September 6, 2015 CARE & Voice of America & The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
The humanitarian crisis in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has taken a turn for the worse. In the place that's believed to have one of the highest rates of sexual violence in the world because of the systematic use of rape as a weapon of war, girls and women face increased peril on the road to safety. There are actions we can take to decrease sexual gender based violence & provide survivors with emergency assistance.
(September 5, 2015) -- One of the biggest challenges refugee girls and women face is rape. Sexual violation of women during the times of war crumbles a community far more than any weapon can. Raping a girl strips her from having a future yet leaves here alone, facing the difficulty of being accepted back into her own family.
Please watch the video below as it shows how girls and women are targeted as a weapon of war -- and learn about CARE's response.
Rape as a Weapon of War:
CARE Responds to the Humanitarian Crisis in DRC
(February 15, 2013) -- The humanitarian crisis in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has taken a turn for the worse. In the place that's believed to have one of the highest rates of sexual violence in the world because of the systematic use of rape as a weapon of war, girls and women face increased peril on the road to safety. Learn more by visitinghttp://www.care.org
(September 5, 2015) -- There are actions we can take to decrease sexual gender based violence & provide survivors with emergency assistance to stop the spread of HIV. With your help, CARE can help these 1,000,000 refugees to survive & rebuild their future, which has been shattered through conflict of wars.
Michelle Nunn is the president and CEO of CARE
The Congo: 'Rape Capital of the World' VOA Congo Stories
(August 23, 2011) -- The United Nations has described the Congo as the 'rape capital of the world'. 'Congo: Rape, A Weapon of War' illustrates the root causes of how rape has become part of the asymmetrical warfare perpetrated on women, children and men in eastern Congo. Rape: Weapon of War United Nations: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
GENEVA -- Is rape really a matter for the United Nations? The Security Council has answered that question with a resounding yes by voting unanimously for a resolution describing rape as a tactic of war and a threat to international security. But perhaps the more important question is: Will the resolution give teeth to efforts to stem sexual violence against women in conflict situations?
In the resolution, passed 19 June, the Security Council noted that "women and girls are particularly targeted by the use of sexual violence, including as a tactic of war to humiliate, dominate, instill fear in, disperse and/or forcibly relocate civilian members of a community or ethnic group." The resolution demanded the "immediate and complete cessation by all parties to armed conflict of all acts of sexual violence against civilians."
While women's rights groups and others working to end sexual violence are under no illusions that the resolution is a panacea, most agree that it is a much-needed step in the right direction.
They believe that by noting that "rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide," the resolution will strike a blow at the culture of impunity that surrounds sexual violence in conflict zones and allows rapists to walk without fear of punishment.
Indeed, the resolution stresses the need for "the exclusion of sexual violence crimes from amnesty provisions in the context of conflict resolution processes," calls upon member states to comply with their obligations to prosecute those responsible for such crimes, and emphasizes "the importance of ending impunity for such acts."
Ultimately, however, the effectiveness of UN Resolution 1820 (2008) in reducing sexual violence and bringing its perpetrators to book will have to be gauged in places such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) -- arguably the epicentre of sexual violence against women today -- as well as Liberia and the Darfur region of Sudan.
Local health centres in the DRC's South Kivu province estimate that 40 women are raped in the region every day. In Liberia, which is slowly recovering after a 13-year civil war, a government survey in 10 counties in 2005-2006 showed that 92 per cent of the 1,600 women interviewed had experienced sexual violence, including rape.
These numbers probably err on the low side because women fear the retaliation and social ignominy that reporting a rape could bring. In Darfur, says the NGO Human Rights Watch, women and girls live under the constant threat of rape by Sudanese Government soldiers, members of the Government-backed Janjaweed militia, rebels and ex-rebels.
Warring groups use rape as a weapon because it destroys communities totally, says Major-General Patrick Cammaert, former commander of UN peacekeeping forces in the eastern Congo. "You destroy communities. You punish the men, and you punish the women, doing it in front of the men." Adds Cammaert: "It has probably become more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in armed conflict."
Rape has been a dishonourable camp follower of war for as long as armies have marched into battle. In the 20th century, perceptions of rape in war have moved from something that is inevitable when men are deprived of female companionship for prolonged periods to an actual tactic in conflict.
The lasting psychological harm that rape inflicts on its victims has also been recognized: Rape is always torture, says Manfred Nowak, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
The Croatian author Slavenka Drakulic, who has written extensively about war crimes in the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s, and whose latest book is on the war crimes trials in The Hague, says the Security Council resolution is historic. "Finally, sexual violence is recognized as a weapon, and can be punished," she says, adding: "We know now, as we knew even before the passage of this resolution, that rape is a kind of slow murder."
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