December 10, 2012
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As the situation once again dramatically deteriorates in eastern Congo, the U.S. response to the crisis has patently failed and is out of step with other Western nations. The United States must take immediate steps to address meaningfully one of the greatest ongoing humanitarian crises of our generation. We call on you to appoint a Presidential Envoy to lead a coordinated U.S. response to the crisis, to support the appointment of a U.N. Envoy to the Great Lakes, to support the imposition of sanctions against violators of the United Nations arms embargo on DRC, and, finally, to cut all military assistance and suspend other non-humanitarian aid to the government of Rwanda for its support of the M23 insurgency.
Silence Regarding Rwanda’s Involvement Exacerbating the Problem
Over the past 15 years, U.S. efforts to prioritize quiet diplomacy to address Rwandan involvement in eastern Congo have failed to deter Rwanda’s continued incursions and use of proxy armed groups in the east.
While Rwanda has legitimate security and economic concerns, these alone do not justify the repeated violation of DRC sovereignty, the egregious human rights abuses of their armies and proxy forces, and the countless violations of the UN arms embargo. Since the M23 was created in the spring of 2012, U.S. officials continued to place faith in engaging Rwanda in a constructive dialogue. This approach has clearly failed to change Rwanda’s policy, as evidenced by the direct involvement of the Rwandan army in the recent takeover of Goma, as documented by the United Nations Group of Experts. Read the full letter