WASHINGTON, September 15, 2010
—The risk of future mass rapes in the Democratic Republic of Congo can be greatly reduced if the United Nations prioritizes civilian protection and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) writes strict regulations governing the use of conflict minerals, World Vision said today.
The Congolese government has responded in part to the rapes by issuing a ban on mining in certain areas, but this will not solve the problem as it will be difficult to enforce.
“A ban on mining is the first step in taking control of a situation that is out of control, but it should only be a temporary measure until additional steps are taken to protect civilians,” said World Vision’s Deputy Advocacy Director, Rory Anderson.
When Congress passed the financial reform bill in July, included in the legislation were provisions
requiring companies to file with the SEC, demonstrating that the minerals purchased from the DRC or adjoining countries are not sourced from a conflict zone.
“If the SEC produces weak regulations, we can expect to see more rape and more violence, and it will be financed by American corporations and American consumers,” Anderson said. “Passing the Conflict Minerals Bill was a huge first step; now we need to insist the SEC does their part.”
More than two years ago, World Vision presented new findings to the United Nations Security Council
, warning of an increase in sexual violence and stating that civilian protection – particularly of women and children—is the most urgent unmet need in eastern Congo.
“Many women in northeastern DR Congo have been raped several times, where sadly rape has become an everyday occurrence,” Anderson said. “World Vision is again pleading with the United Nations to make civilian protection its highest priority so as to prevent continued violence against women and children.”
As an organization working on the ground in the DR Congo, World Vision is also implementing strategies to protect women and girls from sexual violence, including fuel-efficient stoves that require fewer dangerous trips outside their camps to collect firewood, and community-based protection committees that monitor violence and escort women during activities that expose them to threats.World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, visit www.worldvision.org/press.