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November 7, 2008
Congo’s women mutilated, children sent into battle


AUDIO: John Prendergast of the ENOUGH project discusses the use of rape as a weapon in eastern Congo as well as prospects for the UN in the region.

Congo’s children become soldiers in the ongoing conflict. Photo: Michael J. Kavanagh

The cease-fire collapsed in eastern Congo this week as fighting resumed.

As rebels make demands from the Congolese government, civilians are caught in between. Beyond ongoing hunger and starvation, crimes against humanity include the rape of women and the recruitment of children into war.

United Nations officials have called the epidemic of sexual violence in Congo “the worst in the world,” pointing to the 27,000 sexual assaults reported in South Kivu Province in 2006. Often, women are mutilated and left to die.

The “Healing trauma in DR Congo” blog writes about tackling problems like rape by supporting women empowerment programs.

The “generalspeaking” blog discusses the fate of women in wartime, and writes that both the military and militias in Congo use rape as a weapon.

Blogger “Amber” considers why rape is considered an acceptable tool in Congo and elsewhere.

Children, too, live in fear — Save the Children recently reported that amid the current conflict, armed groups attacked two schools in order recruit child soldiers. Here is a map of child soldiers fighting in Congo and around the world.

Chris Blattman of Yale University talks about his study on the motivation for child soldier recruitment in his blog.

Watch a documentary on the situation of Congo’s children — who are soldiers, prostitutes and refugees.

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[…] Javier Solana keeps sending me emails. Not Javier Solana himself you understand. Rather one of the unsung workers who toil tirelessly behind the scenes to feed the EU PR machine. Among the latest offerings is this explaining how “the EU has today adopted new commitments that make women’s rights and the fight against sexual violence as a tactic of war a priority throughout the EU’s external relations policies and actions” Fine words. Yet they contrast with the EU’s failure/inability/unwillingness to intervene meaningfully in the DRC where such violence is commonplace, with rape routinuely used as a weapon. […]


really whats needed is a ban on all minerals leaving DRC Rwanda and Uganda.
Proscecution of western companies involved with these actors. If not a ban then traceability of minerals to end users and a labeling of products so consumers know that their game boy or laptop or mobile phone etc came direct to them from the corpses of raped women and children. Also a stop to Aid to Rwanda and Uganda from US and UK as aid goes straight into war coffers and is certainly intended to aid the war effort. colonialism and imperialism dies hard. Also why dont these humanitarian organisations all club together and pay for educational advertisements on TV and radio so consumers are aware of the provenance of their consumer goods? a little awareness might be enough to discourage business from engaging in with Rwanda Uganda and rebel forces. thereby cutting off demand for the minerals untill peace has been restored.


To bring peace in the DR Congo, Western countries have to stop their policy of guilt toward the 1990s genocide in Rwanda. This is a horrible genocide that we all condemn. But it keeps giving Rwanda a reason to re-enter the DR Congo and start a new war while what is beeing pursued is illegal explotation of DRC resources. Western countries and the Obama administration should exercise heavy and continued pressure over Kagame and Museveni to stop their involvement in illegal exploitation of the DRC resources aand their machiavelic policy of balkanization of the DRC. Enough is enough!


The various forces battling over Congo’s riches can be a confusing melange of acronyms and ever-shifting alliances. For a brief explanation of where everybody stands as of today, see my blog post at


[…] Congo’s women mutilated, children sent into battle […]


Hello Van and Jason:

Worldfocus correspondent Michael Kavanagh just returned from Goma and lists some organizations he has worked with in Congo. Here is the link to his blog post:

Scroll down to the “Humanitarian Crisis” section.

One of Michael’s upcoming stories for Worldfocus is on rape and women as victims of war.

Best regards,
Lisa Biagiotti


Please can we do something to help end women violation and the genocide? Please anything! We know it is easy to say…Please we would like to participate in helping the helpless people, women, children and men.

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