independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Oscar winner Ben Afleck calls for US action on Democratic Republic of Congo

Actor, writer and director Ben Affleck twirls his pencil before testifying at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Photo: Reuters/Gary Cameron

Academy award-winner Ben Affleck sees a window of hope in the Democratic Republic of Congo after years of strife and is urging US politicians not to let the opportunity for progress slip away.

Affleck is the founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative, a four-year-old advocacy organisation dedicated to peace and prosperity in the region.

The actor and director was meeting with senators and testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Affleck and former Senator Russell Feingold, the special envoy for the region, spoke about the changes in the former Belgian colony of around 68 million.

Congo is one of the most volatile in Africa with an estimated five million people killed since a regional war that began in 1997.

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