New user? Register here:
Email Address:
Password:
Retype Password:
First Name:
Last Name:
Existing user? Login here:
 
 
World >

DRC children ‘affected for life’

by Paul Wilkinson

Posted: 17 Jan 2014 @ 12:22

SIMON RAWLES/WORLD VISION

Click to enlarge
Credit: SIMON RAWLES/WORLD VISION

ONE THIRD of children in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo will potentially suffer lifelong after-effects from the continuing violence in their country, an investigation by the Christian charity World Vision suggests.

The report No One To Turn To found that frequently suffering or seeing graphic and brutal violence could alter children's brain structure, increasing the risk of mental illness, and heart, liver, and lung disease in adulthood. Children who regularly witnessed vicious episodes believed them to be the norm. The report suggests that similar effects could be happening in other conflict zones such as Syria and the Central African Republic.

World Vision, which is active in the region, called on the DRC government and MONUSCO (the UN stabilisation mission in the DRC) to strengthen national child-protection systems, enforce an agreement ending the recruitment of child soldiers, ensure that no one escapes retribution for sexual violence and other violations of children's rights, and to implement plans to disarm and disband a variety of armed groups.

It also asked government and private donors to support child-protection systems, initiatives to end child recruitment, sexual violence, and child-rights violations, and to support projects promoting cross-border peace, stability, and economic integration.

Frances Charles, the advocacy manager for World Vision in eastern DRC, where more than 1.5 million people have fled their homes, said: "It's no surprise that this conflict is affecting children; but even we were shocked at the extent we found when we looked into it. It is heartbreaking.

"They usually witness unspeakable horrors, and have no home or family to turn to. We know how vital it is that they receive support, protection, and loving, caring relationships now so as to prevent permanent damage as they grow."

One 14-year-old, Laini, told the researchers: "I am always afraid since I was raped. Every time I hear a loud noise, like a plate dropping, it grabs my heart. I am always scared because there is always conflict."

Mapendo, who is 16, said: "I heard gunshots, and fled with my mother. I was ahead of my mum, and they killed her. Then, on the journey, two armed men raped me, and I became pregnant."

SIMON RAWLES/WORLD VISION

Click to enlarge
Credit: SIMON RAWLES/WORLD VISION

 

Job of the week

Chaplain

Wales

EVERYONE DESERVES THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A FRESH START WITH YOUR HELP THEY CAN Chaplain - Ecumenical (HMP Parc) HM Prison & YOI Parc, Bridgend £30,369.42 pa | Full-time (40 hours per w...  Read More

Signup for job alerts
Top feature

‘I hope that I will be proud of the next thing I write’

‘I hope that I will be proud of the next thing I write’

Jo Wroe talks to the writer and stand-up comic A. L. Kennedy, who will be making her Greenbelt debut this weekend  Subscribe to read more

Question of the week
Should the full synodical process for church legislation be retained?

To prevent multiple voting, we now ask readers to be logged in. This is free, quick and easy, honestly. Click here to login or register

Top comment

Exposed — the dangers of a group mentality

One year on, the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal reveals the risks of group norms, says Alan Billings  Read More

Sun 30 Aug 15 @ 14:30
Why does this former Conservative MP want to join the C of E's own version of parliament? http://t.co/zxGNPtHJZk http://t.co/JKbffYTxUM

Sun 30 Aug 15 @ 13:15
Love books? At #gb15? Test your knowledge at the gbooks book quiz! Tonight at 8pm in #gbooks @greenbelt http://t.co/lm9CtvZskC