another Congolese commander was convicted and imprisoned in 2006 for recruiting

Another congolese commander was convicted and

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another Congolese commander was convicted and imprisoned in 2006 for recruiting child soldiers. He escaped from prison and holds a post as a senior commander in the Congolese Army. There are some bright spots. The UN force, renamed MONUSCO (United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo), has the protection of civilians as its most important task. The present head of MONUSCO, Roger Meece, is a distinguished retired American diplomat who served twice in the Congo, including as
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Ambassador from 2004-2007. Meece has publicly advocated for increased support from the international community. Without increased resources, however, MONUSCO core objective is severely threatened. B. Protecting the Electoral Process in November 2011 In a recent report, the UN Secretary General stated that “delays in the voter registration process and with respect to the adoption of essential legislation posed challenges to the timely holding of the polls.” The report detailed a number of other concerns over preparations for upcoming elections. If the situation continues in the same direction as it is now, Congo will have deeply flawed elections in November that will not meet minimal international standards and will be neither free nor fair. An unfair election with an illegitimate result tarnishes the victor, depriving them of the legitimacy that only comes when citizens elect their leaders in genuinely free and fair elections. An electoral outcome that is questioned, along with a depleted MONUSCO presence, could perpetuate another downward spiral of violence, division, and rupture in the Congo. The last time Congo collapsed, armies came in from across Africa and five million people died. We must learn from history. V. U.S. Involvement In this time of heightened concern over Federal spending, some suggest that austerity demands we turn a blind eye to the crisis in Congo. Nothing could be more misguided. It would simply be a “penny wise and pound foolish” to allow the Congo to again fall into a state of chaos and humanitarian crisis. If Congo were to collapse again, as members of this Subcommittee
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know very well, the United States would respond generously to save lives. We have done so in the past in Congo by providing hundreds of millions of dollars of assistance through the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), Food for Peace, and through various United Nation (UN) agencies (e.g., UNICEF). Our goal must be to avert a humanitarian disaster by proactive investment. The path to stability in today’s Congo requires fostering stable elections and preventing another disaster that could easily require hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian assistance.
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  • Summer '16
  • Ramon Wawire

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