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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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Saturday, 06-February-2016
The Saudi aggression war jets continued on Saturday afternoon their criminal bombing on the capital Sana'a.

The hostile warplanes launched three violent raids on al-Nahdain area in al-Sabeen district for the fourth time within 24 hours after bombing the same area three times at dawn today, a local official said .
Monday, 25-January-2016
The number of the displaced families from inside and outside Mareb province amounted to 7,700 families due to the Saudi aggression on Yemen.

The internally displaced families in the districts of the province reached 6,200 families distributed on the districts of Majzar, Madghal, Raghwan, Serwah, Mareb city, al-Wadi, Harib al-Qramish, Harib Bihan, Bidbeda and al-Joba, the coordinator of the relief and humanitarian organization in the province Abdulkhaleq al-Sharif explained .

He pointed out that the number of the families displaced from Mareb to the capial Sana’a amounted to about 1,500 families distributed on several areas, including al-Hatarish, Bani al-Harish district, Daress, Mathbah, Aser, Shumilah, al-Sabeen and the 50th Street.
Monday, 18-January-2016
Three citizens were killed and other wounded in Saudi airstrikes targeted their house in Bir Basha area in Taiz province, a local official said on Monday.

These airstrikes coincided with other raids launched by the aggression warplanes and targeted Mokha Port and the quarantine premises, causing destruction in the port and the quarantine, the official explained.
Monday, 18-January-2016
A citizen was killed and his wife and son were seriously injured in a Saudi airstrike targeted their home in Baqem district of Sa’ada province, a security official said on Monday.

The raid led to the destruction of the house in full, the official added.

The aggression warplanes waged two raids on al-Sahn and Al Uqab areas in Sahar district, as well as two other raids on the villages of al-Marqoa and Al Lakon in Saqain district, he said.
Sunday, 17-January-2016
The Saudi-led coalition war jets waged five raids on Qa'a al-Jame'a in Assabrah district of Ibb province on Sunday.

No human casualties were reported due to the raids, a security official said, adding that the aggression strikes destroyed the remaining buildings and facilities in the area.

Qa'a al-Jame'a was hit by the Saudi aggression many times in the last ten days.
Saturday, 16-January-2016
The Saudi-led coalition waged on Saturday four sorties on Belad al-Aros district of Sana'a province, a security official said.

The sorties targeted Naqeel al-Abs in the district and caused damage to the agricultural land, the official added.
Friday, 15-January-2016
The Russian Foreign Ministry has described the Saudi-led coalition massacres in Yemen as horrific, calling for an immediate ceasefire and engaging in negations without preconditions.

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news conference in Moscow that despite the positive signals made by the negotiations between the Yemeni opposing parties in Geneva last December, but the armed confrontation in this country are still continuing, especially after the Saudi-led coalition announced the end of the truce and resumed the military operations.

" In recent days the media circulated horrible news about the Saudi-led coalition bombing on a MSF-supported hospital in Sa’ada, which resulted in deaths and injuries," she added.
Tuesday, 12-January-2016
The army and popular committees managed on Tuesday to secure three sites in Taiz province, a local official said.

The army and popular committees carried out a military operation before Tuesday dawn ended up with regaining control over three sites in Addar junction between Nagd Qusaim and al-Misrakh in Taiz, the official added.
Tuesday, 12-January-2016
The security services and popular committees managed on Tuesday to defuse three improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Baidha province.

A security official explained that two IEDs were discovered in Masha'ba area and the third one in the Ring Road in Baidha city, and all the IEDs were dismantled and defused by the competent teams.
Sunday, 10-January-2016
At least four people were killed on Sunday when a missile hit a hospital supported by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in Sa'ada province.

One projectile struck the Shiara Hospital in Razeh district at 9:20 a.m., according to MSF staff members on the ground. The MSF staff has been working in the hospital since November 2015.

"The hospital was hit by a projectile this morning, killing four people, wounding 10," In a statement issued by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF),

Three of the injured are MSF staff members, two of whom are in critical condition, the medical humanitarian organization said. In addition, several buildings of the medical facility were collapsed.

"The number of casualties could rise as there could still be people trapped in the rubble." The organization said the staff has evacuated and patients are being transferred to Al Goumoury hospital in Sa'ada, which is also supported by MSF.

MSF cannot confirm the origin of the attack, but planes were seen flying over the facility at the time. At least one more projectile fell near the hospital.

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