A day after his appointment as the US Special Representative for the African Great Lakes region and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 17 organizations, among them Africa Faith and Justice Network, published an open letter to Senator Russ Feingold outlining some policy priorities for region and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in particular. “There are so many terrible symptoms of the crisis afflicting the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its Great Lakes neighbors – and so many international efforts to deal with them – that policy makers can lose sight of the fundamental roots of these problems.

In our view, the U.S. and the international community have failed to give sufficient priority to two root causes: (1) the failure of DRC’s democratic elections and institutions and (2) the absence of a comprehensive regional peace process. Unless these central issues are addressed, ongoing international programs to strengthen Congolese security forces, improve governance, promote human rights, and foster sustainable economic development will founder.

Read the entire letter here.