Archive for the ‘Violence Against Women’ Category

Daily, it is as if someone has asked him if he possibly could be a little more repellent and disgusting.

Poll: Trump presidency would embarrass half of Americans

Lisa Hagen

While half of all polled would be embarrassed to have Trump as president, the majority of that sentiment comes from Democrats and independents.

For Republicans, 44 percent would be proud to have Trump in the White House, twice as much as GOP voters who would be embarrassed.

Read more >>>>

The “proud” ones do not understand how offensive that word was. He hit a new, nauseating low on the sleaze-o-meter. Revolting!

Ralphy Christmas story soap
Cross-posted at The Department of Homegirl Security.

Did Trump not say we should all speak English?

Oy vey! Enough of Trump. (a good bilingual take-down from Dana Milbank)



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Seventeen days ago, and two weeks into the ordeal of what we now know to be nearly 300 young female Nigerian scholars, Al Jazeera America began publicizing the Twitter hashtag campaign #BringBackOurGirls.   I had not seen any other news outlet acknowledge the story at that point.  Plenty of time and money had been spent for weeks on the missing airliner and the sunken ferry, but it seemed at the time that no one was particularly concerned about thugs invading a girls’ dormitory on the eve of final exams and abducting them for doing exactly what they were there to do: studying.

First and foremost, at that time,  the story needed publicity – a higher profile – and the hashtag campaign seemed exactly what was needed so I came here, posted about it, and tweeted the post with the hashtag.  Reactions to that post indicated what I had predicted.  A lot of people did not know about this situation.  I continued posting and tweeting and as the days went by the hashtag campaign did what it was meant to do.  It went viral.  Big names picked it up and the media could no longer ignore the story.

The whole point of the campaign was to raise public awareness, and it worked.  Now it is a story.  Now it gets coverage.  People know.  The global hashtag campaign forced the hand of the Nigerian government which had done nothing to help the girls or their families.  Now on the evening news we see the girls, their faces sad and surrounded by veils.  We see the abductors, cocky and jeering.

The girls are not home yet.  We are not even sure where they are.  We have heard the stories of a few who escaped, and at least one says that she cannot return to school.  Mission accomplished, Boko Haram!  At least one young woman will not be studying Darwin,  or be looking online at powerful telescopic photos near the moment of the Big Bang, or grow up to find ways to build a greener future for her country – the leading oil producing nation on the continent.

The supremely ironic, crazy attack by right-wing media on the hashtag campaign and on Hillary Clinton (I predicted that here) should come as no surprise and is no coincidence.

Rush Limbaugh Claims Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama ‘Sympathize With Boko Haram

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Literacy is Rooted in Love

One of the sweetest, most memorable, experiences for a parent or caretaker is sitting down in a chair, putting your arm around your child, and reading books together. That simple activity of discovering stories with each other, one on one, strengthens your bond and sets your child up for a lifetime of loving books.

Only half of all toddlers – and even fewer babies – are read to regularly by parents or family members, according to the nonprofit literacy group, Reading is Fundamental, which recommends reading at least 30 minutes a day to help prepare a child to learn.

Long before a child learns to read, she is absorbing sounds and patterns of language by listening to you and other caregivers talk. The more you engage her brain by reading with her as part of a regular routine, the better equipped she’ll be for both speaking and reading – and the more she’ll learn to associate books with enjoyment.  That can be a big advantage later in school, when reading is sometimes perceived as more work than fun.

You can lay a good foundation for early literacy by celebrating books and reading in your household. Visit the local library with your preschooler and let them check out new (or favorite!) books. Let your child discover you reading on the couch for relaxation. With an infant who’s just starting to babble, you can point to pictures in a board book, and vary your tone of voice as you narrate a story. And when your child learns to read, you can encourage her to read aloud with you.

Reading with your child will greatly expand vocabulary and actually help with other subjects like math. And a child who has fun exploring books at home as a very young child is likely to go on and enjoy reading once she reaches school, and beyond.


Read more:

In The News:


Mom Jennifer Cooper reads a bedtime story to her two children and says reading together enhances their vocabulary and their math skills. >>


These parents clearly love and miss their daughters.  I am sure they have fond memories of reading to their little girls.  They have worked hard and sacrificed to finance a good education for them,  and now they want their kidnapped daughters back. There needs to be more attention brought to their plight.

Kidnapped Nigerian Schoolgirls: #BringBackOurGirls @BringGirlsBack

We hope these marches in major cities help alert news organizations.

#BringBackOurGirls: Who knows? Who cares? Who will march? Who will report it?

