act. Obama’s bill asked that the United States appoint a Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region. The bill passed with bipartisan support and was co-sponsored by Secretary Clinton.
With 5.4 million dead, 1.9 million people in displacement camps, elections fast-approaching, and armed groups committing mass atrocities every day - like rape, slavery, child-soldiers, & conflict mining - we want President Obama and Secretary Clinton to fulfill the mandate of their own law and finally show that they are serious about ending violence in Congo.
Ask the President to appoint a Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region now.
President Obama wrote legislation demanding this appointment in 2006 (see Public Law No. 109-456). Secretary Clinton co-sponsored this bill, which passed with bi-partisan support. It's time to implement this mandate.
A senior-level envoy for the Great Lakes Region, reporting directly to the Secretary of State, is essential to pulling together a comprehensive policy for Congo and making a positive difference in the region. The U.S. Government has yet to present a coherent strategy for resolving the crisis in Congo. Instead, Congo policy sits on the back-burners of various Undersecretary, Ambassador, and Deputy portfolios in the State Department, USAID, the Pentagon, and the White House.
Congo's vital strategic importance as a regional, political, and economic actor has been well documented – what happens in Congo ripples through all of Central Africa. With 5.4 million dead, 1.9 million in displacement camps, 200,000 survivors of rape, elections fast-approaching, and armed groups committing mass atrocities every day - like rape, slavery, child soldiers, and conflict mining - the need for an Envoy could not be more urgent. Only a senior-level envoy can pull together a coordinated US and international policy in time to have the needed impact on Congo's elections and to end violence in the region.
Please appoint a Special Envoy immediately.