End Violence Against Women in Congo

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Target: President Barack Obama

Goal: Ask President Obama to appoint a special presidential envoy to help end violence against women in Congo.

Violence has been rampant in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for years, and violence against women is of particular concern. Every day, Congolese women are at a very high risk of rape and attack–in fact, they are over 100 times more likely to be raped than American women. Something must be done to end the grip of fear and violence over Congo and the lives of Congolese women. Urge President Obama to appoint a special presidential envoy to help end the violence through diplomatic channels.

Grassroots activist Neema Namadamu was born and raised in Congo and has been witness to the violence perpetrated against Congolese women every day. Her own daughter was recently beaten by soldiers, as the Congolese military continues to brutalize those it is ostensibly meant to protect. The recent capture of Goma, a major city in the DRC, has only provoked further violence in the sixteen-year conflict that has torn Congo apart.

Namadamu points out that Congo has ample natural resources and tremendous economic potential, two facts that are obscured by the country’s current circumstances. Ending the violence in Congo would have profound effects on the larger world community, she argues. But first, other countries must step in and help. Via her own petition, Namadamu is calling upon female leaders in Washington to urge President Obama to appoint special envoys to Congo to engage with diplomats and bring about change.

In a Change.org email, Namadamu points out that the U.S. sent envoys to Burma, Sudan, and Korea in the face of other emergencies, and that the diplomacy brought about real successes. While Namadama puts pressure on women in Washington, we can do the same with President Obama himself. Urge the president to help end violence against women in Congo by appointing a special presidential envoy.

PETITION LETTER

Dear President Obama,

Every day, women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) live in fear of rape, brutal attacks, and violent deaths, as the military conflict that has ravaged the country for the past sixteen years continues unabated. This is an unacceptable and flagrant abuse of human rights, and the United States cannot stand idly by. Please take a stand against violence in Congo by appointing a special presidential envoy to seek solutions through diplomatic channels.

Women in Congo are 134 times more likely to be raped than American women, says activist Neema Namadamu. A presidential envoy to work with the African Union and the United Nations would be an important step forward in the struggle to bring peace and prosperity to Congo, a nation with great natural resources and even greater economic potential. Together, diplomats from around the world can work to address both the immediate crises in the Congo as well as the underlying factors that have contributed to the DRC’s horrific current situation.

Do not ignore the suffering and fear of so many. Take immediate action and appoint a special presidential envoy to work with other diplomats toward a brighter future for Congo and for millions of Congolese women.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: hdptcar via Flickr

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