Last semester, several student organizations came together to raise awareness about the violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has claimed over 5.4 million lives. Human rights abuses perpetrated in the context of the war include sexual and gender-based violence, child soldiering and forced labor. 

Amnesty International; Students Against Trafficking; African Students Association; Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment; and Empowerment through Development and Gender Equality are currently working toward getting the University of Wisconsin to issue a statement about the presence of minerals sourced from armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the electronics we buy. As the university as a whole works toward socially responsible procurement and investment policies for electronics, individual students can also take action for human rights in Congo.

Today, students across the country are calling President Barack Obama to urge him to develop a coordinated U.S. response to the crisis in the eastern Congo. Specifically, we will ask him to appoint a presidential envoy to participate in the peace process currently underway in Congo. An international presence is needed to facilitate this process because the parties currently participating in the peace process all are implicated in the violence, and have problematic ulterior motives. The last time these groups came together to discuss “peace,” the result was more instability.

Please join Amnesty International UW and students from across the country in calling the White House today to ask Obama to appoint a presidential envoy to the peace process in Congo. Dial 1-888-542-4146 today – we’ll give you simple, clear instructions and then transfer you straight to the White House. It will only take a minute, and your call could make a big difference.

If you are interested in learning more about what else you can do to help take action on campus, please email ([email protected]) or come to Amnesty International UW’s spring kickoff meeting Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. in Humanities 1651.

Katy Johnson ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in political science, international studies and African studies.

Mark Bennett ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in journalism and political science.