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In a post on Monday, among other news stories about our girl, I included an article about an online video “game” that encourages players to slap Hillary.   In that post, I mentioned the “virtual violence directed at our prime champion of women’s rights and dignity”  and called it physical abuse.  The game implies that it is acceptable to slap a woman for speaking.  It is not.  Ever!

I wondered, at the time, whether the SuperPAC Ready for Hillary would comprehend the underlying message this “game” conveyed and combat it in some way.  Here is part of the email I received from them on the subject.  (Links to contributions have been broken intentionally.)

We’ve seen these so-called “Stop Hillary” super PACs attack Hillary before, but this is a new low. As CNN reported, they released an online game “that allows viewers to virtually slap the former Secretary of State across the face.”

The “Stop Hillary” operatives even began messaging reporters, asking them, “Have you slapped Hillary today?”

This behavior is just plain wrong.

But instead of getting mad, we should get organized. And that’s why I hope you’ll make a contribution today. Remember, there’s no better way for us to respond to this nonsense than to continue building a large grassroots organization encouraging Hillary to run.

Please make a $5 donation and help us send a message that disgusting tactics like these will only strengthen our resolve to make Hillary our next president.

Instead of waging attacks like this “slap Hillary” game, this crowd should help address the challenges facing our country by working with President Obama to create good jobs.

It’s three-and-a-half years before the 2016 election. Hillary hasn’t even said if she’s running (and that’s why we’re encouraging her to run) and yet these “Stop Hillary” groups are attacking her every day. She’s a private citizen working to make sure children have a good start in life and to advance the rights of women and girls around the globe. Even so, these groups are already asking Americans to “slap Hillary” — and MSNBC, CNN, the Washington Times, and more are all reporting on it.

Will you respond by making a $5 contribution today so that everyone knows that Hillary has the most committed grassroots supporters in the country, and attacks like this only makes us work harder?

Certainly everyone who comes here is well aware of her work as secretary of state and as a private citizen since that  is the focus of this blog as opposed to concentrating on rumors, gossip, and what may or may not materialize as a campaign.  I was disappointed that the assessment was simply that the behavior is wrong – no explanation as to why and no mining the depth of the message the “game” conveys – and then onward to the predictable request for funds.

People who want her to run should have a deeper appreciation of the work she has done for women and children beyond the perfunctory nod to her current work.  The struggle to eliminate violence against women and girls and all that encourages it is basic to her endeavors – essential.

In contrast, Emily’s List also emailed me, and here is part of their message.


In less than 24 hours, more than 20,000 people have joined EMILY’s List in demanding that every GOP 2016 candidate pledge to refuse money from The Hillary Project and any other group advocating violence against women. Have you signed on yet? There’s still time to do so.

Add your name right now. Show the GOP just how serious we are about protecting women.

Hmmmmmm… that is more like the response I had hoped to see from Ready for Hillary who purportedly are ready for her.   Evidently they lack depth of passion for what impassions her.

Slapping women for speaking is more than “just plain wrong.”  It is assault,  a crime,  and deserved a much stronger reaction from Ready for Hillary – much stronger than simply pointing out her current activities and asking twice for contributions.

Here is another petition from Ultra Violet since , on this subject,  you cannot have or sign too many.

Slapping women is not a joke.

A Republican Super PAC has put out a new online “game” where they ask their supporters to virtually slap Hillary Clinton across the face.

The Super PAC is known as The Hillary Project and is an anti-Hillary Clinton group that lists Christopher Marston–a Republican campaign consultant and a former member of the Bush administration–as its treasurer.

Violence against women is not a joke.

Our message to the Hillary Project and Christopher Marston:

“Your “Slap Hillary” game is offensive and outrageous and you must take it down and apologize right away. Violence against women kills three women every day–there is nothing funny about it.”

Yes, I am aware that after one signs the Emily’s List petition there is a request for contributions, but it is secondary, and, most importantly, there is a petition!

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Recent Incidents of Violence Against Women in Afghanistan


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 12, 2012

The United States joins the government of Afghanistan in strongly condemning the murder of Najia Sediqi, who was killed in a drive-by shooting Monday morning. As Acting Director of Provincial Women’s Affairs, Najia was one of the many Afghan women who dedicate themselves every single day toward building a brighter future for the people of Afghanistan. The United States will continue to stand side-by-side with women who are carrying on Najia’s fight, the Afghan government and all Afghan people to ensure that the hard-won gains made by women in the recent years are protected and advanced. Senseless violence like this will only threaten the potential for peace.  Our thoughts are with Najia’s family during this difficult time.

