African Great Lakes Coalition Recommendations to the US Senate
On Tuesday, December 6, 2011 the African Great Lakes Advocacy Coalition (Africa Faith and Justice Network, African Great Lakes Action Network, Friends of the Congo, Foreign Policy in Focus) briefed members of the United States Senate and their staff of how the United States can leverage existing laws and policies to immediately address the electoral crisis in the Congo. Below are the recommendations made to the U.S. Senate.
On November 28, 2011, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) held its second presidential and parliamentary elections since the devastating war that began in 1996 and continues to claim lives in the eastern part of the country. Assassinations, intimidation, and other human rights violations have been reported since the beginning of the electoral process. On December 6, 2011, the preliminary presidential election results are expected to be announced. Both the Congolese people and the international community are concerned about violence engulfing the country and possibly its neighbors. Unresolved issues of accountability, impunity and lack of justice as identified in the UN Mapping Exercise Report demand a concerted international engagement.
On June 29, 2006, the United States Senate passed S. 2125: Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act of 2006, which was subsequently passed into law on Dec 22, 2006; Public Law No: 109-456.
Section 102 (1) of the law states:
It is the policy of the United States to help promote, reinvigorate, and support the political process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in order to press all parties in the Transitional National Government and the succeeding government to implement fully and to institutionalize mechanisms, including national and international election observers, fair and transparent voter registration procedures, and a significant civic awareness and public education campaign created for the July 30, 2006, elections and future elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to ensure that elections are carried out in a fair and democratic manner.
In concert with U.S. law and stated U.S. policy, we urgently request of the US government to be engaged in the following ways:
1. Call for transparency in the voting results and support the verification process that ensures the results reflect the will of the people.
2. Continue to engage the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a committed and helpful partner by strongly condemning, pressuring and assisting to hold accountable those responsible for the violence that occurred before, during and after the elections.