skip navigation

UK Women Leaders Urge G20 to act in Congo (Times of London)

Originally published in:
Times of London

Tackling sexual terrorism in Congo
We must take steps to stop the war of violence against women in Congo

Sir, As concerned British women we wish to draw attention to what we believe is the most devastating and atrocious situation for women anywhere in the world.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has suffered through a 12-year economic war, where horrific sexual violence and torture have devastated the population of the eastern region.

This sexual terrorism is being used as a means of intimidating, fracturing and destroying communities. Women and girls live in daily fear of brutal rape, rejection and murder. Recent democratic progress in the region has been encouraging, yet while national armies no longer face off, militias and bandits representing local and, most worryingly, foreign economic interests continue to rape, torture and kill with impunity.

We wish recognise all the efforts of the UK Government, the international community and non-governmental organisations in the region to date, but it is now time for everyone involved to increase the level of commitment and take ever more meaningful steps to end the horror of this war of violence against women in Congo.

As part of our commitment to supporting V-Day - and Unicef’s global campaign to educate, advocate and take action under the “Stop Raping Our Greatest Resource: Power to the Women and Girls of the DRC” banner – we urge world leaders to put more political pressure on governments in the region to find a political solution and end the economic war; to provide resources to the DRC Government to assure both the rule of law and an end the culture of impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence; to insist that women be a central part of the peace making process and that their voices are heard.

Baroness Amos, Jenny Eclair, Glenys Kinnock MEP, Rula Lenska, Meera Syal, Sandi Toksvig, Zenna Atkins, Carol Bagnald, Maggie Baxter, Jana Bennett, Karren Brady, Fern Britton, Mary Creagh MP, Alex Darbyshire, Caroline Dudley-Williams, Marie-Claire Faray, Francine Fletcher, Jose Fonseca, Lynne Franks, Dwina Gibb, Rosie Hammond, Jane Hanson, Noreena Hertz, Lady Holmes, Gloria Hunniford, Oona King, Carol Lake, Tamsin Larby, Kathy Lette, Fiona Lloyd-Davies, Lyn Lusi, Seema Malhotra, Lady Malloch-Brown, Mary McPhail, Penny McDonald, Tanya Moodie, Baroness Morgan of Huyton, Shawna Moss, Dianne Nelmes, Thandie Newton, Lindsay Nicholson, Rachel Nicholson, Baroness Northover of Cissbury, Mica Paris, Eve Pollard, Gail Rebuck, Baroness Rendell of Babergh, Sam Roddick, Edina Ronay, Amanda Ross, Tessa Ross, Lady Sawers, Lucy Scarlett, Susan Schulman, Mary Soan, Janet Stahelin Edmondson, Trudie Styler, Stephanie Trotter, Natasha Walter, Sue Walton, Professor Alyson Warhurst, Karen Welman and Dr Jules Wright