Clinton targets sexual violence during visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo

The New York Times reports

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton unveiled a $17 million plan on Tuesday to fight the widespread sexual violence in eastern Congo, a problem she said was “evil in its basest form.”

“We are very concerned about civilian casualties: deaths and rapes and other injuries from military action,” she said at an press conference in Goma.

“The Congolese Government, of course, came out of many years of war, and that is very destabilizing to societies and very often human rights are considered a luxury during a wartime. But there are no excuses any longer, and there has to be more expected from the government here. The United States and other countries, as well as the United Nations, stand ready to assist the government in taking actions to both promote human rights, including women’s rights, and to punish violators of human rights and women’s rights,” she said.

“There has to be an end of the paying of the militias by mineral interests and other interests that buys impunity and gives these militias the free rein to terrorize people. And sexual and gender-based violence must be condemned. It must be condemned by everyone in every part of society. People need to be not only ashamed if they commit rape and other sexual violence, but they need to be arrested and prosecuted and punished so that it serves as a strong message that this will not be tolerated,” Clinton said.

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