Congo Watch: DRC: Women take brunt of human rights abuse: Amnesty

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

DRC: Women take brunt of human rights abuse: Amnesty

In no way do I see myself as a feminist but I do feel strongly that women should be in charge of African countries for a change. To nurture peace and help heal. Africa needs mothering. By great innovative women such as:

Wangari Maathai in Kenya
Gertrude Mongella in Tanzania
Winnie Byanyima in Uganda

Last year, Bishop Desmond Tutu said women should rule the world. Media baron Ted Turner said men have made such a mess of things, women should rule for 100 years. Note AFPs report on the latest from London-based Amnesty International. Here is a copy:

Women and girls faced "horrific" levels of abuse in 2004 worldwide, Amnesty International said in its annual human rights review, blaming widespread rape and violence on a mix of "indifference, apathy and impunity".

From honour killings carried out by the victims' families to sexual violence used as a weapon of war, abuse frequently went unpunished and survivors were often abandoned by their own communities, the London-based group said.

Amnesty said it had sought in the past year to argue that violence against women in conflict situations was "an extreme manifestation of the discrimination and abuse they face in peacetime", notably domestic violence and sexual abuse.

"When political tensions degenerate into outright conflict, all forms of violence increase, including rape and other forms of sexual violence against women."

The annual report, covering 131 countries, noted abuse across the world but highlighted several grave examples: in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), both armed groups and UN forces are guilty of rape; in Turkey, family abuse of women is widespread; in Darfur, Sudan, gang rape is systemic; and in eastern Europe, economic need fuels the trafficking of women.

In Darfur, where a local rebellion sparked a brutal government backlash, Khartoum-backed militias have staged mass rapes, including of schoolgirls, and "frequently abducted" local women into sexual slavery, Amnesty said.

Tens of thousands of women and girls were also subject to rape and sexual slavery in the DRC, and as in Darfur, victims were often then abandoned by their husbands and families, "condemning them and their children to extreme poverty".

All parties in the ongoing conflicts in the eastern DRC have committed the abuses against women, including military and police officers, and United Nations peacekeepers charged with the protection of civilians.

The two African cases were "not exceptional", Amnesty warned.

Latin America had the highest risk of all types of sexual victimisation, according to UN report findings cited by Amnesty.

In Colombia, the group said, security forces, left-wing rebels and paramilitaries targeted women and girls to "sow terror, wreak revenge on adversaries and accumulate 'trophies of war'."

In Turkey, between one-third and one-half of all women are estimated to be victims of physical violence by their families - raped, beaten, murdered or forced to commit suicide - while the country sorely lacked shelters and legal protection for victims.

Amnesty noted some progress in Ankara, with legal reforms that recognised marital rape as a crime and did away with the possibility that a rapist's prison sentence could be reduced or annulled if he agreed to marry his victim. Still, authorities largely failed to investigate most women's complaints of abuse.

Serbia and Montenegro "remained a source, transit and destination country" for women and girls who were trafficked to the West into forced prostitution, while the problem existed throughout the poorer countries of Eastern Europe.

"With clients including international police and troops, the women and girls are too afraid to escape," Amnesty said. -AFP
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Quotation

"When our resources become scarce, we fight over them. In managing our resources and in sustainable development, we plant the seeds of peace."

WANGARI MAATHAI, of Kenya, winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Cynthia said...

I agree too that women should rule the world since men have made an utter mess of things. There is no way women can do worst...

Thursday, June 02, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a man and am so sick of hearing how we should send billions of dollars to Africa to treat AIDS. Very simple: if someone rapes or molests a woman - castrate them! Women are under enormous pressure to have sex even by husbands, and when the husband carries aids from his girlfriend, of course women will be infected at higher rates. How does throwing more money at simple BAD BEHAVIOR change the problem????? Wake up people! I'm sick of paying for crap like this.

Friday, June 03, 2005  
Blogger Cynthia said...

You know Mr. Anonymous, I looked at the AIDS number, and they don't add up. African behavior is no worst than all the crap that Americans and Europeans do and they are not bombarded with these fictitious numbers that can’t even be verified. The Internet can attest to these facts. I, on the other hand, get so sick and tire of all the inappropriate moral outrage about things that are not even true. It's all propaganda.

Friday, June 03, 2005  
Blogger Ingrid said...

Hey anonymous: castrate them yay! In the olden days there used to be eunuchs. And I've read somewhere that Salt Peter used to be given to prisoners, sailors and troops to stop their "urges". What I am saying here is, now that such actions against men have ceased, what is the alternative within today's society?