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Video Remarks on Opening of the Caribbean IdEA Marketplace


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 3, 2012

I am delighted to send greetings to all of you in Montego Bay. When I visited Jamaica last June, I announced the Caribbean IdEA Marketplace, a program we like to call CIM. CIM is a business competition that connects local entrepreneurs with members of the Caribbean diaspora—with the ultimate goal of sparking new partnerships that will create jobs and economic opportunities in the region. Today, I’m pleased to announce that the Caribbean IdEA Marketplace is open for business.

We are proud to be partnering with a wide range of governments and organizations in this important initiative, including the Inter-American Development Bank, OPIC, and the governments of the United Kingdom and Canada.

The Caribbean diaspora may live in far-off places, but they can still play a crucial role in their home countries. CIM will help forge the connections that will turn new business ideas into new businesses, creating jobs and boosting trade and investment in the Caribbean.

Visit CaribbeanIdea.org to learn more about the program and to find partners around the world who are looking to build innovative new businesses and energize your economies. With your support – and your ideas – CIM will help us tackle some of the most complicated and pressing challenges of our time. I’m excited to hear about the progress you make. Thank you.

Given the tenor of the political debates lately, this is an especially important issue and statement.

Video Remarks to National Network To End Domestic Violence


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 3, 2012

I am delighted to be able to send greetings to each of you. This Second World Conference of Women’s Shelters is an exciting opportunity for thousands of grassroots advocates from around the world to connect with one another and share strategies for ending violence against women and girls.

This is an issue that affects women of every income level, in every region of the world. An estimated one in three women will be physically or sexually abused in her lifetime, and one in five will experience rape or attempted rape.

This violence affects women’s health and well-being; it hurts children and families and poses considerable costs to societies – economically and socially.

It is simply unacceptable. This is not only a gender or economic issue, but a matter of human rights and national security. We need to put laws in place to criminalize such acts, and they must be implemented in order to hold people accountable and address impunity.

And we need everyone’s involvement to make this happen. People at all levels of society, in every vocation, and at every age – girls, boys, women, and men – all have a role to play.

I want to thank the National Network to End Domestic Violence for being such a strong partner, and everyone here for continuing to stand up, speak out, and think of new solutions. Like you, we see women as powerful agents of change, and through forums like this one, we are focusing on creative and innovative ways to harness the power of women to be part of the solution to ending gender-based violence.

I hope this dialogue has provided an opportunity to learn about what is working and how to build on successful policies and programs to advance women’s rights around the world. I can’t wait to hear what you come up with.

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

Violence against women, posted with vodpod

Remarks For The “Highlighting Solutions To Stop Violence” Against Women Policy Dialogue

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
November 5, 2011

Good morning! I’m delighted to send greetings to each of you as you come together to develop new ways to empower women. I also want to thank my good friend, Minister Kevin Rudd, and the Australian Government for hosting this important forum.

Study after study shows that gender equality is crucial to the economic and political stability of countries around the world. When women are able to participate in the political process and enter the labor force, economies grow faster, children are healthier, and there is less corruption. Entire societies flourish. So elevating women is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.

Violence against women is one of the biggest obstacles to empowering women. That’s why I am so pleased that the Pacific Women’s Empowerment Initiative, which I announced with Minister Rudd last year, is coming together once again to enlist new partners and develop new ideas in this effort. You are helping to improve policies, initiate new programs, and establish new resources for the empowerment of women and girls in the Pacific region.

I hope this dialogue gives you an opportunity to discuss what works, what doesn’t, and how we can build upon successful policies and programs to advance women’s rights. And I hope your discussions yield concrete results, because this is a crucial issue for the Pacific region and the world. And I can’t wait to hear about the next steps. Thank you.

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This is a particularly long day in an incredibly dangerous place.

Secretary Clinton Tours Refugee Camp


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
August 11, 2009

Video Link

Excerpt from AP video of Secretary Clinton  remarks after touring Refugee Camp.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I have just come from a meeting with two survivors of sexual attacks. The atrocities that these women have suffered, which stand for the atrocities that so many have suffered. The United States condemns these attacks and all those who commit them and abet them. And we state to the world that those who attack civilian populations using systematic rape are guilty of crimes against humanity.”

SECRETARY CLINTON: And today I am announcing that we will provide more than 17 million dollars in new funding to prevent and respond to gender and sexual violence in the DRC.

SECRETARY CLINTON: “I made the point that these crimes, no matter who commits them, must be prosecuted and punished. That is particularly important when those who commit such acts are in positions of authority, including members of the Congolese military.

Secretary Clinton Meets With Democratic Republic of Congo President

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo
August 11, 2009

Video Link

Excerpt from AP video of Secretary Clinton’s meeting with Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I offered, and the president accepted my sending a team of legal and financial and other technical experts to the DRC to provide specific suggestions about how to overcome these very serious obstacles to the potential of this country.

