From the grassroots women leaders of Congo to the women leaders of the White House
  • Petitioned Michelle Obama

This petition was delivered to:

First Lady of the United States
Michelle Obama
National Security Advisor
Susan Rice
The White House
Secretary Hillary Clinton
The White House
Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett

From the grassroots women leaders of Congo to the women leaders of the White House

    1. Neema Namadamu
    2. Petition by

      Neema Namadamu

      Bukavu, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the

  1.  
  2.   
February 2014

Victory

Neema Namadamu: With our Petition gaining over 100,000 signatures worldwide, we were given an audience at the White House to present the Petition to President Obama’s National Security Council on January 29, 2013. On June 18, 2013, Senator Russ Feingold was appointed as Special Envoy to DRC and Great Lakes Region.

“We have had enough. We call upon our global sisterhood to take action. We will not be quiet until REAL Peace is upon us.”

On November 20, 2012, M23 rebels seized Goma, a major city in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, reigniting a war that has ravaged the region for 16 years. Neema Namadamu and a group of grassroots women leaders who call themselves the Maman Shujaa ('Hero Women' in Swahili) are calling on you and US woman leaders Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, Valerie Jarrett, and Michelle Obama to take immediate action in solidarity with the women of the Congo.

I was born in a very remote village in South Kivu Province, eastern Congo. I belong to a marginalized tribe and I am crippled from Polio. But none of those things characterize me. I have a vision for my country—a new and peaceful Congo—that compels me, and its destiny is driving me.

War has ravaged my homeland for 16 years. Today, eastern Congo is labeled the worst place on earth to be a woman. We have been brutalized by our brothers who perpetrate violence on the bodies of their sisters, daughters, and mothers in the worst imaginable ways.  A woman is 134 times more likely to be raped in my region than a woman in the United States. Several months ago, soldiers indiscriminately beat my own daughter.

Congo is home to the second largest rain forest in the world, behind Brazil, and 60% of all Africa’s forests. It has enough hydropower potential to power all of Africa. It has an estimated 24 trillion dollars of mineral wealth, far greater un-monetized wealth than any other nation in the world. But the mothers of its children live in poverty, in fear of being raped, daily losing their sons and husbands to endless wars. We are brutalized in unconscionable ways by monsters wearing military uniforms. We are tired of this. We have had enough.

We know that we can create peaceful, sustainable communities in Congo through a holistic new model that ends violence, poverty, and the destruction of nature altogether.

This July I set up a women’s internet café and media center and gathered grassroots women leaders across my region to discuss the future of our country. Within two months we had nearly 200 women activists reporting about life in war-torn DRC through the action media network World Pulse. We began speaking out—demanding the Congo we hold in our hearts to manifest all around us. As women, our solutions are inclusive, as they are rooted in family and community.

But last week rebels took hold of Goma, inflicting more horrors upon its women and children—even pregnant women—and threatened to advance to our area. The region has been destabilized by this deadly power play and 140,000 people have been displaced. 

We as women must join together now because WE CAN. Even in remote Congo we have become connected to our global sisterhood. We who are One with the 35 million+ women of the DRC, who are One with the 3.5 billion+ women of the world, are standing for an end to all violence and aggression in Eastern DRC. We will not be quiet until real peace is upon us.  

We, the grassroots women leaders of eastern DRC, call upon our female counterparts in the White House—our sisters Secretary Hillary Clinton, Ambassador Susan Rice, Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett, and First Lady Michelle Obama—to speak with your President on our behalf and ensure a true peace process begins in our homeland.

We ask for the immediate appointment of a special presidential envoy to work with the African Union and United Nations to forge a peace process that addresses both the immediate crisis and the underlying longer-term economic and political interests of the parties involved. Only through a mediation of this level can we hope to establish resolution among the numerous states, rebel armies, and special interests who have long fueled this conflict and humanitarian crisis.

And, it is essential that any action ensures Congolese women—who are uniquely positioned to act on behalf of family and community—have a voice in the peace process and a seat at the table.

STAND WITH US!

Sincerely,

Neema Namadamu and the Maman Shujaa (‘Hero Women’) of the Democratic Republic of Congo

 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Actress Robin Wright in Politico: US Must Act on Congo

      Shelby Knox
      Senior Campaigner

      In an op-ed on Politico, actress Robin Wright and the Enough Project's JD Stier outline the situation as it stands in Congo -- and the role a US Presidential Envoy to Congo could help bring peace to the region.

      Opinion: U.S. must act on Congo now - Robin Wright and JD Stier

      On March 18, one of the world’s worst warlords, Bosco Ntaganda, turned himself in to the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda. Ntaganda, also known as “The Terminator,” is the leader of several brutal armed groups and army units, including the M23, that have terrorized eastern Congo for over a decade.

    2. Reached 100,000 signatures

    Supporters

    @WomenUndrSiege

    Nov 30, 2012

    From our @StopRapeCmpgn at @WorldPulse: Petition from grassroots women leaders of #DRC to the White House https://t.co/s62LlzM8

    Women Under Siege
    10.5k followers

    @10x10act

    Dec 05, 2012

    RT @WorldPulse Wonder if a petition can make a difference? Your voice gives hope to women in war-ravaged Congo. [cont.] http://t.co/j4FrcWcN

    10x10
    6.56k followers

    @GreenBeltMovmnt

    Nov 30, 2012

    Sisters- show your solidarity with the women of the #Congo. Help end their suffering and call for support from US https://t.co/6ZGrw9sx

    Green Belt Movement
    3.48k followers

    @VDay

    Nov 29, 2012

    RT@changeWomen Grassroots women of Congo appeal 2 women White House leaders to support peace process in #DRC.Sign on http://t.co/leBwwe6H

    V-Day
    12.3k followers

    @eveensler

    Nov 29, 2012

    RT@changeWomen Grassroots women of Congo appeal 2 women White House leaders to support a peace process in #DRC.Sign on http://t.co/w5jKHsGO

    Eve Ensler
    19.5k followers

    Reasons for signing

    • Lloyd Cox BERKELEY, CA
      • 5 months ago

      The real problem is the country's political and economical welfare. When the majority of the people are struggling to survive and live in extreme poverty, physical and emotional abuse within that society, is inevitable.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Donna McKee LEDERACH, PA
      • 5 months ago

      This barbaric brutality that puts profits over people must stop! Appoint a special envoy to the African Union and U.N. to hammer out a real peace process that includes Congolese women and gives them a 'seat at the table'. Not only the immediate crisis must be resolved, but the long-term economic and political interests of the people of Congo must be seriously and adequately addressed. Countries like the DRC and its people must no longer be brutally exploited, raped, killed and driven off their ancestral lands by the extractive industries, aka 'Big Mining'.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Michael Evans LINCOLN, NE
      • 5 months ago

      Conflict in Africa and especially Central Africa must be resolved because the majority of the world's most valuable natural resource lie in this region of Africa.

      If conflict in Africa is allowed to continue, unabated, then the consequences to the future survival of this planet will be negative and everlasting.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • marilyn wogahn WALNUT, CA
      • 6 months ago

      human right to exist

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Ngozichi Omekara PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
      • 6 months ago

      When there is a war, the most vulnerable suffer the most. It is time for Congo start rebuilding. Women always raped in a wars.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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