Posts Tagged ‘congo’

Global Call for Justice in the DRC

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Congo Week: Day Six

 

Guest Post from:

Kambale Musavuli

Student Coordinator, Spokesperson
Friends of the Congo

 

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This week – October 17 – 23 – Friends of the Congo is running its third Congo Week – Breaking the Silence – in a bid to raise awareness of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and help end the violence. All week I will be featuring blog posts related to the DRC from activists, academics and Congolese citizens.

Today – Friends of the Congo’s Kambale Musavuli examines what you can do to support the Congolese-led call for justice in the DRC. The views are his own. Global Citizen has done only mild editing for length and clarity.

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October 1st, 2010 marks a historic date where finally the Congolese people have been given a chance to demand justice for the atrocities that have been taking place in the Congo since 1996. On that day, the United Nations Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights published a report documenting 617 alleged violent incidents occurring in the Democratic Republic of Congo between March 1993 and June 2003. In light of this report, people throughout the globe have issued a worldwide call for justice in response to the greatest crimes committed against humanity at the dawn of the 21st Century in the heart of Africa.

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Warscape: Rape and Commerce in the DRC

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Congo Week: Day Five

 

Guest Post from:

Pamela Scully

Professor of Women’s Studies and African Studies,

Chair of Dept of Women’s Studies

Emory University

 

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This week – October 17 – 23 – Friends of the Congo is running its third Congo Week – Breaking the Silence – in a bid to raise awareness of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and help end the violence. All week I will be featuring blog posts related to the DRC from activists, academics and Congolese citizens.

Today – Emory University Professor Pamela Scully examines “economic Warscape” — the use of rape as a weapon of war and a means of driving profit. The views are her own. Global Citizen has done only mild editing for length and clarity.

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The Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is a perfect example of what I call an economic Warscape—a place where individuals, groups, and companies profit off systemic and systematic violence.  Structures of exploitation in the DRC now depend on fermenting and regulating “chaos.” What look like random acts of rape and terror, are in fact part of complex negotiations and structures that have emerged in the eastern DRC in the conflagration of the region in the wake of Rwandan genocide of 1994.

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Getting Active for Congo

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

 

Congo Week: Day Four

 

Guest Post from:

Sadia Hameed

Raise Hope for Congo Campaign Manager, the Enough Project

 

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This week – October 17 – 23 – Friends of the Congo is running its third Congo Week – Breaking the Silence – in a bid to raise awareness of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and help end the violence. All week I will be featuring blog posts related to the DRC from activists, academics and Congolese citizens.

Today – The Enough Project’s Raise Hope for Congo Campaign Manager Sadia Hameed takes a look at the differences she observed in the DRC as a result of action by Congolese civil society, U.S. consumers and constituents – and the need to get, and stay, involved. The views are her own. Global Citizen has done only mild editing for length and clarity.

 

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After spending over a week in eastern Congo I find myself staring out of my office window watching the bustle of DC streets contemplating how to give voice to the many complexities that I learned, witnessed and discussed in my exchanges with Congolese men, women and youth. One clear recollection I have is how not a single person I met or spoke with was unaffected by the conflict – it is pervasive and touches everyone, even if they have not been directly targeted by armed groups.  Their stories told tales of surviving brutality that I can barely begin to digest, but despite the haunting sorrow, trauma and loss recounted, they each emanated strength and conviction that a future unstained by death and devastation will be realized. Their sheer resilience in the face of steep challenges was both staggering and deeply inspiring. I witnessed the energy of Congolese professionals, activists and survivors, actively engaged in combating the effects of conflict and finding solutions toward peace and stability, often at the risk of their lives, security and bodily integrity.

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Help Me Break the Silence

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

 

Congo Week: Day One

 

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What do you think of when you think of the Democratic Republic of Congo?

What’s that you say?!? You don’t think of the Democratic Republic of Congo? Hardly surprising.

Let’s be honest. Most people would be hard pressed to say what a Democratic Republic of Congo is, much less spend a lot of time thinking about it.

Well, we should.

And yes, of course, I am going to tell you why ….

Because each and every one of us can play a role –

without even leaving our chairs –

to stop one of the most horrific conflicts in the world.

 

The Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC, is a country in Africa ravaged by a conflict driven by competing forces’ desire for control of the country’s vast resources of copper, tin, tungsten, tantalum, gold and cobalt. This conflict has been marked by some of the world’s most egregious cases of sexual violence perpetrated against civilian populations for the sole purpose of sowing fear and forcing submission. Armed combatants follow no acceptable rules of war – even the country’s army is regularly accused of participating in abusive practices and seeking control of funds generated by mining. Children and families are forced to work in inhumane conditions.  Death stalks the Congolese hour after hour, day after day, month after month ….

Like the “blood diamonds” of Sierra Leone, profits from the sale of DRC’s minerals are used to fund the conflict. Like the “blood diamonds” the appetite of global markets – via computers, cell phones and other electronics – is helping the trade.

This week – October 17 – 23 – Friends of the Congo is running its third Congo Week – Breaking the Silence – in a bid to raise awareness of the conflict in the DRC and help end the violence.

So what can you do?

 

EASY.

 

Keep reading. All this week, I will be featuring guest bloggers each with a unique voice and viewpoint on the DRC, the conflict, and what we can do to help stop it.

Spread the word. Help me break the silence by sharing the blog posts via Twitter, Facebook and any other way you like.

Get informed.  Learn about the DRC and our role in the ongoing conflict. Read things like this recent piece from actress Ashley Judd and the Enough Project’s Jon Prendergast on the DRC, minerals and cell phones.

Take action. Friends of the Congo, The Enough Project and others consistently champion efforts to improve the situation in the DRC that contain actions members of the public can take to get involved.

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Tweeps exercise their rights! (and I learn a lesson)

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

 

I thought it was an easy question ….

And after ummmmm….like …(I’m 29 … I tell ya, 29!) 30 plus some odd years on this earth you would think that I’d know better.

Every day for going on 15 years I have spent hours focused on a constantly (r)evolving variety of human and environmental rights issues as part of my “day job.” This tends to put me in regular contact with academics, government officials, activists, specialists and others equally (and often more) focused on the issue at hand.

Most often the issues I am writing about are near and dear to my heart on a personal level as well (hence, my propensity to suddenly ejaculate massive amounts of passionate information on subjects that have little to do with the actual conversation I am having at the time). Many of my live and virtual friends find this endlessly interesting and a bit odd. As a result, I tend to attract a lot of questions and requests for explanation on issues.

That started me thinking (yes, yes, I know … that’s always a dangerous undertaking):

What does the average person know about human and environmental rights? What are the issues they think about? And then, finally, what are the issues that your average person passionately believes everyone else should also be aware of?

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Applause for Clinton over Congo

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid a visit to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo this week to highlight her concerns over the absolutely appalling level of sexual violence occurring as competing forces battle for control over the region’s natural resources.

Few international dignitaries venture to the war-torn region and Clinton (whatever the politics behind the move) deserves applause for giving attention to a situation that has sickened even the most seasoned humanitarian workers.

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