I wish more men would speak up about rape like you have but I guess nothing will be sorted because it's not in mens' interest. Imagine if it were the men getting raped by men - no doubt things would get sorted quickly.

Cynthia, if you ever get time to look deeper into what you have just written, I would be interested in writing a post on it. There is so much propaganda around in other spheres, especially when it comes to Africa, I am not surprised it might be used with AIDS too.

It seems to me the sources of propaganda stem from those with a vested interest commercially - and activists - mainly from America. Every day I get steamed up reading American news reports especially when they are connected somehow to organisations that are based on the East Coast of America - to such an extent that I am actually trying to avoid reading American news now.

These days, whenever I read a piece by religious and/or political led organisations, Washington Post, NY Times, Human Rights Watch, International Crisis Group and London-based Amnesty International, I start questioning the degree self interest and political motivation behind each story. UN and aid agencies add to the caucophony of outpourings of emotion in their quaterly fundraising drives.

Please understand, I am not suspecting these organisations of not having good intentions - what I am saying is if you follow the money you will find them on the trail and things get mighty blown out of proportion on the way, sort of like a Chinese Whisper, where everyone adds in their own two cents and interepretation along the way and it gets read as fact.

Much worse things - and the death toll is much greater - in Uganda and DR Congo than is currently happening in Darfur Sudan and yet the spotlight is still on Darfur and hardly alight on the world's worst/most neglected humanitarian crises in northern Uganda and DRC where for starters at least four million people have perished.

These days one has to be so careful talking about Arabs, Muslims, Jews and Africans for fear of being misinterpreted or accused of being racist - it is more trouble than it is worth. [So in a sense, it seeems to me they are suppressing freedom of speech] Frankly, I am starting to add Americans into that mix.

Within the blogosphere I've noticed over the past two years, most Americans take any sort of criticism of their blinkered and insular thinking as an afront to everything they stand for - like an attack on everything that is great and good about America - they get pretty aggressive about it and hold grudges. Sort of reminds me of the story of the Emperor and his clothes...

The point I am making here is there is so much political propaganda in the American media that Americans aren't even aware because they can't be told anything. Sorry, that's putting it bluntly but I have felt this way for the past year.

Another thing too is, this mushrooming of do-good agencies and chartitable organisations and PR companies issuing press releases to mainstream media has to be seen to be believed. I am starting to see people that probably wouldn't fit in elsewhere, starting on a issue, getting donations, and creating a little world for themselves that essentially lines their own pockets, puts food on their table. In some cases I see it as exploitation of people's emotions and misfortunes.

The other point I am making here is in answer to Anonymous: **how does throwing more money at simple bad behaviour change the problem?** It doesn't but it certainly lines a lot of peoples pockets on the journey to Africa. Humanitarian relief supplies and aid workers represent a multi billion dollar industry that nobody is really looking at. "So, what?" I ask myself - what does it matter, at least someone is providing relief to those who are most in need. My answer is, well yes, if it was true. Aid is not reaching those most in need. There is a great deal of super fantastic work being done - but there is a lot of incompetence too that causes wastage like money grows on trees. I get annoyed at the waste and easy come, easy go attitude with nobody questioning it. It's like they are unaccountable.

Right now for Darfur the UN World Food Programme is talking about using costly air drops of food because of lack of trucks and problems of insecurity related to the trucks.

This has now been going on a year. Who knows if the amount of money they'd spent on air drops last year could have been used to buy trucks accompanied by its own security minders. They used air drops last year because, and they admitted this themselves, they were too slow to react before the annual rainy season.

This year, after a whole year of warning and planning, they are using air drops again. China and Russia on the UN Security Council are blocking taking action against Sudan (because they have oil and arms interests in Sudan) and the genocidal regime in Khartoum is blocking African Union troops from being armed to protect civilians (because Khartoum sees foreign troops as a threat to its power base).

In essence, what I am saying here is, when it comes to Africa there is a whole load of corruption and propaganda when it comes to Africa - from within and outside Africa.

It's time people in Africa (and Africans living outside of it too) start working hard and putting their backs into sorting it out themselves and stop taking from the West.

Seems they love meeting and chewing the cud and sitting around talking - or fighting. They need to realise that without education they are going nowhere. If they would stop fighting and stop spending all their wealth on arms, they could afford to get educated over the next 15 years.

Friday, June 03, 2005  

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