We said “never again” after the slaughter in Rwanda.
But it’s happening again, right before our eyes.
Right now, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), women are being raped as a weapon of war in a bloody conflict that has taken 5 million lives over the past decade. Boys and girls are being taken from their homes and trained to work as child soldiers. A quarter of a million people are fleeing renewed violence, while the world watches.
Why can’t we act to save the lives of millions of people in the Democratic Republic of Congo?
Are we indifferent to yet another war in Africa? Are we too distracted by the economic crisis in the West? Or are we simply made numb by the absolutely staggering death toll?
The conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo is complex.
It’s rooted in ethnic rivalries and bitterness held over from the genocide in Rwanda, longstanding economic imbalances from colonial times, internal power struggles over control of key resources like the coltan needed to make our cellphones and electronic games, and interference from neighbouring countries.
But what I’m asking you to do is simple:
1. Urge our leaders to take responsibility. Send a message to Prime Minister Harper asking him to ensure greater protection for the civilians caught up on the DRC conflict.
2. Make a donation today to help Amnesty protect the civilians who are most at risk because of this violent conflict.
On Nov 20th, the UN Security Council approved the sending of an additional 3,000 peacekeepers to DRC – a vital first step – but more pressure is urgently needed to ensure swift and effective deployment.
Use your voice to defend lives.
I urge you not to be immobilized by the complexity of this crisis. Amnesty International’s recent report “No End to War on Women and Children” chronicles numerous, heartbreaking accounts not just of eyewitnesses, but of individual victims of this war.
(Caution: These links to Amnesty International’s report and personal accounts contain direct personal stories of rape. The content is upsetting and is documented only to mobilize desperately needed action. There are no photographs on these links.)
UN peacekeepers are the last hope for hundreds of thousands of civilians. So many people remain out of reach of aid workers, and some humanitarian operations have been suspended because of the fragile security situation. There is a high risk that this conflict will escalate into a regional war.
Please take action today.
Amnesty International works continuously on addressing the underlying causes of conflict, trying to deter shameful acts of violence by ensuring that all those responsible for mass human rights violations face trial before the International Criminal Court. Our priority must be to protect civilians through reinforcing the capacity of the United Nation’s peacekeeping mission.
Please consider making a contribution to support our ongoing work to ensure the safety of civilians in DRC.
Please remember that behind the statistics – the 250,000 displaced people, and 5 million dead – are individual, valuable human lives.
Alex Neve, Secretary General
Amnesty International, Canadian Section
P.S. Amnesty International is asking world leaders to work urgently with the broad international community. Please ask Canada’s Prime Minister to urge the Security Council to reinforce peacekeepers in the DRC, providing the special equipment and personnel needed to effectively protect civilians and safeguard humanitarian operations. Send a message now.
Click here to urge the Security Council to protect civilian lives
No End to War on Women and Children
Just three weeks ago Amnesty published a report based on eyewitness accounts, highlighting that armed groups in North Kivu have continued to commit crimes under international law, including unlawful killings, rape, torture, and the recruitment of child soldiers.
Government security forces have also unlawfully detained and in some cases tortured and ill-treated captured children, and continue to rape and sexually abuse women and girls.
Read Amnesty’s Report: No End to War on Women and Children
Read Amnesty’s Letter to Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon
More information on the conflict in DRC
Human rights violations in the DRC include:
• Deliberately targeting civilians in a situation of armed conflict is a war crime
• Continuing violence against women and children is one of the major barriers to establishing peace and stability in eastern DRC
• Most of those fleeing the conflict are in a desperate situation, without sufficient food, water, medical supplies or shelter
Your contributions help Amnesty International to:
• send independent fact-finders into the DRC
• publish and disseminate reports on human rights violations
• mobilize over two million Amnesty members to write to their leaders
• reach millions more people who will speak out to protect civilian lives
• campaign to ensure those behind mass violations are brought to justice through the International Criminal Court