Roundtable With NGOs and Activists on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Issues


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
HEAL Africa
Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo
August 11, 2009

DR. LUSI: Secretary Clinton, we are honored to have you among us. We know that you have a very tight schedule, and you have given us this time. And we are honored to receive you. We are eager to hear what you have to say to us.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you, Dr. Lusi, and thanks to everyone here associated with HEAL Africa and all of the other groups that are working so hard. I appreciate your welcoming us here today, and I am deeply moved and admiring of the heroic work that you and your colleagues are doing.

Yesterday, I spoke with a group of young people in Kinshasa, and I said that here in Africa we can find humanity at its worst and humanity at its best. And we have seen both here, in Goma. My delegation and I have been working hard, even before we came, to see what we could do to try to assist in the ongoing efforts to end the conflict and the violence that still stalks this land, and to help the Congolese people, who have suffered enough.

I have just come from a meeting with two survivors of sexual attacks. The atrocities that these women have suffered, which stands for the atrocities that so many have suffered, distills evil into its basest form. The United States condemns these attacks and all those who commit them and abet them. And we say to the world that those who attack civilian populations using systematic rape are guilty of crimes against humanity. These acts don’t just harm a single individual, or a single family, or a single village, or a single group. They shred the fabric that weaves us together as human beings. Such atrocities have no place in any society.

Amid such abject inhumanity, we have also seen the hope and the help that you represent. We have seen survivors of these attacks summon the courage to rebuild their lives and their communities. We have seen health care workers sacrifice comfortable careers so they can treat the wounded. We have seen civil society leaders come together to combat this appalling epidemic.

In the face of such evil, people of good will everywhere must respond. The United States is already a leading donor to efforts aimed at addressing these problems. And today I am announcing that we will provide more than $17 million in new funding to prevent and respond to gender and sexual violence in the DRC.

This assistance will be distributed to organizations across the Eastern Congo, and is being targeted to respond to the specific needs that you have identified, such as training for health care workers in complex fistula repair. Working through USAID, we will provide medical care, counseling, economic assistance, and legal support to 10,000 women living in North and South Kivu, and other areas.

We are dedicating almost $3 million to recruiting and training police officers, particularly women, so that they understand their duty to protect women and girls, and to investigate sexual violence. We will be sending a group of technology experts to the eastern DRC next month, as part of an effort to equip women and front-line workers with mobile devices to report abuse, using photographs and video, and to share information on treatment and legal options.

And we will be deploying a team comprised of civilian experts, medical personnel, and military engineers from the United States Africa Command to assess how we can further assist survivors of sexual violence.

We are raising this issue at the highest levels of your government. I had very frank discussions about sexual violence yesterday with your prime minister and other ministers, and today, in my meeting with President Kabila. I made the point that these crimes, no matter who commits them, must be prosecuted and punished. That is particularly important when those who commit such acts are in position of authority, including members of the Congolese military.

This problem is too big for one country to solve alone. And I am pleased also to announce a new partnership with the Norwegian government to upgrade a medical facility in North Kivu, so that health workers there will be able to provide better treatment to survivors of sexual violence and serious maternal injuries.

Our commitment to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence did not begin today, and it will not end today.

I have come here with my long-time friend and colleague, Melanne Verveer, who many of you already know. Melanne, for many years, was the chair of Vital Voices. And some of you, I know, were with us in Washington, when we made awards to heroes on behalf of women. She now serves as the United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Women’s Issues. She will continue to be a voice for you inside our government, as we work together to combat this scourge.

As we provide this assistance, we are redoubling our efforts to end the fundamental cause of this violence: the fighting that goes on and on here, in the eastern DRC. We will be taking additional steps inside our own government, at the United Nations, and in concert with other nations, to bring an end to this conflict.

I am looking forward to hearing from you. But before I turn it over to each of you, I want to thank every one of you. I want to thank you on behalf of women and men everywhere, who know what you are doing, who care about your patients, who ache for the survivors. I know the hours are long, and the work is very hard. The conditions are harsh, and I am sure that, at times, the task you face can seem overwhelming.

I was told yesterday that there is an old Congolese proverb that says, “No matter how long the night, the day is sure to come.” You are all helping to hasten the days coming, when thousands of Congolese women will be able to walk freely again, to go their fields, to play with their children, to walk with their husbands, to do the work of collecting firewood and water without fear.

We want to banish the problem of sexual violence into the dark past, where it belongs. I thank you very much, and I look forward to now hearing from you all. Thank you.


