The ongoing crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo is still an issue that demands our attention. Children recruited as soldiers are particularly vulnerable in the DRC. In these videos, citizens of the DRC plead for us to take a stand.
The crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has flared up once again: 10 years of tension, on-and-off warfare and violence have taken their toll on the population, who are being displaced yet one more time. More than 5 million people have died during this warfare, thousands of women have been raped, and thousands of children have been recruited as children soldiers. On the following videos we bring you calls for action from the DRC citizens pleading with us to take a stand to stop the humanitarian crisis in the DRC.
Previous Posts on Global Voices has focused on this resurgence of violence: D.R. of Congo: Blogging From the War Zone and DR Congo: Fighting Continues, giving us an overview of the dramatic human rights violations, the clashes and fights arising between UN forces, government and rebels, and the internal displacement of people leaving their villages, cities and towns, running away from the violence.
Bukeni Waruzi, a DRC native who is the project coordinator for the African and Middle East region for Witness.org, writes an article in The Huffington Post about the crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and also posts a video commentary explaining the political situation, the historical roots for the crisis, and a call to action for all citizens to bring attention to this crisis, and try and force the authorities to intercede in benefit of the civilians taking the brunt of the conflict.
A campaign by Médicins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) to raise awareness on the stark state of the DRC will start on November 20th. The Condition:Critical project will collect voices from the war in Eastern DRC, starting off with a documentary to be published on the launch date. The trailer is extremely moving, starting with the poignant testimony of a child born and raised during the war, who perceives his future as a bleak path leading only unto death.
A first-hand account on the impact of this war is told in this interview on the Virunga National Park blog where Ranger Benjamin from the Kalengera Patrol Post, tells how he witnessed rebels killing his father and murdering twenty other people from his village, shooting them one by one. He ran into the forest and then decided to walk to the refugee camp and tell his story to peers and authorities. He makes a heart wrenching call for action for the international community to pressure the CDR’s government to take action regarding the dire situation they are living in.
What can we do? Bukeni Waruzi has three suggestions for actions we can take:
* Write to President Kabila to urge him to stop mass rape, recruitment of children and bring an end to the conflict: http://hub.witness.org/DRCinCrisis
* If you’re a blogger — embed this video interview talking about the crisis: http://hub.witness.org/DRCinCrisis
* Urge your local media to cover this issue — write to the editor and write your own opinion piece
On Witness’ The HUB, there are many other videos providing different aspects of the humanitarian crisis: the violence, the refugee crisis and the epidemic rape of women and girls. The Ushahidi project has already deployed a taggable map to geographically locate and report incidents of violence and human rights abuses through SMS and web reporting
This blog post was originally published on Global Voices Online on November 15, 2008.
I live and work in Colombia, where I teach a course on emerging media to Communications students and I curate and write content for Global Voices Online on citizen uploaded video.