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Ambassador-JOHNNIE-CARSON.jpgJohnnie Carson
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs
Testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health
Washington, DC
May 25, 2010

Chairman Payne, Ranking Member Smith, and Members of the Committee,


I welcome the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss “The Great Lakes Region: Current Conditions and U.S. Policy.” The countries of the Great Lakes region are inextricably linked. Although each has its own unique challenges, events in one country invariably affect the others, and often the wider region, as well. We spend a significant amount of diplomatic time and attention working on issues associated with the Great Lakes.

In just the past two months, dozens of senior officials from the Africa Bureau and the Department of State have traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. In addition to travel in the region, Senior Advisor for the Great Lakes region Howard Wolpe – a former chairman of this subcommittee and a key member of my team – has traveled to Europe and New York to consult with our international partners on issues of common interest. And of course, last August, Secretary Clinton made her important and historic trip to the DRC that continues to pay dividends in our bilateral relationship with that critical country.

These visits underline our commitment to helping regional governments, both individually and in cooperation with one another, resolve the domestic and cross-border issues that challenge regional security and stability and continue to place millions of civilians at risk. Addressing these issues has been, and continues to be, a slow and daunting process – certainly more so than we would like – but the situation has improved as the countries in the region have renewed and strengthened ties amongst themselves, and we remain dedicated to doing what we can to keep that positive momentum going.



As I mentioned at the beginning of my testimony, the countries of the region are inextricably linked. Refugees from Rwanda’s genocide (as well as perpetrators of it) fled across the border into the DRC, and the FDLR, no longer able to flex its muscle in Rwanda, continues to plunder the DRC.

Our policy priority in Rwanda is to further internal stability and social cohesion by promoting national reconciliation, economic growth, good governance, justice, and democratic values. We appreciate, in the context of the most tragic event in recent history –the genocide – the need for security, stability, and reconciliation is critical. But long-term stability is best promoted by democratic governance and respect for human rights.

The presidential elections in Rwanda this August are expected to be peaceful and non-violent. However, the security environment ahead of the elections is of concern. We strongly condemn the series of recent grenade attacks in Kigali that have caused numerous casualties as well as anxiety and unease in the population in the run-up to the elections.

The political environment ahead of the election has been riddled by a series of worrying actions taken by the Government of Rwanda, which appear to be attempts to restrict the freedom of expression. In a period of months, the Government of Rwanda has suspended two newspapers, revoked the work permit and denied the visa of a Human Rights Watch researcher, and arrested (and subsequently released on bail) opposition leader Victoire Ingabire, who has been linked to the FDLR. Despite multiple attempts, two political parties – the Green Party and FDU Inkingi – have still been unable to register. Dissention within the ruling party also appears to have surfaced.

We have relayed our concerns about these developments to the Government of Rwanda, urging senior government leaders to respect freedoms of expression, press, association, and assembly. In particular, we have pressed leaders to allow all international and domestic non-governmental organizations and media to operate and report freely. We have also urged leaders to treat Victoire Ingabire in accordance with international law, ensure due process, and give her a speedy, fair, and transparent trial. We have urged the Government of Rwanda and all regional and international partners to work together to achieve free, fair, and peaceful elections that the people of Rwanda deserve.

Leading up to the elections, the United States Government has supported a program that provides organizational and policy-development skills to political party leaders from all ten parties in Rwanda. The USG also plans to send approximately a dozen teams to observe the elections.


Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I want to thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Johnnie Carson*, Secrétaire d'État adjoint pour l'Afrique


Lire l'intégralité du discours de l'Ambassadeur JOHNNIE CARSON


Ambassador-JOHNNIE-CARSON.jpg*Qui est Johnnie Carson ?

Le 20 mars, le président Barack Obama a soumis au Sénat pour confirmation la nomination de M. Johnnie Carson au poste de secrétaire d'Etat adjoint aux affaires africaines, en remplacement de Mme Jendayi Frazer, titulaire de ce poste sous l'ancien gouvernement Bush.

Diplomate de carrière avec 37 ans de service et trois fois ambassadeur en Afrique, M. Carson siégeait, avant ses fonctions actuelles de Secrétaire adjoint pour l’Afrique, au Conseil national du renseignement (NIC) en tant que responsable des questions relatives à ce continent. Il a accédé à ce poste en septembre 2006 après avoir été, de 2003 à 2006, premier vice-président de la National Defense University, située à Washington.

M. Carson a été ambassadeur au Kénya de 1999 à 2003, au Zimbabwé de 1995 à 1997 et en Ouganda de 1991 à 1994. De 1997 à 1999, il avait occupé au siège du département d'Etat le poste de premier sous-secrétaire d'Etat adjoint au Bureau des affaires africaines.

Auparavant, il avait occupé divers postes à l'étranger (au Portugal, au Botswana, au Mozambique et au Nigéria) ainsi qu'à Washington, à la section Afrique du Bureau du renseignement et de la recherche du département d'État et comme membre du personnel du secrétaire d'État (1978-1979). De 1979 à 1982, il avait dirigé le personnel d'appui de la sous-commission africaine de la Chambre des représentants.

Avant d'accéder au service diplomatique, M. Carson était en Tanzanie en tant que volontaire du Corps de la paix. Diplômé d'histoire et de sciences politiques de l'université Drake, il est titulaire d'une maîtrise en relations internationales de la faculté des études orientales et africaines de l'université de Londres.

M. Carson a reçu du département d'Etat plusieurs prix pour services distingués et notamment le prix du Mérite de la secrétaire d'État Madeleine Albright. Le Centre d'épidémiologie des États-Unis lui a décerné sa plus haute décoration, celle de « champion de la prévention » pour sa gestion des programmes américains de prévention du sida au Kénya.

Diplomate de carrière accompli, Johnnie Carson a à son actif un palmarès très complet relatif à l'Afrique, couvrant plusieurs décennies et toute une gamme de postes. Il possède une connaissance approfondie de nos capacités diplomatiques et il sait combien est importante la collaboration entre nos organismes fédéraux.


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