DR. LUSI: Thank you very much, Madame Secretary. We are encouraged and heartened to know that Congo has found a friend, a friend of women. And now I would like to turn it over to the people around the table, who represent so many of the organizations who have worked hard, and long, and continually, and with great commitment. And they will add some ideas, as well, of what our friend can do to help us.

So, let me start with Justine.

SPEAKER: (Via translator.) Thank you, Madame Secretary, dear guests. Women in North Kivu would like to welcome you all, and allow us to say something about impunity, as impunity is one of the problems that we — that the populations who are a victim of violence, sexual violence and other crimes — is a problem that we fight, impunity.

Impunity in the DRC exists because the — our leaders don’t have much of a willingness to prosecute the authors. For instance, Aganda, and other authors of these crimes. And the weakness to implement laws, especially laws that deal with sexual violence, in particular part of the problem, and the fact that we cannot have access to criminals that belong to LRA and FLDR. Children are killed, women are raped, and the world closes their eyes.

The international justice is not (inaudible) to this — can be (inaudible). Justice exists, can act, it’s credible, but it’s slow, and that’s a limitation. And because it is slow, evidence disappears, and there is a limited number of trials. And there is the distance that separates, you know, the place where the crimes were committed, and the place where trials are held.

So, in view of this, we would like to propose the creation of mixed courthouses that — be created with international courts. So these mixed chambers, or joint chambers, would be credible, because the personnel would be made of foreigners and Congolese. They are independent, and they do not suffer from interference and corruption. And they bring those who should be judged closer to justice.
Time is short. It is easy to carry out investigations that goes a little faster than when international justice alone does it. But that’s better than national, domestic justice.

There is — it doesn’t — these mixed courts do not replace entirely national justice. But I think it is a way for — thank you very much.


SPEAKER: (Via translator.) Madame Secretary of State, His Excellency the Ambassador, CARE International wants to thank — all the intervention that were designed to fight impunity must go along with helping the victims of sexual violence.

Now, CARE International and other humanitarian agents are asking for access to health care, and also confidentiality, in the context of a strategy that is led by local authorities that could help the local people, and especially pregnant women and those who have a need for health, reproductive health.

Except and besides medical assistance, and besides help to the victims, there needs to be a psycho-social assistance that could help and assist also financially and economically, to help survivors to be helped to reintegrate into society.

CARE also commits to help in multi-sectoral areas, to help in the community, and help the women’s role in society. All these interventions have the goal to prevent violence through behavioral change. And I thank you.


SPEAKER: Security will come. Peace will come. But we have other challenges. The education is the main one. Somewhere, where Children’s Voice are doing activities for helping children, only five percent of children have been to school. Somewhere in other activities, 95 percent of the population do not know to write or to read. Most of kids or young persons recruited in army — I mean in armed groups — have not been at school. And those people will be in the army and police.

Of course, the country needs to develop many things. The villages will be again full. I mean the (inaudible) will be back. But what will happen if you need — I mean, when you want to help a country? Please think about children and young people.

Of course, we have many challenges in this country. We are very happy that you are here. The international community has already done their best, really. But very nice that you are here. And we hope that you will help the country, you will help the government of DRC, to do what is very important for people. We need to educate pupils, young men, young women, and then the development will follow.

Of course, we have many children in the street. That is because most of parents don’t know what to do, how to help them, because scholarship is not there. Scholar fees are paid by the parents. Parents are not paid any more. We hope that you will be our ambassador to your country, to your government, and you will be back to help this country. Thank you.


SPEAKER: (Via translator.) Madame Secretary of State, Madame Ambassador, we waited a long time for this particular moment here, and we — for engagement against the sexual violence struggle. We need peace, we need security, and I think this is the priority of all priorities, to stop, to put an end to the cycle of violence.

The military operations are — continue to be carried out. But these military operations are not a solution to the problem. That’s why, when it comes to security, we would like that you — the leaders of the countries of the Great Lakes — Rwanda, Congo, and Uganda — so that — will take on their responsibility to protect their citizens.

We all know that it’s not just a Congolese problem. So that’s why we think that, for peace and security to come back, we have to pressure the neighboring countries so that they accept (inaudible), so that the (inaudible) will peacefully go back to their country —


SPEAKER: — because we now know the worst — with villages, they are burned down, numerous cases of sexual violence, and other problems.

Still talking about security, we know that the DRC does not have a Republican Army. And therefore, it is considered like the soft belly of this region. And, therefore, it’s a real base for terrorists, and this continues to be the case for as long as security measures are not taken here.

So, the situation here is a mixture of civilian and militaries of all types and categories. The people would not have the same laws.


