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Articles
Sunday, 06-January-2008
Almotamar Net - NEW YORK – The violence in Congo is unspeakable. But, if the horror of Congo’s recent wars – which have killed more people than any war since World War II – is to end, the unspeakable must be spoken. Project Syndicate - NEW YORK – The violence in Congo is unspeakable. But, if the horror of Congo’s recent wars – which have killed more people than any war since World War II – is to end, the unspeakable must be spoken.

Across the eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo, government soldiers, members of renegade government military units, and myriad militias are gang raping untold thousands of women. They are making sex slaves of some women, branding some victims like cattle, and maiming and mutilating women and girls, some as young as three years old, by destroying their vaginas and other internal organs.

Sometimes, the gunmen force their victims’ fathers, brothers, and husbands to rape them, or the women to eat the flesh of their murdered relatives. Afterward, many of the women find themselves utterly alone as they suffer the physical and psychological effects of trauma and cope with destitution, unwanted pregnancies and children, HIV/AIDS, and ostracism by their loved ones who shun them as “diseased” or “tainted.”

Who are these killers and rapists, these men who have committed appalling crimes for more than a decade with complete impunity? Many are the so-called “genocidaires” who fled from Rwanda into Congo after participating in the massacre of 800,000 Tutsis in 1994. Others are Rwandan rebels and members of Congo’s army. Still others are men and boys recruited and press-ganged into militia units.

Violence has displaced more than 350,000 people in eastern Congo since the beginning of 2007. Recently, thousands more fled fresh outbreaks of fighting between local militias and supporters of Laurent Nkunda, a renegade general of Congo’s army, who has rejected a call to begin disarming his troops. A United Nations peacekeeping force deployed in eastern Congo was supposed to have protected the region’s civilians; the peacekeeping force’s failure to safeguard the women has gone unremarked, in part, because a veil of silence surrounds what is occurring.

Women in the eastern Congo have no say in the decision-making that drives the conflict consuming so many of their lives. They have no access to political and economic power in a society that considers them of scant value.

Congo’s government has undertaken no significant effort to bring those responsible for these gender atrocities to justice; new laws have paid lip service to sexual violence, but no one has been prosecuted. The international community, too, has failed. The International Criminal Court in The Hague, which is investigating the crimes in eastern Congo, has only this week indicted the first Congolese militia commander for gender-based crimes.

It is Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s duty to speak up, to take a leadership role, to bring this situation before the Security Council, call for it to meet in a special session, and urge it to take effective action immediately. Thousand more peacekeepers – let many of them be women – must be deployed in the affected provinces.

The Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Ocampo Moreno, should be urged to accelerate his investigations and, once the evidence is sufficient, bring charges against those who have committed these crimes or failed to discipline or prosecute the perpetrators. The local authorities should be assisted in efforts to pursue, arrest, and prosecute accused perpetrators before new local tribunals that enjoy significant prosecutorial and police powers. Support should be given to courageous local women’s groups that are providing care to the victims. Medical and other assistance is needed to treat the overwhelming numbers of victims.

If the people with the power to end the violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo maintain their silence and continue to do nothing, the perpetrators will grow only bolder in their destruction of women’s lives. When impunity for unspeakable acts goes unchallenged, those acts become even more unspeakable.

Maryam Elahi is chair of the International Human Rights Committee of the American Bar Association and director of the International Women’s Program at the Open Society Institute in NY.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2007.
www.project-syndicate.org

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Thursday, 18-September-2014
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The meeting touched upon the latest developments on the ground and the current Houthi escalation in and around the capital Sana'a which represents a threat to security, stability and public tranquility in the city and coincides with current efforts to bring in a solution for the current crisis.
Thursday, 18-September-2014
The UN annual report of the State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI 2014) has said that Yemen is one of the most food-insecure countries in the world.

"Conflict, economic downturn, low agricultural productivity and poverty have made Yemen one of the most food-insecure countries in the world", according to the SOFI 2014 report published on Tuesday by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

"Besides restoring political security and economic stability, the government aims to reduce hunger by one-third by 2015 and to make 90 percent of the population food-secure by 2020."

