The world's most dangerous place for women
The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the world’s most forgotten conflicts. An estimated 5.4 million have lost their lives in the last 15 years, most through preventable disease and malnutrition unleashed by the conflict. That is the equivalent of the population of Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Sheffield, Bradford, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Cardiff and Coventry put together.Rape has been used as tool of war in this conflict, children as young as 3 months and women as old as 80 have suffered; making the DRC the 'rape capital of the world', according to has Margot Wallstrom, the UN's special representative on sexual violence in conflict. Click here to take action for women in DRC.
The UK Government is one of the largest financial contributors to the DRC government. The UK will spend an average of £198 million per year in Democratic Republic of Congo until 2015. Don’t let the our government’s contribution go to waste. Last year, 14,591 new cases of sexual violence were reported in DRC, yet there is still only one main rape crisis centre where women can go for support. Often women have to walk for days in order to receive post rape health care.
The majority of these rapes go completely unprosecuted, perpetuating the idea that rape can be used as a weapon of war.
Write to International Violence Against Women champion, Lynne Featherstone MP to get the UK government to live up to its commitment: the UK Department for International Development have stated that “improving the lives of girls and women will be a major priority” in the DRC. So help us hold the government to account on this. Now is the time when Lynne Featherstone will be deciding which countries to focus on in her role. We want to make sure that DRC is at the top of this list.
Congo Now is a coalition of 16 of the UK’s most active NGOs and UK-based Congolese campaigning organisations. Our aim is to raise awareness of the ongoing conflict in DRC , the continuing violence and civilian suffering as well as to raise broader awareness of the situation in the country as a whole: both good and bad. We believe, NOW is the time for the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo to be genuinely free: free from violence and free from poverty. You can contribute to this change, act now!
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.