Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Rape used as a weapon of war in Congo

In some Congolese villages up to 90 percent of women have been raped, CBSNews.com reported Sunday.

There is a risk of rape in any war zone, but “what’s different in Congo,” says Anneka Van Woudenberg, senior Congo researcher at Human Rights Watch, “is the scale and the systematic nature of it, indeed, as well, the brutality. This is not rape because the soldiers have got bored and have nothing to do. It is a way to ensure that communities accept the power and authority of that particular armed group. This is about showing terror. This is about using it as a weapon of war.”

The current situation stems from the genocide in neighboring Rwanda over a decade ago. In the years since, the Congolese army, foreign-backed rebels and home grown militias have fought over power and Congo’s mineral-rich land.

Despite the presence of 17,000 U.N. peacekeeping troops and personnel, who recently created a fragile peace and oversaw the first democratic elections in the country in 40 years, fighting has broken out once again. Each battle sees horrific violence and the displacement of countless persons.

For the full article, click here.


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