I’d like to encourage you to contact your senators requesting that they become co-sponsors of this resolution (the list of senators who are already co-sponsors are at the bottom of this message).   You can go to the following website to find out how to contact your senator through the internet or by phone. http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

And please ask all your friends to do the same.

 

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

November 19, 2008  http://feingold.senate.gov/~feingold/releases/08/11/20081119.html 

WashingtonD.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 travelled toNorth 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).

A copy of the resolution can be viewed here.

Lorraine M.Thompson, Ph.D.

lorraine@pairofdocs.net

www.pairofdocs.net

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