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Stop Sexual Violence and Slavery in the Democratic Republic of Congo

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Sponsor: The Hunger Site

Civilians in the Demoratic Republic of Congo are being raped and tortured by armed soldiers in the name of profit. Take action!

Dozens of armed groups operate in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and many of them — as well as members of the Congolese security forces — have been perpetrators of sexual violence. Armed groups have abducted and held Congolese women and girls as sex slaves. The perpetrators often harmed their victims with machetes and other weapons before or after raping them. Girls as young as 2 and women older than 80 have been targeted, as well as some men and boys. Many victims developed serious medical complications following the rape, frequently dying from their wounds1.

The men, women, and children who survive are then coerced to work in mineral mines by soldiers in the name of profit2.

These mines are under the control of various armed militia groups and the Congolese National Army and contain precious minerals like tantalum, coltan, cassiterite, wolframite, and gold. These minerals are used in many of the electronic items we used today and are therefore in great demand3.

To obtain these resources at the greatest margin of profit to themselves, the soldiers are using physical and sexual force to subvert the civilians into excavating the minerals for them.

Many of the former militia leaders found guilty of committing these crimes have been imprisoned, but court-ordered reparations have yet to be paid to the many who have been victimized. Judicial investigations into serious violations attributed to the armed forces between 2016 and 2019 confirmed the widespread use of sexual violence by the military during operations carried out in communities perceived to be supporting friendly militias4.

Congolese women are bold and courageous, yet they are forced to live under the dual cloak of politically-imposed silence as well as silence due to their gender and bear the responsibility of maintaining their families in a context of diminishing resources and increased sexual violence, especially in conflict zones5. 

The United Nations has launched a helpline for victims of sexual and gender-based violence in the DRC, but it is not enough. Stand up for the women of the DRC. Sign the petition below to send a message Congress asking them to solidify legislation addressing these heinous crimes against humanity.

More on this issue:

  1. Human Rights Watch (10 June 2014), "Democratic Republic of Congo: Ending Impunity for Sexual Violence."
  2. BBC News (9 October 2013), "DR Congo: Cursed by its natural wealth."
  3. Nick Heath, TechRepublic (31 March 2014), "How conflict minerals funded a war that killed millions, and why tech giants are finally cleaning up their act."
  4. Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict (30 March 2021), "Democratic Republic of the Congo."
  5. Global Fund for Women (2021), "Women's Groups In The DRC Are Demanding Justice."
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The Petition:

Dear Congress member,

I was appalled to learn of the abhorrent human rights abuses that are happening right now in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It's an utter abomination that the armed soldiers in the region are raping, torturing, and forcing hard, manual labor upon innocent men, women, and children.

I am writing to ask that you direct efforts toward providing the people of Congo with the opportunity to live free and healthy lives without the worry they will be captured and put to work — or worse.

The Congolese deserve the same freedoms we have. Please push important legislation through Congress that will go toward combating human slavery in the Congo.


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