SPEAKER: The reason we ask the United States to help the DRC to form a Republican Army, united, with no roots, who could take the place of the United Nations, when it leaves. And this army should be complemented by police, a police with women


SPEAKER: And thank you very much for what you said during your presentation, Madame Secretary. You said that there will be police with women here to protect civilians, and particularly women and children.

And, finally, I will also plead for the freedom of the press. Many media outlets have been banned here, in the DNC. And even a radio station, Radio Mudanga, was banned. Therefore, we ask you to please plead in favor of freedom of expression. Thank you.


SPEAKER: Madame Secretary, first of all, I want to thank you for considering to come in Congo, and specifically in Goma, because it shows us that this administration considers Congo as — and the people of Congo — a vital component of U.S. foreign relations.

Resolution 1820 was supposed to make the United Nations more sensitive to the issue of sexual violence. But yet we still see too many women and too many children have been raped, violated, not far from those camps of UN sometimes. And we have seen cases of UN soldiers and UN staff, not only UN but even other international organizations, committing those rapes. We want to know what is happening with them. If they have been judged in the country, I think the population of Congo needs to know what the judgment has been.


SPEAKER: Another problem we are having that we need to address today is the presence of this many UN staff and international NGOs. Their presence has caused the cost of life to go very high all over the country, and specifically here, in Eastern Congo. We are having problem — local people having problem — to even find comfortable housing, affordable housing, because ex-pat have the cash and locals don’t have the cash.

We are asking that Resolution 1820 be enforced. We are asking, as well, that the rule of the international community and the UN be redefined, because if they cannot protect our women and our children, I don’t see why they should stay here.


SPEAKER: Madame Secretary of State, Madame Ambassador, as those who preceded me, I would like to say that we are very honored by your visit here, in the Eastern Congo.

I would like to talk about the self-congratulations of certain agencies. And I think that the obligation to protect is the obligation of international law. So that should be the first role of the United Nations.

Today — and I am talking as someone who had come to her province, to her country after 20 years of war — we know, we really know, the stakes. We have received many, many visitors, each more important than the one before. We have received many, many celebrities, too. At the end, we have the impression that people only came to consume human poverty, human misery. And, in the end, all that we got was a pile of business cards.


SPEAKER: And after, to, you know, have good conscience — and I am talking as a native of this country — the only thing they had for their good conscience said that — through the radio we heard about the millions of dollars that “we gave to the Congo,” but when you went to the more distant villages, the beneficiaries didn’t even have access to the aid that was given to the people themselves.

So, coming back to the responsibility to protect, in 2004, when we — the (inaudible) was attacked, we saw the UN take care of the expatriates, rather than the Congolese, for whom they had come to the Congo for, so we were really vexed by that.

SPEAKER: So, you see around this room — you see (inaudible). That means, you know, the posters here. Women are more precious resources, but we look to the Congo for mineral resources, forgetting that our first more important resource is the woman. Woman is who gives life, the life that we’re destroying here.


SPEAKER: Madame Secretary of State, besides your function as Secretary of State, you are a woman, like us. We know your history, political history, and you have the chance, the fortune of — to have at your side Ambassador Verveer, who is also our ambassador. And she represents hope.

And I want to come back to the war that we have here, in Eastern Congo. This is a stake only to really get the resources from DRC. Certain western countries that I will not mention here, because the reports are everywhere — and those are UN reports, really — those reports mention certain western companies, and I hope that they will not be forgotten. And I think that they will be acted upon. And the investigations must take place, so that responsibilities must be found out and responsible parties must be punished.

As Ms. Chou Chou said, the problems of Congo — international problems, not just Congolese problems — many western countries really manipulate certain neighboring countries because they want to take the resources here. And, Madame Secretary, we want you to be our spokesperson, our voice, Madame Secretary, so all this stops.

So, if they want to explore our minerals, but they — let — do it legally and adequately, so that the Congolese take a really — reap the benefits of this (inaudible) our riches. Thank you very much.


DR. LUSI: We are now going to ask Dr. Mukwege to summarize what he has heard.

DR. MUKWEGE: It’s a very difficult task. Madame Secretary of State, this is a very important day for us. This is not a day to be receiving business cards, but this is a day to find a solution, and a solution that will be long-lasting to the problems that have torn this country apart. And we are honored for your visit here, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Those who spoke before me tried to paint the situation. And what we can remember here is the two things that have been said most often: rape and peace. And when we summarize, we see that there is sexual violence because there is no peace. There would be no solution if we don’t understand why there is no peace.

