Tell Obama & Clinton: Appoint a Special Envoy to Congo!
Tell the U.S. government to make peace in Congo a priority.
It’s the deadliest spot in the poorest continent on earth. Millions have died during the conflict between warring rebel militias and the national army. At stake: vast mineral wealth and control of slaves who are forced to work the mines.
Slave labor fuels the fighting and prevents Congo residents from building better lives. Free the Slaves teams have been working on the ground in eastern DRC to uncover the extent of slavery, and to develop ways to end it. FTS and human rights organizations have documented abuses in Congo mining areas—including forced labor, debt bondage, child soldiering, hazardous child labor and the prostitution of children. (See our findings here).
WHAT IS NEEDED NOW: SPECIAL ENVOY TO CONGO
To date, there has been no senior-level envoy in the U.S. government dedicated to implementing a coordinated, focused strategy for helping bring peace to Congo. Consequently, despite many in the government being willing and eager to address the crisis, efforts have remained piecemeal.
That is why Free the Slaves has joined seven other human rights organizations (Africa Faith & Justice Network, A Thousand Sisters, Enough! Project, Falling Whistles, Friends of the Congo, Jewish World Watch and STAND) to urge President Obama, Secretary Clinton and others in the U.S. State Department to appoint a Special Envoy to Congo.
WHY A SPECIAL ENVOY?
FTS believes that the appointment of a Special Envoy of utmost urgency. This could bridge divides among the various U.S. agencies and embassies concentrating on Congo. Reporting directly to the Secretary of State, this official would play an instrumental role in pushing forward a comprehensive policy for Congo—especially with regards to eradicating slavery in the mines.
With Congo’s elections being just 7 months away. Indeed, a senior-level envoy is necessary to achieve a coordinated U.S. and international policy in time to have the needed impact on these elections. Further strengthening the rationale for a speedy appointment, a Special Envoy to the Great Lakes is a legal requirement under Public Law 109-456. Read more about FTS’ actions on slavery in Congo here.
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