09 November, 2008

Congo’s women mutilated, children sent into battle

The cease-fire collapsed in eastern Congo this week as fighting resumed.

As rebels make demands from the Congolese government, civilians are caught in between. Beyond ongoing hunger and starvation, crimes against humanity include the rape of women and the recruitment of children into war.

United Nations officials have called the epidemic of sexual violence in Congo “the worst in the world,” pointing to the 27,000 sexual assaults reported in South Kivu Province in 2006. Often, women are mutilated and left to die.

The “Healing trauma in DR Congo” blog writes about tackling problems like rape by supporting women empowerment programs.

The “generalspeaking” blog discusses the fate of women in wartime, and writes that both the military and militias in Congo use rape as a weapon.

Blogger “Amber” considers why rape is considered an acceptable tool in Congo and elsewhere.

Children, too, live in fear — Save the Children recently reported that amid the current conflict, armed groups attacked two schools in order recruit child soldiers. Here is a map of child soldiers fighting in Congo and around the world.

Chris Blattman of Yale University talks about his study on the motivation for child soldier recruitment in his blog.

Watch a documentary on the situation of Congo’s children — who are soldiers, prostitutes and refugees.




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