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 »

Resolving the Plight of Persecuted, Uprooted People Around the World

Afghan refugee children stand on their belonging loaded on a truck as they depart for Afghanistan at a UNHCR repatriation terminal near Quetta, Pakistan, Nov. 17, 2012. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Anne C. Richard serves as Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration.

2012 was a challenging year for humanitarians trying to help displaced people around the world. The following summarizes some of the challenges addressed by the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) last year.

Inside Syria, 40,000 people have been killed and over two million are displaced. Over half a million people have fled to neighboring countries. The U.S. government (the State Department and USAID) is providing $210 million in humanitarian aid to the region, and this aid is reaching millions.

Last year, refugees fled violence and drought in Northern Mali and… more »

Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs Johnnie Carson Testifies on “The Evolving Security Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Implications for U.S. National Security” before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington, D.C. on December 20, 2012. [Go to http://www.state.gov/p/af/rls/rm/2012/202276.htm for as-prepared remarks.]

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 »

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…