An unstable nation since 1960, The DRC has over 1.7 million internally displaced people and 400,000 instances of rape per year.
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SBS Learn
15 Jun 2015 - 3:36 PM  UPDATED 24 Sep 2015 - 1:46 PM

The DRC is the 3rd largest country in Africa, the size of Western Europe. The DRC has endured turmoil since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960.

Rated amongst the poorest countries of the world its people should be rich with natural resources and raw minerals estimated worth $24+ trillion US. The $870m diamond industry provides work for around 1 million people, but many diggers earn less than $1 a day in dangerous conditions.

Refugees flee the DRC after being subjected to (or are in fear of) murder, rape or forced labour.

The issues relating to the DRC’s instability are highly complex with numerous political issues and violent rebel groups operating within the DRC. This makes the job of stabilising the region very challenging for UN peacekeepers and the DRC government.

Currently the most troubled area of the DRC is Eastern Congo, in North and South Kivu over 2 million people are internally displaced. The ongoing violence left nearly 2 million people displaced and a further 145,000 as refugees in neighboring countries. Despite a peace accord signed in January 2008, armed conflict persists and civilians have borne the brunt of the violence.

The prevalence of rape, torture and murder is described as the worst in the world. Congolese authorities in conjunction with UN peacekeepers {the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUSCO (French)} are present to assist in protecting civilians under imminent threat of physical violence and assist displaced civilians who want to return home. Despite this attacks on villages continue with tens of thousands of women and children have been raped.

In 2008 the UN officially declared the rape of women and children as a “weapon of war” in the DRC. The level of sexual violence in Congo continues at an alarming rate. Over 15,000 cases of sexual violence were reported in 2009. In 2010 there were no signs that the trend was decreasing. For the first six months of the year 7,685 cases were reported. More than half of the victims were under 18 years of age.

 

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