14 April 2008 The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the global movement to end violence against women and girls known as V-Day have launched a new partnership to end rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and ensure justice for the victims of this heinous crime.
The new partnership was announced by UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman and playwright and V-Day founder Eve Ensler on Saturday during V-Day’s tenth anniversary celebrations in the United States city of New Orleans.
“The goal of the campaign, Stop Raping Our Greatest Resource, Power to The Women and Girls of Democratic Republic of Congo is to stop the rape, empower women and girls and end impunity for these atrocious crimes,” said Ms. Veneman.
Hundreds of thousands of women and children, aged six months to 80 years of age, have been sexually assaulted in the DRC, where rape has been used as a weapon of war for years.
Ms. Veneman, who met with several rape survivors during a visit to the vast Great Lakes nation in 2006, noted that “these women’s lives have been profoundly marked by acts of brutality.
“It is urgent that we work together to put a stop to these inhumane acts of violence,” she stressed.
The agency, in partnership with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), is assisting thousands of women and girls in the DRC who have been assaulted and raped.
To date, the V-Day movement has raised over $50 million and educated millions about the issue of violence against women and the efforts to end the scourge. Among its many activities, it has reopened shelters and funded over 5,000 community-based anti-violence programmes and safe houses in places such as DRC, Haiti and Iraq.
The partnership between UNICEF and V-Day is just one of several UN initiatives to help women in the DRC who are victims of sexual violence. Last month, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) teamed up with civil society groups, NGOs and the Government to launch a nationwide public awareness campaign aimed at reducing the country’s appalling levels of sexual violence.
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