Target: Martin Kobler, Representative and Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Goal: Protect students from abduction and rape by armed groups in the Congo.
Schools are being invaded and used for war purposes by armed groups who control the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is preventing students from attending school in a region that already has an unstable educational system.
Attacks, offenses and military use of schools are common throughout war-ridden Congo. Currently, there are no laws in place to prevent military interference in educational institutions. Many students do not attend school due to the fear of being abducted, raped, or recruited for military use. These occurrences happen openly throughout classrooms and as children walk to school.
Teachers are helpless to protect children against soldiers who invade the classrooms in large numbers and with armed weapons. According to Human Rights Watch, a soldier reportedly entered a classroom asking for a female student and her teacher could not prevent the soldiers from taking her. This is not an unusual situation in the Congo, where students are constantly forced to endure beatings, recruitment, forced labor, and sexual abuse.
The military use of schools also makes them a target for enemy attacks. The safety of children should be a high priority in restoring peace for the Congo. It is the right of all children to be educated in a safe environment. Urge officials to protect these students from such heinous offences and prioritize the security of schools.
Dear Mr. Kobler,
Young students in the Congo are facing dangerous learning environments. Military interference in schools has lead to the physical, sexual, and psychological abuse of children.
Armed groups are using schools as recruiting locations to strengthen their forces. Helpless children are being beaten, raped, and forced into labor. Using schools as military locations has also put them at risk of enemy attacks. Currently, there are no concrete laws to protect these children, and their teachers have no power to prevent the abuse.
In restoring peace for the Congo, the opportunity to receive education should be a top priority. Many parents fear that their children will be harmed when attending school and choose to keep them home instead. The hostile circumstances are creating an atmosphere of anxiety for students and parents, as well as denying proper education for a future generation.
Education is essential for any society that wishes to improve and function well. We urge you to advocate for new legislation that will restore the educational system in the Congo.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: M. Hofer