Central Africa

The village of rape survivor Angeline Mwarusena continues to be threatened by militia.  Credit: Einberger/argum/EED/IPS

DR CONGO: No End to Mass Rapes: “It’s a Miserable Life”

Angeline Mwarusena, 61, sits on a small wooden bench in front of her hut, head bent, shoulders slumped. Her voice is barely audible. Four years ago, three soldiers from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) entered her home, hit her and raped her repeatedly. One after the other.

Years of war forced Passion, 13, to live on the street.  Credit: Einberger/argum/EED/IPS

DR CONGO: Lasting Effects of War Destroy Children’s Future

Five years into democracy, with the elections just a few weeks away, the majority of Congolese children continue to face a bleak future.

DR CONGO: Hard to Save All Women Suffering from Fistula

"Every quarter, more than a hundred women with fistulas - including many younger than 20 years old - are admitted for surgery in Maniema province," says nurse Julie Mawazo. "The number of affected women who don't have the means or awareness to come in must be far greater."

Defence lawyer Nick Kaufman (l) and Callixte Mbarushimana. Kaufman argues prosecutors have no evidence of his client

DR CONGO: Maintaining Victims’ Faith in Justice

Sometime in the next two months, activists and survivors of horrific violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo will find out if Callixte Mbarushimana will stand trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

A child walking through the Bangboka airport. Credit:  Gwen Dubourthoumieu/IRIN

Worrying Dysfunction in DR Congo Airports

Major operational shortcomings are behind the recent spate of crashes at airports around the Democratic Republic of Congo, raising questions about safety for aircraft and passengers in the central African country.

Just 22 percent of Congolese have access to safe drinking water. Credit:  Julien Harneis/Wikicommons

DR CONGO: Water Shortages Grip the Capital

In recent months, no one in the Congolese capital has been spared the effects of water shortages. Where spending entire days criss-crossing Kinshasa in search of water with battered containers in hand was previously the unhappy task of women and children, now men in suits have joined the fray.

RIGHTS-AFRICA: Rwandan Woman Sentenced to Life for Genocide

Rwanda’s former minister of family and women affairs and the only woman to be indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for genocide and rape, among other crimes.

DR CONGO: Publish All Mining, Oil and Forest Contracts

Civil society and the government are agreed: the Democratic Republic of Congo must make public the details of all mining, forestry and oil contracts.

Drying cassava: improved seed varieties and agricultural extension are boosting farmers

DR CONGO: Sowing the Seeds of Food Security in Bandundu

Subsistence farmers in the Democratic Republic of Congo's southwestern Bandundu Province are seeing their harvests double, thanks to an ambitious programme of support by the government.

Sunshine and Shadow in Rwanda’s Rural Housing Programme

The gleam of new corrugated iron sheets shimmers through the blue-green haze that veils Rwanda's rural valleys and hillsides. It is a visible sign of Rwanda’s metamorphosis from a nation devastated by genocide seventeen years ago to the fastest modernising state on the continent.

African Union Urges Libya Dialogue

The Libyan government has agreed to a range of proposals from the African Union at a high level meeting held in Addis Ababa Friday, including democratic reforms and talks with the rebels.

West African activists demonstrating at the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal, earlier this year. Credit: Isolda Agazzi/IPS

TRADE: African NGOs Oppose Human Rights Clause in EPAs

Part of the delay in the finalisation of the economic partnership agreements (EPAs) is due to the so-called non-execution clause that gives the EU the power to take steps against its African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) trading partners if they violate human rights, democracy and good governance principles.

Poster in Goma, eastern DRC, warning of the penalties for rape. Credit:  Roberto de Vido/IRIN

WOMEN’S DAY: DRC Mobile Court a Sign of Hope

Eleven soldiers found culpable in the rape of more than 50 women in the Congolese town of Fizi Centre in January, have begun serving lengthy sentences in the provincial capital, Bukavu. Their speedy trial and sentencing by a mobile court is a welcome sign of a new commitment to ending impunity for sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kikwit student Mave Kube studies by the light from a paraffin lamp. Credit:  Badylon K. Badiman

ENERGY-DR CONGO: Small Is Beautiful – And Electrifying

While discussion of hydroelectric power on the Congo River is dominated by the massive Grand Inga project and the dream of power for the entire continent, construction of a series of smaller dams to benefit local communities may produce tangible results much more quickly.

"Africa is not poor, but empoverished by Europe and its good pupils", according to demonstrators at the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal. Credit: Isolda Agazzi/IPS

TRADE: Civil Society Ensuring Development Stays on EPA Agenda

In an unusual move, West and Central African civil society organisations have participated in the negotiations between their countries and the European Union on the economic partnership agreements (EPAs). The organisations stress developmental concerns while assisting under-resourced African governments with trade expertise.

ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo Credit:

AFRICA: ICC Justice a Dream Deferred

The African Union Summit drew to a close today in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Among the headline decisions was the continental body's support for Kenya's planned request to defer prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of six suspects in post-election violence that claimed more than 1,200 lives in 2008.

Despite growing use of scarce remaining forests for fuel wood, Rwanda's forest cover is increasing. Credit:  Fanny Schertzer/Wikicommons

RWANDA: Forest Conservation Calls for Carrot and Stick

For years, the various campaigns for sustainable use of forests just passed Pascal Segatashya by. But Rwanda's ambitious Forest Conservation Project eventually found him - and it has transformed his life and livelihood.

An independent South Sudan could influence the geopolitics of the Nile River Basin and beyond. Credit:  Zack Baddorf/IPS

SOUTH SUDAN: Looking to the Future

The peaceful achievement of an independent South Sudan could have economic and security benefits for its East African neighbours in particular. Analysts say it may also shift the balance of power in controlling vital water resources in the region.

RIGHTS-DR CONGO: Soldiers Accused of Rape Arrested

The reported arrests of ten Congolese soldiers accused of looting stores and raping at least a dozen women in the Fizi District earlier in January is not enough to reassure local civil society.

Fish is an important source of protein in Congo. Credit:  Laudes Martial Mbon/IRIN

CONGO: Beninois Fishing Community Evicted

The Autonomous Port of Pointe-Noire has evicted 8,000 residents of a fishing village to make way for expanded facilities. The move is a blow to the community's livelihoods, as well as closing down the market that supplied the city's poor with affordable protein.

Malaria accounts for 20 percent of deaths of young children in Africa. Credit:  Julien Harnels/Wikicommons

AFRICA: Malaria Vaccine To Protect the Most Vulnerable

As nearly 25 years of development of a malaria vaccine come to fruition, health authorities across Africa will need to come to grips with how to effectively introduce it.

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