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

Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor

South West

Diocese of Exeter DIOCESAN SAFEGUARDING ADVISOR Full time (36.25 hours per week) Salary £38-40k Dependent on Experience  We are seeking a dynamic and committed Safeguarding Advisor for the Dio...  Read More

Signup for job alerts
Top feature

Rehabilitating the ‘D’ word

Rehabilitating the ‘D’ word

‘Discipleship’ has been much maligned of late. In a new book, Rowan Williams explains why it’s important, and what it involves  Subscribe to read more

Top comment

Embodying love and hope

Health-care chaplains are called to represent values from a place of vulnerability and equality, argues Jeremy Pemberton  Read More

Thu 25 Aug 16 @ 16:02
In tomorrow's Church Times: Olympic spirit, climste change, and inspiration from Broadway https://t.co/RE30XOPvVj https://t.co/D8HMf0cPle

Thu 25 Aug 16 @ 15:35
Plus make sure you visit #gbooks for the Church Times Guide to Greenbelt, this Friday's paper & a very special offer for new readers #gb16