African securityInitiative launched to expose those who fund, profit from wars in Africa
Oscar-winner actor George Clooney, in an effort to tackle corruption in war zones, on Monday launched an initiative to identify and help bring to justice individuals funding and profiting from Africa’s deadliest conflicts. Clooney and U.S. human rights activist John Prendergast launched the project, called The Sentry, which will investigate money flowing in and out of conflict zones, and pass on the information to policymakers to take action.
Oscar-winner actor George Clooney, in an effort to tackle corruption in war zones, on Monday launched an initiative to identify and help bring to justice individuals funding and profiting from Africa’s deadliest conflicts.
Clooney and U.S. human rights activist John Prendergast launched the project, called The Sentry, which will investigate money flowing in and out of conflict zones, and pass on the information to policymakers to take action.
Al Jazeera reports that the project will use field research and analysis technology to collect the information. The project aims to expose how conflict is financed and profits laundered, with the project’s Web site calling on people to submit information and tips anonymously.
Clooney has already been campaigning to highlight the plight of refugees in Sudan, and he and Prendergast said the goal was to “deny war profiteers the proceeds from their crimes.”
“Real leverage for peace and human rights will come when the people who benefit from war will pay a price for the damage they cause,” Clooney said in a statement.
The initiative will investigate the financing of conflicts from northeast to central Africa, including Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Sudan, and South Sudan. The Sentry says that its goal is to “dismantle the networks of perpetrators, facilitators and enablers who fund and profit from Africa’s deadliest conflicts,” which the project identified as taking place in these four countries.
Earlier this year, a report from the Project for the Study of the 21st Century found the death toll in the world’s most brutal conflicts climbed by more than 28 percent in 2014, with five African countries among the ten deadliest nations.
Clooney and Prendergast, who served as Africa director at the U.S. National Security Council, have also founded the Enough Project in 2007 to monitor and fight crimes against humanity.
They collaborated again in 2010 on the Satellite Sentinel Project, which employed satellites to map evidence of human rights abuses.
The Sentry also has the backing of Not on Our Watch, an organization which fight human rights abuses in South Sudan, and which was co-founded with other actors including Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Don Cheadle.
Akshaya Kumar, a policy analyst with the Enough Project, told Al Jazeera on Monday the idea for The Sentry came from a dissatisfaction with traditional peacemaking and conflict mitigation approaches.
“We were inspired by the success of financial warfare in the fight to stem terrorist operations, money laundering and drug trafficking,” Kumar said.
Pendergast said that “conventional tools of diplomacy” had so far failed and that “new efforts [to end wars] must center on how to make war more costly than peace.”
“The objective of The Sentry is to follow the money and deny those war profiteers the proceeds from their crimes,” Prendergast said.