Now, if you analyze what the previous speakers have said, there is a problem of a lack of commitment, political commitment of regional leaders in the Great Lakes region that do not want to stop the situation that has been going on for the last 15 years. There is also an army in the Democratic Republic of Congo that is not well trained. And with all these resources, mineral resources, there is a real problem when the army is not trained and well paid.

What we have also understood is that all the citizens, based on the international law, have the right to be protected. And the United Nations, through MONUC, are here. But the way the United Nations operate is a serious issue, because the local population are not protected as they should be.

And we believe that, Mrs. Secretary of State, the solution goes through this solving of fundamental issues. And she said that. And we suggest that the very first thing to do would be to tell regional leaders to be conscious and responsible of the populations. And it is important that we help the Democratic Republic of Congo. Because as long as there will be weakness and turmoil, soft belly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, there will always be a problem in this region.

The mineral resources of the Congo, the exploitation of those mineral resources, must be under strict rules so that we will not allow those who rape, so that they will not continue to use the mineral resources to carry on their evil tasks.

We also want organizations that take care of the socio-economic conditions of the population.

We also want to stress the fact that we do have a justice system, but there is also an international justice system through the international courts. But you understand that the international tribunal cannot take care of all the issues that are taking place in the Congo. So, my suggestion is that we will have in place a tribunal that will take care, or rule, over cases that — or crimes that have been committed since 1983.

There is also the problem of illiteracy that makes the population that, even if there is peace in the land, and is not trained or intellectual, or cannot read or write, literate, there will always be a problem.

Mrs. Secretary of State, we are very honored, and we have understood that the first introductory words that you said were very complete. And, as Christine said, right now we will not just receive a business card, but there is going to be long-lasting solutions, because we know that you have compassion for women in the Congo. And I would like to thank you.


DR. LUSI: Madame Secretary, we would like to know if you have any questions to ask the panel.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me tell you how grateful I am for the very specific suggestions, as well as the analysis concerning the overall situation that the people of the Congo face.

I think it is important to try to work with your government to address a lot of these. And I told President Kabila today that if he were willing, I would send a team of legal and technical and financial experts to try to provide suggestions about how to do a number of the things that you are talking about.

For example, you need new laws and regulation to protect the mineral resources of your country, for the benefit of the Congolese people. You need an army that is, as the doctor just said, well paid and well trained, that will protect the people and not feel as though it has to feed off of the people, and victimize the people.

There needs to be a process that President Kabila began with his outreach to President Kagame, which I know was controversial, but which I thought was an act of leadership. Because, as several of you have said, unless there is a regional agreement to try to end the violence and build a better future for the region, it will be difficult for the DRC to do that alone.

On each and every one of the points that you made, we will try to help. But I want to emphasize something I said yesterday, when I spoke with the young people. Just as President Obama said in his historic speech in Ghana, the future of Africa is up to the Africans. The future, ultimately, of the Congolese people is up to the Congolese people. There have to be changes, politically. There have to be changes in the impunity. There have to be changes that only the people of this country can demand, and can help bring about.

We will try to provide the help that we’re both asked for and that we think could be useful. But, ultimately, that help has to be received, changes have to be implemented, people have to be committed. And I hope that we’re beginning to see that, here and in the region and internationally.

I will also raise the issues that have been raised concerning the UN and the problems that come with the NGO community arriving in a location such as Goma and displacing people, and raising the cost of living. Those are very real problems that have quite severe effects on many people.

So, there is much to be done. I do not want to overpromise. I am not just here to leave a business card, but I don’t have a magic wand, either. But what I do pledge to you is that we will work. We will work hard. We will work with your government, we will work with groups like many of you represent. We will work with individuals, the private sector, civil society, to try to help resolve the conflict and provide a better future.

But it is ultimately up to the people here. And I have seen so many examples of courage. I know the Congolese people do not lack in courage. And I know they do not lack in hard work or perseverance or survivorship.

So, I hope that we will see the changes from within and outside that will lead to the end of these problems so that our children will not even know what we were talking about. Thank you.


DR. LUSI: I would like to say once again, in the name of everybody around the table and everybody in this room, how much we are grateful for your visit, and how we have listened with attention to what you have to say. And we know that you have listened with attention to what we are saying.

Now, Secretary Clinton will have to leave, because she has such a tight schedule. And I ask you to please stay seated in the room, please, while the delegation leaves. Thank you very much.

