When I get time I will check out the difference between this effort and the past ones from the same politicians! So some people try to really understand what is going on though they are far from proposing a perfect solution, which no one has anyway as long as the Congolese people do not look for the solution themselves!
For Immediate Release – November 19, 2008
Contact: Zach Lowe & Katie Rowley (Feingold) 202-224-5323
Brian Hart (Brownback) 202-228-3107
FEINGOLD, BROWNBACK CALL FOR CEASEFIRE IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
Resolution is a Bipartisan Effort to Implement a Comprehensive Solution to Violence in DRC
Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) introduced a bipartisan resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) following escalating violence in the country. Feingold and Brownback, Chairman and former member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs respectively, were joined by 15 other senators in condemning the violence against civilians and encouraging the international community to work for a comprehensive and lasting solution to the crisis. The resolution calls for an immediate ceasefire as a critical step toward reviving the dialogue between warring parties, while also allowing humanitarian assistance to get to those who desperately need it. According to an International Rescue Committee report in January 2008, the conflict and related humanitarian crisis in the DRC has led to an estimated 5.4 million deaths since 1998 and the toll continues to rise by as many as 45,000 deaths each month.
"Last year, I traveled to North Kivu, where the fighting is taking place, and saw firsthand the grave suffering of people who have lived through a decade of armed conflict," Feingold said. "I urge my Senate colleagues to support this resolution calling for a ceasefire as the renewed violence has only worsened the suffering of the people in the DRC and has left thousands displaced from their homes. There is no military solution to the conflict in eastern Congo; the international community must work collectively with countries in the region to ensure all sides develop and implement a political solution."
Brownback said, "The conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the forgotten crisis in our world today. With over 250,000 people displaced in the last two months, sporadic fighting between armed groups, rape and sexual violence thriving on impunity, this forgotten crisis continues to pass through each of our hands without our knowledge. Exploited minerals, used in our daily electronics, are being smuggled out of eastern Congo which in turn are funding armed groups and allowing this conflict to continue. We call on the electronics industry for transparency in their products, we call for an immediate ceasefire and negotiations towards a political solution to this conflict, and we call on the international community to not allow Congo to fall into the shadows once again and be so easily forgotten."
The Feingold-Brownback resolution:
Condemns the continuing violence against civilians
Calls for a ceasefire
Calls on the DRC government to end the threat posed by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda
Calls on the governments of DRC and Rwanda to restore bilateral relations
Calls on the governments in the Great Lakes region and Southern Africa Development Community to support a peaceful resolution and ensure the volatile situation does not spark a wider regional war
Supports efforts to bring all parties to negotiating table to implement peace agreement
Encourages the international community to enhance effectiveness of the U.N. Mission in Congo
Urges U.S. government to sustain high-level diplomatic engagement with the A.U., E.U. and U.N. to avert wider regional war
Urges U.S. and international community to develop mechanisms to hold parties accountable to signed peace agreements
Urges U.S. and international community to adopt measures to help regional governments to identify and address factors underlying the conflict, like weak governance and exploitation of the region's lucrative materials.
The resolution is cosponsored by a bipartisan group of senators including Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Kerry (D-MA), Chris Dodd (D-CT), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Kit Bond (R-MO), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).