Ambassador Rice Condemns Mass Rapes and Attacks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
August 26, 2010

Today, following a Security Council meeting, Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations commented on the mass rapes and attacks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ambassador Rice said:

"I just want to take this opportunity to reiterate from the U.S. point of view our strongest possible condemnation of the rapes and attacks that occurred against scores of innocent civilians. We are horrified, and we are outraged, and that led us, in conjunction with the French, to request this detailed briefing this morning.

"It was a disturbing briefing, both for what we learned and what we don't know still. We are pleased that the Council swiftly and without any difficulty issued the statement that you've heard Ambassador Churkin deliver.

"But the fact is that many questions were posed, some very poignant questions, including by me and others. The Secretariat was clear in acknowledging that things did not occur as they should have, but we await answers from Assistant Secretary-General Khare and Margaret Wallstrom as to what was the actual sequence of events, where there may have been shortcomings in processes and procedures, and what steps can be taken going forward to ensure more effective, real time, advanced communication of threats to the civilian population.

"I traveled with the Council last year to eastern Congo. We met with victims of rape in Goma, we went out to villages in North Kivu, and camps where, then MONUC, now MONUSCO, had in place processes and procedures, which we were told were designed to provide early warning and rapid response. We learned today that in many instances those procedures have worked; in this instance clearly they did not, and we need to know why and what mechanisms might be put in place to ensure that this type of horror is not repeated again and again."

Read the full transcript of Ambassador Rice's remarks here.

Related Entry: Secretary Clinton's Statement on Reports of Mass Rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Comments

Comments

Joseph M.
|
Oregon, USA
August 27, 2010

Joseph A.M. in Oregon writes:

Madam Secretary and U.S. Ambassador Rice:

These are deplorable acts, on the scale of the Bosnian Muslim women who were being raped as a weapon of war, and experienced "systematic mass rape" by the Bosnian Serbs during the conflict in the Balkans in the 1990's.

With respect to Sub-Sahara Africa, the entire region is at risk, the rape is not just limited to Eastern Congo, but has been widespread in Darfur Sudan and in Rwandan, Congo border regions. It is truly horrifying, but how do we prevent this from recurring in the future? The AU and the U.N. troops, who are limited in numbers, in their response to violence, and by their presence where mostly needed, obviously need a "unequivocal greater presence in the region, including the rural villages". One example of the magnitude of this outrage was shared by BBC World News early this morning; the U.N. contingent has an established local phone number, for women in despair to call during emergency circumstances, this telephone number goes directly to the U.N. military contingent in the local area, and the BBC correspondent, while visiting the Eastern Congo area, said "typically the phone rings "non-stop" and literally goes unanswered by U.N. personnel. Are you kidding me?

The U.N. is understaffed, dramatically under-resourced and they don't have the number of troops needed for this region to prevent further "mass rape from occurring". How can these limited number of U.N. or A.U. troops be responsible for protecting the local civilian and woman in the villages, where these atrocities are occurring -- when even the local "U.N. crisis hot-line" is going unanswered? Similar to Darfur, the Eastern Congo has experienced conflict and violence for at least the past decade and women, especially in the villages are bearing the brunt of these "shocking atrocities!" What is needed is a consolidated international effort, led by the U.N. to devote money, resources and a much greater U.N. troop presence, in an effort to curtail these abuses of women from recurring again.

Hire me as the "U.S./U.N. special envoy to the region, and I'll fix this mess". It is absolutely appalling in saying the least, that we have not learned and applied a valuable lesson and have not gained greater awareness and understanding to this problem, since the Rwandan genocide, Darfur mass killings/rape and since the Bosnia- Herzegovina conflicts during this past decade. I've written extensive academic papers in my graduate program on the mass-rape, which occurred in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the 1990's and have devoted a great deal of my program in analyzing the many Sub-Saharan African conflicts, resulting in genocide, abuses to women in the Eastern Congo and Darfur region.

Ron
|
New York, USA
August 28, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

Rape...A Perk of War and Conflict....

Rape is part of the benefits package in war and conflict jobs. Both sides take advantage, and even 'peace-keeping" forces engage in rape (they justify the practice with the rational of intractability in these environments).
Might as well....there's no solution in a conflict-driven environment. UN is considering mandating record-keeping on rape victims in war environments........Rape Analysis Project Exploration---UN-RAPE? Sometimes the solution adds insult to injury.

Cal T.
|
Virginia, USA
August 28, 2010

Cal T. in Virginia writes:

Ron -

How droll. And how dumb. Go educate yourself about what's really happening in the Congo. (You can start by googling anything on the subject by Nick Kristof or Eve Ensler.) These aren't opportunistic rapes by individual soldiers. This is a destroy-the-civillians-by-destroying-the-women military strategy. These men are raping women with bayonets, with sticks, with anything that's going to shred their insides, prevent them from having children, and effectively prevent them and their families from ever having a normal post-conflict life. Insult to injury? The UN could name the unit "Aunt Matilda" for all it matters to these women. If you can even talk in terms of "adding insult" and think it could possibly make a difference, you don't even begin to understand the scope of the injury that's going on.

