Weekly STAND Education Update
DRC, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Libya
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Due to mounting allegations of widespread voter fraud, including the fraudulent duplication of hundreds of thousands of voter registration cards and gerrymandering, demonstrators took to the streets to protest last week. The Congolese policy disbursed protesters from the UDPS and the PPRD using tear gas and arrested members of both parties.
The United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) says it is actively working to bolster security in the northeast region of the country before the November elections. Senior military officials announced they are meeting to review strategies to “preemptively” combat armed insurgent groups which threaten stability, civilian security and transparency in the election process. (http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/MONUSCO-Reviews-Strategy-to-Bolster-Congo-Security-Ahead-of-Polls–130528968.html)
Despite the meeting last week between all major Congolese political parties in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia facilitated by the African Union, the path towards a peaceful election process remains unclear. Though the goal of the meeting was to establish a national framework for good practices around the elections, it will become apparent in the new few weeks if this translated into real impact on the ground.
Last week, Rep. Martin J. Walsh introduced a bill in the Massachusetts State Legislature, An Act Relative to Congo Conflict Minerals or HD 04065. If passed, HD 04065 would make Massachusetts the second state in the nation to pass conflict minerals legislation for Congo.
However the debate on the true impact on the ground of conflict minerals legislation only continues. Despite the fact that the rules of Dodd-Frank Section 1502 have not been finalized, companies like Apple and Hewlett-Packard are choosing to end sourcing from the region rather than wait for the fine print. This has resulted in a 90% decrease in mineral exports from eastern Congo, with primarily Chinese companies remaining in the region. (http://af.reuters.com/article/drcNews/idAFL5E7L31S720111004?sp=true)
In 2008, a U.S. law was passed restricting the flow of taxpayer funding to foreign militaries that enlist child soldiers in armed combat. However on Tuesday the White House issued a memorandum to allow military funding to the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as five other countries that are known to recruit and enlist child soldiers in both government and non-state militia. The spokesman for the National Security Council cited national security interests as the motivation for the memorandum, saying it “sends a clear signal to the Government of the DRC that it must do more, while allowing for the provision of certain forms of training and supplies that will serve to further professionalize the DRC’s military.” (http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/obama-waives-child-soldier-ban-yemen-congo/story?id=14663930)
Sudan and South Sudan
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said Sudanese government forces were poised to attack a stronghold of armed rebels in Blue Nile state, and vowed not to negotiate with what he called mutineers.
Officials in South Sudan have indicated that the ongoing food crisis in the newly independent country could develop into a famine if no immediate remedies are taken. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has confirmed this analysis and have sounded the alarm over a looming food crises in Sudan’s border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, saying it needs at least 3.5 million USD to save the harvest in both regions. Additionally, the Sudanese economy faces collapse unless the international community steps in to provide assistance in the area of debt relief.
A newly established Darfur rebel group—the Sudanese Bloc to Liberate the Republic (SBLR)—has announced its merger with the mainstream rebels Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), urging “forces of change” in Sudan to unite behind the goal of overthrowing the government.
At least two people have been reportedly killed in a clash between police and rebel forces loyal to George Athor Deng in Jonglei, but the army however assured the situation is under full control.
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, revealed that the issue of corruption was at the top of his agenda in his discussions with the US president, Barrack Obama, during his recent visit to New York.
Syria and Libya
The Syrian government reported Monday that it had reestablished control of the Syrian city of Rastan. In past weeks the city became a focal point for armed clashes between Syrian security forces loyal to the government and those who have defected over to the opposition. NYT reports that numerous arrests have been made of suspected opposition figures or defectors as Syrian security forces have conducted sweeps throughout the city. In other cities throughout country, protests and armed clashes continue, particularly in the city of Homs.
Al-Jazeera reports that forces of Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) are conducting a final to push to seize the city of Surt. The embattled city been the site of fierce fighting for several weeks and remains one of the final loyalist strongholds.
The leaders of Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) announced Mondaytheir intentions to step down once the city of Sirte has been captured, aiming to pave the way towards a proper transitional government and eventual democratic elections.
The United Nations Human Rights Office has released a statement asserting that the death toll in Syria’s unrest now stands at over 2,900 killed since protests began. On Tuesday the planned UN Security Council resolution condemning the Syrian regime’s crackdown failed to pass, owing tothe vetoes of Russia and China.
The education update is produced every Thursday to update STAND members and the advocacy community about developments with regards to genocide and crimes against humanity. For more information contact the following:
Education Coordinator: Sean Langberg email@example.com
Sudan Education Coordiator: Emma Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
DRC Education Coordinator: Siobhan Kelly email@example.com
Emerging Crises Education Coordinator: Tom Dolzall firstname.lastname@example.org