U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) Tobin Bradley visited the DRC July 28-August 2 in support of the U.S.-DRC Privileged Partnership for Peace and Prosperity, plus Preservation of the Environment.
During a meeting with President Felix Tshisekedi, the President and DAS Bradley discussed opportunities for deepening cooperation on countering “the gangrene” that is corruption, strengthening civilian security, and combatting the wildlife trafficking and illegal exploitation of natural resources. DAS Bradley also met with the Coordinator of the Agency for the Prevention and Fight Against Corruption, the Inspector General of Finance, and Executive Secretary of the Financial Intelligence Unit to accelerate efforts to bring corrupt individuals to justice. Bradley highlighted how INL assistance can strengthen their institutions’ ability to investigate allegations of human rights abuses and hold corrupt actors accountable, as well as the need to protect whistleblowers and journalists who expose criminal activity.
With Vice Minister of Interior Jean Claude Mol and the Congolese National Police, Bradley reiterated the U.S. commitment to supporting police reform in the DRC, including an additional program that will focus on improving police accountability. In addition, the Ministry of Environment briefed Bradley on Vice Prime Minister Bazaiba’s reform agenda to better ensure DRC’s natural spaces and wildlife are protected for the benefit of the Congolese people and the world. Eliminating illicit economic activities will contribute to promoting peace and security in Eastern DRC.
In Nord Kivu, Bradley met with Vice Governor General Romy Ekuka, environmental lawyers, and visited Virunga National Park to observe INL-funded programs and how they are combatting mineral and wildlife trafficking that fuels crime and instability. Together with the Congolese National Police, Bradley participated in the signing of the transfer of a new INL-funded mining police station for Walikale. Twenty-eight newly trained police will work with community leaders in Walikale to combat mineral trafficking and prevent child labor. In Virunga, Bradley met with DRC’s first ever park ranger pilot trainees who, through support from INL, will strengthen surveillance and detection of illegal activity throughout the park, that will contribute to the fight against wildlife trafficking.
“We created this partnership and will continue to provide this assistance in North and South Kivu because tackling mineral and wildlife trafficking contributes to a more stable security environment for the citizens of the DRC, which is essential for the country’s prosperity,” Bradley explained.
Regarding his visit, DAS Bradley concluded: “From President Tshisekedi to committed police leaders who want change, I heard acknowledgement of and steadfast determination to tackle corruption, which President Tshisekedi rightfully called ‘the gangrene that is everywhere.’ INL looks forward to expanding our work together to enable DRC to deliver results for the Congolese people, reach its true economic potential, and become a net contributor to regional peace and security.”
The Bureau of INL, part of the United States Department of State, fights crime by helping foreign governments build effective law enforcement institutions that counter transnational crime, combats corruption, and builds transparent and accountable public institutions—a cornerstone of strong, stable, and fair societies.