Catholic Appeal for Peace

Caritas Internationalis (the official aid agency of the Catholic Church worldwide) is appealing for peace in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to end the suffering of the people and to allow the aid agency to provide aid.

Around 250,000 civilians have fled their homes in North Kivu since a January peace deal collapsed in August. Nearly 850,000 had been displaced in the previous two years. More than 5 000 000 (five million) people have died in the Congo over the past decade or so as a result of conflict.

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Even before the current escalation the situation in the DRC was horrific as the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund reported

A new SCIAF report highlights the shocking scale of rape and sexual abuse in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and calls on the UK government to step up its efforts to end the horror and increase desperately needed care for survivors.

The report highlights that sexual violence and other human rights abuses in Eastern DRC ruin countless lives and threaten the peace and security of the troubled region. …

The DRC is considered to have the largest incidence of rape world-wide. In the conflict ridden east of the country, just one province - South Kivu – with a population a third of the size of Scotland - saw 4,066 cases of sexual violence reported from January to March alone. This compares to 1,123 cases of rape or attempted rape reported in Scotland in 2006-7.

The brutality of the attacks mean many victims die as a result of their injuries whilst others contract HIV/AIDS or have their reproductive systems damaged. Rape survivors often have to walk for miles to reach the nearest hospital or rural health centre but most local services are unable to cope.

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