Crisis in Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo is home to the deadliest conflict since World War II. Over 5.4 million people have died from starvation, violence, and preventable diseases as a direct result of the conflict. And although peace accords were signed in 2003, the crisis in Congo continues to rage. 45,000 Congolese are dying each month. And the victims affected most by the crisis are women and children.
Eastern Congo is the worst place on earth to be a woman. It has the highest rates of sexual violence in the world, with an estimated 1,152 women raped every single day. That means that nearly every minute, a woman is being raped in Eastern Congo. Congolese and Rwandan rebels stage systematic attacks against villages in Eastern Congo, and their weapon of choice is rape. Rape is used as a means to exercise control over a population by inciting fear in the community, destroying a woman’s body, or destroying families by the cultural stigma associated with rape. To hear women’s stories of their experiences with sexual violence, watch this video.
Congo is home to one of the richest mineral deposits in the world, including tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold. These minerals are found in all of our laptops, cell phones, and other electronic devices, and are the main source of income for rebel groups in Congo. Rebels utilize rape and murder to tear apart communities and take over land in order to gain access to these ‘conflict minerals,’ which are smuggled out of Africa and processed in factories in central and Southeast Asia. The minerals are then shipped to factories around the world, and built into the electronic devices we use every day. The money we spend on our electronics is fueling the violence in Congo, so we are directly linked to the crisis. To learn more about conflict minerals, check out this video.