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Archive for November 25th, 2008

"Democratic" Republic of Congo © BBCGetting back into writing on issues of the world’s children, I’m struck this morning by a story the BBC is running today on the present state of affairs in the euphemistically named Democratic Republic of Congo.

Anyone who has been paying any attention at all is aware that, like the ongoing situation in Sudan, the DRC is a mess in large areas of the country and has been for years.

Of course, the children get the short end of the stick … or the sharp end, as is very often the case … and if you can stomach it, you can watch a vid on the page that illustrates the point.

This is NOT news … well, not to me. But it does seem to come as a surprise … surprise, surprise … to the UN.

Good old Ban Ki-moon is doing the usual Sec. Gen. tap dance thing of announcing a report … 28 pages of a report … that expresses concern.

Big whip! And SO too little and too late.

In his 28-page report for the UN Security Council, Mr Ban says the human rights situation in DR Congo is a “cause for grave concern”.

He states that elements of the Congolese army and national police “were responsible for a large number of serious human rights violations during the reporting period, namely arbitrary executions, rape, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”.

Rebels, including Gen Nkunda’s Tutsi CNDP and the Rwandan Hutu FDLR militia – some of whose fighters are believed to have taken part in the 1994 Rwandan genocide – are meanwhile accused of perpetrating “serious human rights abuses with impunity”.

These include “mass killings, torture, abductions, forced recruitment of children, forced displacement and destruction of [refugee] camps, force labour, sexual violence”, the report adds.

The Congolese national civilian and military intelligence services are also accused of making arbitrary arrests, followed by “torture and extortion”.

Do I hear a “duh” resounding?

The Security Council did just approve sending another 3,000 “peacekeepers” to an area that has seen somewhere around a quarter of a million people displaced … no one knows how many are dead, so don’t need to bother with becoming refugees … so, gee, that should make a big diff. Or not.

Once again, I’m forced to harp on the useless of the UN and wonder how many children who have been orphaned, tortured, raped, pressed into soldiering, prostitution, starvation or other horrors most would rather not think about.

I’ll also drop in a bit about the impossibility of offering any of these children a family while I again wonder about the segment of the world that considers international adoption a bad thing … cultural genocide that robs a child of their birthright to die in the country that bred them.

Gee. Why is this a one-note song?

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