A marathon a month for Democratic Republic of Congo

Formidable marathon runner Chris Jackson will on Sunday 5th December complete his 12th marathon to raise awareness for the conflict-ridden region of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and to raise funds for Amnesty International and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights International.

The indefatigable London-based runner has undertaken 12 marathons this year – one every month of 2010 for his ‘12 x 12 Challenge’.  These included April’s London Marathon and the Congo Marathon in August, all in an attempt to draw attention to the ongoing atrocities affecting the Congolese population as the conflict rumbles on.  

Chris Jackson said:

“When I left the refugee camps in Goma, DRC in 2009, I left with the determination to do something. I wanted to make sure that other people knew about the ongoing needless destruction of life in the DRC.  I was compelled to do something to let people know about the dreadful rapes, attacks and violence that continue to haunt the eastern part of that country. Running 12 marathons in 12 months was a conversation-starter. I wanted to do something that made people sit up and take notice so that more people were aware of the Congo and those who have and continue to suffer in silence.

“Although certainly challenging, I’ve found the whole 12 months an extraordinary journey, I really hope through the awareness raised that more people in the UK are now aware of this silent conflict. The last marathon will be on Sunday, but it shouldn’t stop there I aim to continue to make as many people as possible aware of the destruction in the DRC and I would encourage others to do so as well. Hopefully with more people aware, there’s a greater chance that the authorities will be obliged to do more to stem the tide of the atrocities in the region.”

Chris Jackson has so far raised more than £2800 for Amnesty International in his challenge.  

Amnesty International’s UK Director, Kate Allen said:

"What Chris has done this year is amazing. He hasn't just raised money for Amnesty; he's used every one of his marathons as an opportunity to tell people about human rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo. If there were more people around like him, maybe the DRC wouldn't be such a forgotten conflict.

"Sadly the situation for people in the DRC is still quite horrific. About two million people are still internally displaced due to continued fighting between the military and armed groups. Unlawful killings, torture and rape remain rife in the eastern part of the country. Human rights activists and journalists working to expose these abuses are increasingly facing threats to their lives."

Amnesty International continues to expose the human rights atrocities in the region and continues to appeal to the Congolese authorities to stem the tide of the abuses taking place in the country by improving the country’s accountability and justice system and also by seeking to ensure that justice is provided for victims of human rights violations of all kinds.

Chris Jackson’s final marathon will take place in Luton on Sunday 5 December 2010.

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