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Americans demand action to end Congo crisis

Advocates call for end to conflict, sexual violence, and exploitation in Congo.

April 2, 2008

In line to receive a relief package from World Vision, Uwimana, a mother of four, lost her husband when he was killed by rebels.
In line to receive a relief package from World Vision, Uwimana, a mother of four, lost her husband when he was killed by rebels.
© 2008 Horeb Bulambo/World Vision
An estimated 250 people from nearly 30 states came together in Washington, D.C., to press Congress and the Bush administration to do more to end the humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) — a crisis that causes some 1,200 deaths a day.

First-ever Congo advocacy event

Held at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Congo Lobby Day event was organized by Congo Global Action, with support from World Vision, CARE, and Oxfam. On March 30-31, participants increased their understanding of the crisis and advocacy through panel discussions and legislative training, hearing from several experts on the region. On April 1, participants took to the Hill to speak out on behalf of the Congolese people, who have endured more than a decade of hardship.

History of the crisis

Conflict in the eastern DRC has, to date, caused the deaths of more than 5 million people. Half of these deaths were among children under the age of 5. Most are the result of malnutrition, disease, and lack of access to health care as a result of the conflict.

Ironically, the DRC's vast natural resources have prolonged the conflict and have worsened the poverty of most of the Congolese people, as bordering nations continue to destabilize the DRC in order to pillage and smuggle resources into their own countries.

Rebel groups continue to target civilians as a tool of war. Women are raped and abducted to serve as sex slaves. The recruitment of child soldiers still occurs frequently; about one-third of those recruited are young girls.

Better U.S. policies toward the Congo

This was the first-ever organized lobbying effort on behalf of the volatile Central African country. During meetings with members of Congress and representatives from the State Department, participants asked for better policies toward the DRC, including:
  • Greater engagement in ongoing peace efforts
  • More funding for humanitarian response
  • Increased efforts to end sexual violence against women, particularly in the eastern region of the country
"The problems facing the DRC are complex, and it's been easy to ignore them," said Rory E. Anderson, deputy director for advocacy and government relations at World Vision. "But our national security, our international credibility, and our universal humanity demand that we respond to these problems and empower the Congolese people to improve their lives. That's what these Americans are coming together to do."

Learn more

>> Learn more about the DRC crisis.
>> Check out the BBC's Congo country profile to learn more about the history of the conflict .

Three ways you can help

>> Pray for peace and stability in the DRC.
>> Take action! Ask your member of Congress to contact the State Department to encourage work to bring peace in eastern Congo.
>> Sponsor a HopeChild in the DRC. World Vision in the DRC is participating in our HopeChild program to provide additional resources for children and families impacted by HIV and AIDS in this high-prevalence region.

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World Vision
Phone: 1-888-511-6548
P.O. Box 9716
Federal Way,WA 98063-9716
© 2014 World Vision Inc.
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