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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
Global Anti-Poaching Act November 2, 2015
Ed Royce, R-CA
"This is bigger than security. This, frankly, is a security issue for the entire planet. As we watch what is developing with these organizations, wildlife trafficking is now the most lucrative criminal activity—certainly, one of the most lucrative—around the world. I saw an estimate that poaching in Africa is worth $10 billion in annual income for these radical organizations."
Africa’S Great Lakes Region: A Security, Political, And Humanitarian Challenge October 23, 2015
Christopher Smith, R-NJ
"Mr. Speaker, to say that the Great Lakes region of Africa is troubled would be an understatement. Burundi is experiencing continued turmoil due to a recent contentious election. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC, has had some level of conflict since the late 1990s. The Lord’s Resistance Army, also known as the LRA, has plagued several of these countries. Alleged plundering of DRC resources by Rwanda and Uganda have never been fully resolved. Nations in the region have been preoccupied in the last two years with resolving the South Sudan civil war. Definitions vary, but the Great Lakes region, as defined by the U.S. Department of State, comprises Burundi, the DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda. The region is among the most densely populated in Africa, especially around Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika, and enjoys rich agricultural potential, water resources, minerals, and wildlife. However, political instability, conflict, humanitarian crises, and a lack of development remain key challenges. These four countries are the purview of the U.S. Special Envoy to the Great Lakes, Tom Perriello, whom we had before my subcommittee yesterday. We also had Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who has spent a great deal of her time in office dealing with Great Lakes issues. Yesterday’s hearing offered an opportunity to hear from these administration officials not only about continuing U.S. efforts to extinguish the LRA threat, but also the administration’s work with governments in the region on issues such as peace building, governance and adherence to international human rights and democracy standards. In our subcommittee hearings over the last three years, we have uncovered numerous troubling situations: Even with the supposed end of operations by the M23 militia in eastern DRC in late 2013, there are several other militias still causing instability in the region. The Kabila government in the DRC is reportedly using a ban on completing foreign adoptions as leverage to ward off actions to prevent him from prolonging his rule despite a constitutional bar to any reelection bid. Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term, which some Burundians and outside observers viewed as a violation of a landmark peace agreement—and, arguably, the Constitution of Burundi—has led to a political crisis and heightened concerns about regional stability. Human rights abuses in Rwanda were found to be targeted toward real or perceived political opponents prior to 2012, but after 2012, such abuses were seen as more random, expanding the targets of the regime. Maj. Robert Higero, a retired Rwandan military officer, told our subcommittee on May 20th about his solicitation by the Rwandan intelligence chief to kill to high-level defectors. He turned against the government and informed the targets who asked him to record the offer. He did, and the recording was validated by the Globe and Mail in Canada and the British Broadcasting Corporation. The State Department has not only found the allegations to be credible but warned Maj. Higero to leave Belgium where his life was in danger. Although LRA killings have diminished in the past few years, kidnappings by the group have risen as it operates in smaller, scattered cells, using more adults as temporary labor. One witness at our hearing last month said an end to the U.S. support for the counter-LRA effort would be “devastating.” We have heard of the difficulties of addressing issues in this troubled region of Africa by both government and private witnesses over the past few years. However, the fates of these countries are interconnected, and our policies need to take this into account. There are numerous issues in the Great Lakes countries that require examination, and we discussed yesterday what should be a coordinated U.S. policy in this region and we heard from our witnesses what the prospects are for this policy to be implemented."
Stop Wildlife Trafficking In Its Tracks July 23, 2015
Ted Poe, R-TX
"A big reason why is money. The black-market price of ivory in Africa is over $1,000 per pound."
Religious Persecution July 23, 2015
Trent Franks, R-AZ
"The Islamic State, that metastasizing cancer spreading throughout the Middle East and north Africa, is especially targeting Christians, Yazidis, and other ancient religious minorities and communities for extinction."
Congressional Ethiopian American Caucus July 22, 2015
Michael Honda, D-CA
"Ethiopia’s ongoing strategic partnership with the United States in combating al-Shabaab and defeating extremism in the Horn of Africa is an opportunity for the United States to change the narrative in the region away from focusing solely on military solutions and, instead, focusing on a comprehensive approach that addresses the underlying social, economic, and political causes that fuel extremist groups."

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