grassrootspeace.org

November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website, traprockpeace.org, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.

THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to PeaceJournal.org, a multimedia blog and resource center.

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DR Congo: Immediate Action Called For:

International Community must more adequately address ongoing human rights
atrocities and sexual violence by soldiers in DR Congo

For Immediate Release -- May 24, 2004

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): The international community must
immediately address ongoing conflict, military occupation, lawlessness, and
impunity for ongoing acts of genocide and crimes against humanity, including
widespread sexual violence, in DRC.

This press release calls on the international community in the strongest
of terms to address ongoing conflict and the climate of impunity and
lawlessness in the DRC, to demand governments and other warring parties to
order their soldiers to stop committing acts of genocide and crimes against
humanity, and to withdraw troops that remain in DRC in contravention of
international peace agreements.

It calls on the governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda,
Burundi and Uganda to immediately demand that all military leaders order
their troops to stop ongoing atrocities and sexual violence by their
respective forces, to investigate abuses and suspend or arrest those
responsible, and to desist from arming, or otherwise supporting, diverse
factions and militias serving as their proxy armies in DRC.

It urges in the strongest of terms that foreign governments with troops
in DRC -- and the DRC’s transitional government -- demand the immediate
release of women and girls who have been abducted and who remain captive
sexual slaves to government soldiers and affiliated militias, to arrest the
perpetrators, and investigate the complicity of military leaders and
government officials in condoning or participating in the widespread sexual
violence, including rapes, torture, disappearances and abductions of women
and girls.

The release wishes to call attention to reports about planned military
destabilization in DRC, reportedly led by Rwandan, Burundian and
Rwandan-backed RCD-Goma (Rassemblement Congolais pour la Democratie—Goma)
forces, in a new military alliance, Front for the Liberation for Eastern
Congo (Front de Liberacion de L’Est du Congo). It asks the international
community to prevent Rwandan, Burundian and Ugandan forces amassing on their
borders from incursions into DRC under the pretense of “defending national
security”.

This release calls on U.N. Organization Mission in DRC (MONUC) officials
to make public their knowledge about foreign troops in the DRC: estimates
indicate that at least 400, and perhaps as many as 4000, Rwandan Patriotic
Army (RPA) troops remain. It also calls on the international community to
investigate the role of MONUC troops in committing atrocities in DRC,
including (widely reported) rapes by MONUC soldiers.

Ongoing problems recently documented and/or reported by credible and
well-placed sources are listed below. While information from the DRC is
difficult to obtain or verify, these sporadic and arbitrarily documented
cases indicate a much higher and acute prevalence of ongoing problems,
particularly in the inaccessible rural areas.

NORTH & SOUTH KIVU: On approximately April 21, 2004 Rwandan government
troops (RPA) suffered a military defeat in eastern DRC after a failed
military operation -- in contravention of Rwanda’s signatory participation
in DRC peace accords -- against FDLR forces (Forces Democratique du
Liberation du Rwanda). Sources report that the FDLR routed the RPA, and that
RPA troops subsequently retaliated by destroying villages, killing,
torturing and raping non-combatant civilians. Reports indicate that
uniformed RPA officers have been seen by MONUC (and other observers)
commanding RCD-Goma troops in DRC.

EQUATEUR PROVINCE: Unidentified troops, and troops belonging to the
RCD-Goma faction, began occupying Equateur in April, reportedly on their way
for rendezvous and integration with DRC troops. Transient soldiers have been
emptying entire villages along the way, terrorizing local populations
already dehumanized by eight years of unrelenting war and inhumanity.
Eyewitnesses report both transients and resident DRC government soldiers of
the Forces Armee Congolaise (FAC) looting and destroying property;
confiscating and occupying homes and schools; conscripting and brutalizing
males for forced labor; and raping and abducting women and girls for
prolonged periods of sexual slavery. Atricities have been reported as recent
as May 15, 2004.

ITURI PROVINCE: The situation in Ituri remains unstable, with recurring
acts of genocide and crimes against humanity being perpetrated by
miscellaneous forces on their opposition ethnic groups, many of which have
been armed, supported and manipulated by the Ugandan People’s Defense Forces
(UPDF). The Mbuti pygmies continue to suffer the brunt of abuses from all
sides.

Numerous international human rights organizations and government bodies
have widely and repeatedly documented the atrocities in DRC. Due to the
severity of the abuses, the November 10, 2003 report by a U.N. expert
investigator called for a more committed international response. Because the
report described abuses that amount to genocide, crimes against humanity,
and war crimes, the international community has the obligation and
responsibility to intervene.

We are well aware of recent cases in DRC where local
authorities–challenged with upholding human decency and the rule of law–have
demonstrated their capacity to mitigate violence, identify and hold
perpetrators accountable, and locate missing or abducted men, women and
children. We are aware of cases where young girls taken captive by soldiers
were located and released after international relief workers met a
commanding officer on the family’s behalf. We believe that all governments
involved in DRC can therefore immediately mitigate the ongoing violence and
impunity and hold the perpetrators to account.

This release reiterates its call to the international community for
immediate action to more substantively and realistically address the ongoing
atrocities, general lawlessness and warfare in the DRC, which continues
amidst the prevailing attitudes, perceptions and media reportage (outside
DRC) of an unfolding peace, and irrespective of the potentially helpful --
but otherwise inadequate and problematic -- presence of forces of the United
Nations Organization Mission to the Congo (MONUC).

keith harmon snow
www.allthingspass.com
Help save girls' lives today!
Healthy Tomorrow
www.stopexcision.net

May 24, 2004 - page created by Charlie Jenks



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