Protect and Empower Congo’s Women November 25, 2008

I received this email today and I wanted to post it for all to read.


Protect and Empower Congo’s Women November 25, 2008

Dear Racquel,

Today, November 25, marks the beginning of an international effort by activists to raise their voices and bring attention to the issue of gender-based violence and its damaging effects on women all over the world.  The effort begins today, which is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and culminates 16 days later on December 10, International Human Rights Day.  The “16 Days Campaign” originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991. Participants chose the dates, November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and December 10, International Human Rights Day, in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights. This year’s 16 Days Campaign is dedicated to celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and underscoring the idea that human rights cannot be universal without human rights for women.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where hundreds of thousands of women and girls are being raped and brutalized in a decade-old conflict, the rights of women are systematically trampled.  As women’s rights activist Immaculée Birhaheka described in this month’s RAISE Hope podcast, women are “treated as things” and the poverty of women is “organized by the society.”  Yet it is because of the brave activism of women like Immaculée that the women of Congo have hope for their future and for their country.

So over the next 16 days, we ask that you stand in solidarity with Immaculée and the thousands of Congolese women and girls fighting for a better future by recruiting 16 friends to join RAISE Hope for Congo and sign the petition to President-elect Obama asking him to take immediate action to end the violence against women and girls in the Congo. And then ask those 16 friends to recruit 16 of their friends. Because when thousands of voices become millions of voices demanding an end to the violence, our leaders will act.

Each day that goes by, countless more Congolese women and girls are raped and brutalized, and countless others remain vulnerable. We have no time to waste. Raise your voice now.


Candice Knezevic

RAISE Hope for Congo campaign manager, Enough Project

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