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

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
August 26, 2010
Congolese Women Wait Outside Hospital in Mweso

Secretary Clinton released a statement today on reports of mass rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She said:

"The United States is deeply concerned by reports of the mass rape of women and children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) -- an armed, illegal rebel group that has terrorized eastern Congo for over a decade -- and elements of the Mai Mai, community-based militia groups in eastern Congo. This horrific attack is yet another example of how sexual violence undermines efforts to achieve and maintain stability in areas torn by conflict but striving for peace.

"The United States has repeatedly condemned the epidemic of sexual violence in conflict zones around the world, and we will continue to speak out on this issue for those who cannot speak for themselves. Less than a year ago, I presided over the UN Security Council session where Resolution 1888 (2009) was unanimously adopted, underscoring the importance of preventing and responding to sexual violence as a tactic of war against civilians. Now the international community must build on this action with specific steps to protect local populations against sexual and gender-based violence and bring to justice those who commit such atrocities.

"Sexual violence harms more than its immediate victims. It denies and destroys our common dignity, it shreds the fabric that weaves us together as humans, it endangers families and communities, it erodes social and political stability, and it undermines economic progress. These travesties, committed with impunity against innocent civilians who play no role in armed conflict, hold us all back.

"When I visited the DRC last year, I learned an old proverb -- 'No matter how long the night, the day is sure to come.' In the depths of this dark night of suffering and pain, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. The United States will do everything we can to work with the UN and the DRC government to hold the perpetrators of these acts accountable, and to create a safe environment for women, girls, and all civilians living in the eastern Congo."

You can also read Secretary's remarks on state.gov.

Comments

Comments

Ande U.
|
Utah, USA
August 25, 2010

Ande U. in Utah writes:

Dear Secretary Clinton,

Thank you for your attention and words towards the recent atrocity in the DRC. As extreme as this attack, the brutality and sexual violence is an every day occurrence that goes unnoticed. I ask, i plead, that you continue your commitment made to this region. Please ensure the funds promised rothe Congo will be efficiently distributed and that immediate attention will be paid to secure a national system of protection for the Congolese.

Katheine Y.
|
Kentucky, USA
August 26, 2010

Katheine Y. in Kentucky writes:

Secretary Clinton,

Thank you so very much for your statement concerning the recent attacks in the DRC. The attacks are common place in the DRC. Please make this a priority effort to help the woman and children of the DRC. We have allocated 17 million dollars to the DRC. Time is of the essance and the DRC needs the United State's support monitarily, as well as,a nation who will commit and recognise the atrosities that have and are taking place on a daily basis. Please continue your commitment and use your voice to stop the violence against woman and children in the Congo.

Doug S.
|
New York, USA
August 26, 2010

Doug S. in New York writes:

Disturbing story, and Truly appreciate Mrs Clinton's efforts universally.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 26, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Terrorism takes many forms.

Richard S.
|
Michigan, USA
August 27, 2010

Richard A.S. in Michigan writes:

Madam Secretary of State Clinton:

Yes, the United States has repeatedly condemned epidemic levels of sexual violence around the world; however, until we clean-up our own backyard and regulate the adult entertainment industry that empowers worldwide human traffickers, sexual violence and drug cartels the “clean hands doctrine” seems or I would suspect appears to negate our condemnation about the actions of others.

That said and to be crystal-clear on this issue, I would like to recommend in addition to our continued efforts on a global scale, we work together and focus on the epidemic levels of sexual violence, human and drug trafficking right here in these United States.

Please encourage President Obama and our U.S. Congress to support legislative reform regarding this issue including but not limited to the following (i.e., H.R. 5575: Domestic Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act of 2010, S. 2882: Taxpayer Responsibility, Accountability and Consistency Act of 2009, H.R. 5107 & S. 3254: Employee Misclassification Prevention Act... etc., etc., et al.) Thank you Secretary Clinton for you anticipated response and due diligent consideration.

Ron
|
New York, USA
August 31, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

World-Class-Crimes....

Send the perps to the Hague (ICC) for Crimes Against Humanity. Name and Shame them...take their power, assets, freedoms....How can we allow these practices to flourish without effective intervention?....Do we still delude ourselves that these are Sovereign states and good actors?

Laurent O.
|
Texas, USA
September 1, 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.

Ron
|
New York, USA
September 3, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

Ex-Post-Factoids......

International Community still in a state of self-delusion regarding the scope and depth of these crimes against humanity....we condemn, and express outrage, but fail to act; either to prevent or to punish...UN refuses to define genocide because once it is defined, consequences must follow...until then, "we condemn in the strongest possible terms....."

Ron
|
New York, USA
September 8, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

Ultimate Violation........

Mass-Rape on the Blood-Diamond trails. Who's running these countries? How can we allow them to escape justice? Are they financing the UN MDG initiatives? So they get a pass on crimes against humanity? This is the most outrageous story of the new millennium.

Ekenyerengozi C.
|
Nigeria
November 12, 2010

Ekenyerengozi C. in Nigeria writes:

There is another holocaust in Africa and it is happening before our very eyes in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Bill Clinton failed to help to stop the Rwandan Genocide in 1994 and an estimated 800000 people perished. Will President Barack Obama fail to stop another genocide in Africa?

Read the following SOS from the Congo.
"http://www.247nigeria.com/congo-central-african-republic-lra-victims-app..."

.

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