Here at Oxfam we are following Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s tour of Africa closely. She seems to be tackling some of the tough issues: political violence in Kenya and democratic reforms and government accountability in Angola (which just became the largest oil producer in Africa, with an economic growth rate of 18 percent). Nor is Secretary Clinton is shying away from one of the continent’s worst crises: widespread gender violence in eastern Congo, where 600 civilians have been killed and thousands of others have been raped since January. For those who are following the situation, Marcel Stoessel, Oxfam’s director in the Democratic Republic of Congo, blogged about his first-hand experience in Congo. Colleagues here at Oxfam America shot a short video about gender violence in Congo that includes some striking testimonial from Congolese women.
Tomorrow is the 60th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, so the fact that the conflict in DR Congo is in the news seems fitting. It’s been 60 years since we set out to ensure that civilians would be protected from violence. If you want to know why the Geneva Conventions are still relevant today, think about life in the Congo—especially for women and girls.