The report showed that the government also "aims to reduce the current critical rates of child malnutrition by at least one percentage point per year."
Thursday, 18-September-2014
The Assistant of the UN Secretary-General and his Special Adviser for Yemen Jamal Benomar on Wednesday held talks with Abdul Malik al-Houthi in the province of Saada in the framework of consultations with concerned parties in order to find a peaceful solution to the current crisis in Yemen.

Benomar said that the talks, which lasted three hours, focused on solutions to the crisis that can be agreed on by all parties and be based on the outcomes of the comprehensive national dialogue conference.
Tuesday, 16-September-2014
The Human Rights Watch has announced today granting its Alison Des Forges Award for the Extraordinary Activism for 2014 to four activists including Yemeni female activist Arwa Abdu Othman.

HRW said in a release posted in the organization's website, the prestigious award has been granted this year to four courageous activists from North Korea, Africa, India and Yemen.

"The winners are among voices calling for justice in their countries and working tirelessly for protecting rights of others and their dignity," said the organization, making it clear that it chose Arawa Othman because she is a key activist working for ending child marriage in Yemen.
Monday, 15-September-2014
President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi received here on Monday the credentials of a number of Arab and foreign ambassadors to Yemen.

Hadi received the credentials of Egyptian ambassador, Yousef al-Sharqawi, Eritrean ambassador Mohammed Sheikh Abdul Jalil, Dutch ambassador Aldrik Gierveld, and French ambassador Jean Marc Grosjean.

During separate meetings, President Hadi welcomed the diplomats, affirming that they will receive all the care and facilities to carry out their missions in Yemen.
Sunday, 14-September-2014
A military raid on houses in Hota town of Lahj province resulted on Sunday in arresting three terrorists elements, a military source at the Fourth Military Region Command said.

The military source said that a number of automatic weapons and RPG launchers and silencer pistol were found during the raid, noting that the military and security services are still investigating and pursuing the remnants of the terrorist elements and cells who fled from the area.
Sunday, 14-September-2014
The European Union has denounced any act aiming at diminishing the political transfer in Yemen, stressing that parties involved in armed clashes must abandon their weapons they seized from state's army and to abide by effective laws.

In a release issued by the EU Commission today on the occasion of the International Day of Democracy under the motto "Sharing Youth in the Democratic Process," it made it clear the world is focusing on involving youth in the democratic process.

"Half of the population in Yemen is under 15 years and one third of the population is between 15-29," the release said. The released added that the Yemeni youth cannot wait more as they are aspiring for more prosperous future and calling for a new Yemen people share power and resources away of dominance of any group or individuals.
Sunday, 14-September-2014
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology Ahmed Bindaghr met here on Sunday with US ambassador to Yemen Matthew Tueller.

During the meeting, they discussed the current situation and latest political developments in Yemen and its security repercussions on the security situation in the capital and the country as well.

Bindaghr called on the sponsor states of the Gulf initiative to continue to support the efforts of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi to succeed the political settlement in the country.
Saturday, 13-September-2014
President Abd-Rabb Mansour Hadi on Saturday met with a number of Sheikhs, dignitaries, and social figures from Heziaz area, southern the capital Sana'a.

Hadi during the meeting said that Yemen now is facing critical situation due to current Houthi escalation in and around the capital Sana'a, which needs more caution and avoiding not entering in a conflict with Houthi armed militias.

"We don't mind, and under the constitution and laws, to organize peaceful protests, but trying to storm government facilities, schools, police stations or houses is something forbidden,'' President Hadi said.

He urged everyone to bear his national responsibility in order to avoid fighting in the capital
Friday, 12-September-2014
Yemen's ambassador to the United Kingdom Abdullah al-Radi met on Friday in London with British Minister of State for Middle East Affairs Tobias Ellwood.

In the meeting, al-Radi and Ellwood discussed the underway arrangements for the next meeting of Friends of Yemen Group scheduled on September 24 in New York, as well as the aspects of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

The British minister confirmed his country's strong support to President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi to complete the entitlements of the transitional stage and translate the outcomes of the national dialogue conference (NDC). He stressed that the international community would not allow any group or party to obstruct Yemen's exit march to the prospects of harmony ,peace, development and prosperity.

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