Joseph M.
|
Oregon, USA
August 28, 2010

Joseph A.M. in Oregon writes:

Madam Secretary, Ambassador Rice, U.S. Department of State, Dip.Note viewers;

These are deplorable acts, on the scale of the Bosnian Muslim women who were being raped as a weapon of war,and experienced "systematic mass rape" by the Bosnian Serbs during the conflict in the Balkans in the 1990's, "known as ethnic-cleansing".

These horrific acts will undoubtedly continue, due to the fact that the entire region has been overshadowed and downplayed by greater strategic priorities; in particular, given the perception of "Islamic Fundamentalism, in some circumstances being overly hyped" and the U.S. ongoing military engagement in five nation-states. The U.N., A.U., EU and the United States needs to do more, and engage in a more proactive role in Sub-Sahara Africa, if there will be any hope for reversing this trend in the near future -- I would have to emphasize that, preventing these atrocities is the responsibility of the "entire international community". The Eastern Congo Region (DRC) and Rwanda, have been experiencing multi-layers of conflict since the mid-nineteen nineties. With respect to Sub-Sahara Africa, the entire region is at risk, the rape is not just limited to Eastern Congo, but has been widespread in Darfur Sudan and in Rwandan, Congo border regions for at least the past decade. It is truly horrifying, but how do we prevent this from recurring in the future? The AU and the U.N. troops, who are limited in numbers, and with their response to violence, and have been lacking in their presence where mostly needed, obviously need a "unequivocal greater presence in the region, including the rural villages".

One example of the magnitude of this outrage was shared by BBC World News early this week, a live interview conducted with the "U.N. Outpost Commander, near the area where the rapes occurred; the U.N. contingent has an established local phone number, for women in despair to call during emergency circumstances, this telephone number goes directly to the U.N. military contingent in the local area, and the BBC correspondent, while visiting the Eastern Congo area, said "typically the phone rings "non-stop" and literally goes unanswered by U.N. personnel. Are you kidding me? The first step, would be in having the U.N. outpost in this vulnerable region "answer the crisis hot-line when it is ringing" and it leads me to believe, that "even if they would have known of the mass rape occurring that they were lacking in the resources to respond? It is a known fact, that in areas of conflict and during conflict, "that women and children are the most vulnerable" and suffer the greatest abuses and violence, the U.N. and the U.S. Department of the State should be mindful of this dynamic.

The U.N. is understaffed, dramatically under-resourced and they don't have the number of troops needed for this region to prevent further "mass rape from occurring". How can these limited number of U.N. or A.U. troops be responsible for protecting the local civilian and woman in the villages, where these atrocities are occurring -- when even the local "U.N. crisis hot-line" is going unanswered? Similar to Darfur, the Eastern Congo has experienced conflict and violence for at least the past decade and women, especially in the villages are bearing the brunt of these "shocking atrocities!" What is needed is a consolidated international effort, led by the U.N. to devote money, resources and a much greater U.N. troop presence, in an effort to curtail these abuses of women from recurring again.

Hire me as the "U.S./U.N. special envoy or 'regional coordinator', and appoint me to this region, and I'll fix this mess". It is absolutely appalling in saying the least, that we have not learned and applied a valuable lesson and have not gained greater awareness and understanding to this problem, since the Rwandan genocide, Darfur mass killings/rape and since the Bosnia- Herzegovina conflicts during this past decade. I've written extensive academic papers in my graduate program on the mass-rape, which occurred in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the 1990's and have devoted a great deal of my program in analyzing the many Sub-Saharan African conflicts, resulting in genocide, abuses to women in the Eastern Congo and Darfur region.

DipNote Bloggers reply:

@Joseph - all State Department vacancies (other than those filled through the Foreign Service) are listed at http://www.usajobs.gov. Information about joining the Foreign Service can be found at http://careers.state.gov. Please help keep DipNote comments aimed at discussion, and not job solicitation.

palgye
|
South Korea
August 29, 2010

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Dear to,,,

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il of North Korea returning to China after visiting jungyiraneun saw the news. I think the real problem is still the economy. Recognizing China, would provide one more chance to be beneficial to all personally think. However, the direct intervention of the United States, China and throughout Asia, the stress I think. Some states prepare for a war would have expected as well. What can we do? I was so ignorant I do not think this is a good idea.

Thank You.

P.S
If the yield good, I think pride is a strong system. While respecting the pride I think we should come out to the outside.

