Amnesty International is pressuring Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to work with the UN to put pressure on the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to end sexual violence and the recruitment and use of child soldiers. As an email alert notes, these are deeply entwined issues:
Rape is used in the conflict as a calculated strategy to destabilize opposition groups as well as promote fear and submission. It is not unusual for mothers and daughters to be raped in front of their families and villages. Human rights activists working to end violence against women often face grave threats of violence themselves.
Justine Masika Bihamba is one such activist. Because of her work to end violence against women, she and her family have been targeted.
Justine described the current situation in Congo as a war against women. “When two sides fight, the one punishes the other by raping women,” she said.
Putting an end to the rampant sexual violence and the use of child soldiers is essential to ensuring peace in the region.
This video is heartbreaking:
During her confirmation hearings, Clinton herself said of violence against women:
I view these issues as central to our foreign policy, not as adjunct or auxiliary or in any way lesser than all of the other issues that we have to confront.
Click here to sign a letter to Secretary of State Clinton, asking her to work for peace for women and civilians in the DRC.