Voice of America News (09.13.07) - Friday, September 14, 2007
A "holocaust of horror" is being inflicted upon women and
girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the UN and
Western nations are largely ignoring the crisis, according to
Stephen Lewis, the former UN special envoy on AIDS in Africa.
Unlike the humanitarian disaster in Sudan's Darfur province,
which has attracted the attention of the UN and various
celebrities, little attention is being paid to Congo, where
militia are carrying out rape, torture, and murder on a broad
"The entire world is preoccupied with Darfur, understandably.
But it must be said that between ten and twenty times the
number of people have died in the eastern Congo as have died
in Darfur. There are more displaced persons in the eastern
Congo than in Darfur. Darfur has been going on for four years;
the eastern Congo has been ravaged for ten," said Lewis, who
heads his own foundation aimed at fighting AIDS in Africa and
who recently returned from the region. John Holmes, the UN's
emergency relief coordinator, voiced similar concerns after
returning from Congo.
The world's leaders, most of them men, have displayed a
"spectacular lack of energy" in response to the plight of
females in Congo, Lewis said. He called on UN Secretary-
General Ban Ki-Moon to press the International Criminal Court
to declare rape a crime against humanity and to indict
suspected rapists on war crimes charges. Fighting between
government forces and militias has driven tens of thousands of
people from eastern Congo, leading some analysts to fear the
country is on the eve of a new civil war.