Penalties for breaking the rules to think that the chances of
have many...

Ron
|
New York, USA
August 30, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

Diplo-deflection.....

Re; Droll and Dumb ( Drum Roll?)

Another perspective is "To the Victor belongs the Spoils"...African wars are most brutal because corrupt leaders exploit youth to murder and pillage...they stoke them with drugs, alcohol and super-weapons...When will we get it that shaming won't work?....This is a top-down problem; and we are right there at the top.

Laurent O.
|
Texas, USA
August 30, 2010

Laurent O. in Texas writes:

The ongoing mass rape in the Eastern Congo is an iceberg of a deep problem that should be addressed adequately. With the election of President Obama, African people in general, and congolese people in particular raised the hope to see their long and unfair night of tragedies get more attention from US Administration in order to see the light finally come to put an end on it. Since the Obama appointed two women of cabinet in both strategic positions as US Secretary of State and as U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, this hope became more vivid and visible given the sensibility the women and mothers have for human sufferings.

Given the influence of US in the Great Lakes region (Central Africa), with a bit of will and a show of diplomatic and other muscles in its disposal, the Obama administration is able to obtain significant progress to end the crisis in Congo (DRC) that continues to cause unnecessary mass rapes, killings, and huge human rights violations.

Because the roofs of conflict are both internal and external, the solution to eradicate it should also be found internally and externally. The internal causes of conflict are still the same: the lack of legitimacy of regime in power since Mobutu regime to the current President Kabila, and the lack of freedom that leaves some segments of population with no other means than the use of the violence to defend their rights. In order to address these causes, here are some suggestions for the Obama administration:

The Obama administration should use the tools in its disposal, specially the Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act of 2006, the first project initiated by the President Obama when he was elected in US Senate. This Act of Congress that outlines the US policy in DRC gives the US Secretary of State the power to evaluate the progress of democracy, and to ask for accountability. Therefore, the Obama administration has to denounce in the plain language the dictatorial trend of the Kabila regime in the same terms the President Obama has expressed against the President Robert Mugabe at his recent meeting with African Youth at the White House.

The Obama administration should be more proactive by using its diplomatic, economic, and other means, even the threat of coercive actions to bring the Kabila regime to accept to hold under international monitoring free and democratic elections next year, and to respect the Congolese constitution in holding first of all the local elections. In any case, the Obama cannot vests its support directly or by the means of MONUSCO (UN Mission in Congo) to the current biased electoral process in DRC that is conceived to insure the electoral hold up of the Kabila regime and allies. That will not solve the congolese crisis.

The Obama administration should then bring more support to the Congolese institutions and organizations such as Congo New Leadership that fight daily for a democratic Congo that will practice the rule of law and the good governance. These Congolese organizations should be empowered to help them shaping the future of Congo in order to make a reality the Accra declaration of President Obama that says that "the future of Africa will be shaped by the Africans themselves". The invitation of Africa youth to the White House that is an encouraging sign in the right direction should set an example for other services of this administration. This is not all time the case.

At the international level, the causes of Congolese conflict can be resumed in two intertwined problems: the security problem of region, and specially the unresistant attraction to illegal exploitation of rich mineral and natural resources of a weak DRC. The Obama administration could end the instability in the eastern Congo by exercising pressure on Kagame regime (Rwanda) and Museveni regime (Uganda) that have close ties with some US Politics to stop their interference to sustain the Congolese crisis. Here are some suggestions:

The Obama administration should stress on Uganda and Rwanda to democratize their autocratic regimes to encourage the rebels to lay down their arms, and to participate in the political process. This is a must for the stability of the Great Lakes region.

The Obama administration could work on the proposal made by Senator Dick Durbin. When visiting Goma in February 2010, he declared that the rwandan government should issue the list of elements of Hutu rebels (FDLR) involved in the 1994 Tutsi genocide, and allow those who are not associated with the 1994 Tutsi genocide to return in Rwanda.

I hope that my contribution will be taken in consideration by the Obama administration in order to put an end to this shameful tragedy of the 21st century.

Ann G.
|
California, USA
September 2, 2010

Ann G. in California writes:

Something seemed wrong with this story from the beginning, but whatever the truth may be, and I don't know, this is the new political tool being used to counter the UNHCR report of Rwandan army massacres of Hutu people in Congo, 1996-1998, "http://goo.gl/5rCu." The FDLR have denied it, "http://goo.gl/chyw," and there's no solid proof that they were the perpetrators.

Ron
|
New York, USA
September 3, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

Triumph of Evil......

Rwanda+Darfur+Tutsi's+Hutus+Le Monde+UN Report+ Kagame Election/Inauguration+MDG Donors+15 Year delay on Mass Murders/Rapes+Delays on Report release+ UN Decades Delays on definition of genocide= Triumph of Evil.

.

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