Look who stopped by the Department of State today! Ben Affleck came to chat about the Great Lakes region of Africa and the Eastern Congo Initiative with Secretary Kerry. Secretary Kerry’s dog Ben just couldn’t resist meeting his favorite actor. 

Look who stopped by the Department of State today! Ben Affleck came to chat about the Great Lakes region of Africa and the Eastern Congo Initiative with Secretary Kerry. Secretary Kerry’s dog Ben just couldn’t resist meeting his favorite actor. 

Finding a Lasting Solution to Instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Congolese soldiers sit on the back of a truck as it drives through the small town off Walikale, Congo, Sept. 21, 2010. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Johnnie Carson serves as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.

As I noted in my recent remarks at the Brookings Institution, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or the DRC, deserves a much higher place on the world’s foreign policy priorities list. Conflict in the DRC has resulted in more than five million deaths since 1998. No other conflict or act of violence since World War II has come anywhere close to taking so many lives. Eastern DRC’s chronic instability also negatively impacts the security, political, economic, and development goals of the country’s nine neighbors. This is one of the reasons why it is imperative for the United States and the international community to work with the DRC and other regional partners to break this cycle of death and suffering and address the consequences of this violence.

The United… more »

Addressing Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Silhouette of rape victim behind screen at clinic in Western Kasai, Congo,  undated. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Melanne Verveer serves as Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues.

Sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) includes the use of rape and sexual terror as a tactic of war in the conflict-affected eastern provinces, as well as pervasive violence against women and girls throughout the rest of the country. I was with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009 when she traveled to the DRC, where we were deeply distressed by what we saw. Secretary Clinton sought President Kabila’s commitment to take stronger action to combat this scourge, improve the protection of citizens and prosecute offenders. We commend the Government of the DRC for its development of a strategy to combat GBV, and encourage further efforts to fully engage women in the country’s economic and political development.

Since that trip, the United States has developed a comprehensive strategy to address SGBV in the DRC. The strategy… more »

Preventing HIV Infection in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Women wait outside the maternity ward in Mweso, Congo's hospital May 12, 2010. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Ambassador Eric Goosby serves as the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator.

This week I am traveling in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country that, while facing many challenges, is home to families who are seeking to build a better future. Health is an important part of a better future for the DRC, and preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) is a key example of a health care service that can strengthen families and communities.

PMTCT provides a triple benefit: in addition to preventing an infant from being infected with HIV, a program can also provide antiretroviral treatment to keep the mother alive, which in turn prevents her other children from being orphaned. So PMTCT is a smart investment — it has an impressive impact, and is strikingly cost-effective as well.

Led by the U.S. through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the world has made dramatic progress on PMTCT over… more »

By: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew J. Shapiro 

I recently traveled to Djibouti, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Vicki Huddleston and representatives from the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), and a colleague from the Department’s Bureau of African Affairs. This was the first trip to the region by an Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs in at least the last 10 years, and a unique opportunity to see first-hand much of the assistance we have provided to the region. My visit reinforced to me the importance of the efforts of the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs in Eastern and Central Africa to train peacekeepers, combat piracy, support military reform, and eliminate excessive quantities of small-arms. These security assistance programs, overseen by our Bureau, support the State Department’s mission to promote stability and good governance and set the stage for humanitarian aid and development…