Remarks With Congolese Foreign Minister Alexis Thambwe


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo
August 12, 2009  (August 11)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister. And also I wish to thank the President for receiving me and my delegation today here in Goma. We had a very productive, candid, open, comprehensive discussion. As the foreign minister mentioned, I told the President that President Obama and I want to see a new era of partnership in our relationship with the DRC and the Congolese people.
We know that the DRC, its government, and people face many serious challenges, from the lack of investment and development to the problem of corruption and difficulties with governance to the horrible sexual and gender-based violence visited upon the women and children in the country. We know these are big challenges, and we are ready to help the government address them. I offered and the president accepted my sending a team of legal and financial and other technical experts to the DRC to provide specific suggestions about how to overcome these very serious obstacles to the potential of this country.
We have offered our partnership and assistance, but as I said yesterday, the future of this country, like the countries throughout Africa, is really up to the people. And we hope that there will be a better future for the Congolese people.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you. We discussed in some detail with the president what the situation is now. He said that it is better than it was six months ago and a year ago and five years ago, but it is not what it needs to be yet.
I commended the president for his outreach to Rwanda and other neighboring countries, which is an important part of trying to bring peace and stability to the eastern Congo. And we have begun a discussion as to what ways we could be of help to the Congolese military, including enhancing the training that we are doing, trying to professionalize the military, trying to ensure that the soldiers get paid so that they will not feel so undisciplined.
But of course, we raised concerns about the behavior of soldiers, and I sought specifically for an update about the five senior officers who have been charged with rape. And we are going to continue to work with the government as well as our international partners, including the United Nations, to see how all of us could do more to end the reign of violence that has afflicted the people in the northern and southern Kivu province for too long.
MODERATOR: Mary Beth Sheridan –
(Question unrecorded.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are very concerned about civilian casualties, both deaths and rapes and other injuries from the military action. We talked at length on the flight here with the United Nations representative and his team about what their forces can do to try to protect civilians. They are launching joint protection teams. We are going to be following that closely, offering whatever assistance we can. And I spoke at length with President Kabila about the steps that need to be taken by the Congolese army to protect civilians.
QUESTION: (In progress) …or insecure?
SECRETARY CLINTON: We do support the efforts to end the militias and the violence they have visited so terribly on the people of eastern Congo. We believe that a disciplined, paid army is a more effective fighting force. We believe there can be more done to protect civilians while you are trying to kill and capture the insurgents. We believe there should be no impunity for the sexual and gender-based violence committed by so many, and that there (inaudible) prosecutions and punishment, because that runs counter to peace and stability for the Congolese people.
And I look forward to returning to Goma sometime in the future and traveling through this beautiful part of your country.
MODERATOR: Janine Zacharia from –
(Question unrecorded.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: First, with respect to companies that are responsible for what are now being called conflict minerals, I think the international community must start looking at steps we can take to try to prevent the mineral wealth from the DRC ending up in the hands of those who fund the violence here.
Of course, you know that many of the mineral producers are very small operations. They are not corporations even. They are certainly not international, so this is a very challenging problem but we’re going to address it.
With respect to Aung San Suu Kyi, she should not have been tried and she should not have been convicted. We continue to call for her release from continuing house arrest. We also call for the release of more than 2,000 political prisoners, including the American John Yettaw. (Inaudible)

(Questions unrecorded)

FOREIGN MINISTER: I would like to answer two questions that you asked, the one about China and the second (inaudible). For more than a hundred years the riches of the Congo have served to develop foreign countries but not the Congo or the people of the Congo. Geologists say that, as far as our country’s concerned, it’s a geological scandal. But it’s a geological scandal doesn’t really serve the people of the Congo. (Inaudible) so far with (inaudible) beneficial to other countries and detrimental to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The (inaudible) government to – has asked the government to study the different approaches to work with other partners who are willing and able to cooperate with us and use our mineral resources and, in turn, help us with our infrastructures.

This country is as big as Western Europe. We don’t have a single road that goes from north to south or east to west. So the government wanted to see how we could work in partnership with countries, not only with China, but with other countries that are willing to help us with our infrastructure so that we can solve problems with electricity, water, and poverty in exchange with our mineral resources. So it’s not a matter of numbers, but it’s a matter of working with anyone, any other partner who is willing and able to help us improve our infrastructures.


The reason for the U.N. planes is that the airstrip in Goma is not long enough to accommodate her 757.  As you can see, the camp is well-guarded  by U.N. forces.

08-11-09-S-01 08-11-09-S-02 08-11-09-S-03 08-11-09-S-04 08-11-09-S-05 08-11-09-S-06 08-11-09-S-07 08-11-09-S-08 08-11-09-S-09 08-11-09-S-10 08-11-09-S-11 08-11-09-S-12 08-11-09-S-13 08-11-09-S-14 US Secretary of State Escorted by MONUC Troops at Goma Airport Goma

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