Ben Affleck and Rep. Adam Smith discuss renewed violence in Central Africa.
NY Times: “Recent reports of women being coerced into late-term abortions by local officials have thrust China’s population control policy into the spotlight and ignited an outcry among policy advisers and scholars who are seeking to push central officials to fundamentally change or repeal a law that penalizes families for having more than one child.”
Ben Affleck: “In Congo, the numbers are still grim. With just 1% of the global population, Congo is responsible for over 6% of global under-five mortality. According to USAID, 148 out of 1000 DRC children will not reach five years. This is the 5th highest under-five mortality rate in the world. Thus, Congo faces daunting challenges and has to negotiate colossal hurdles to save these children and provide them a hopeful future.
These children’s lives are further endangered today as Congo’s North Kivu province is yet again grappling with a rebellion that has displaced an estimated 200,000 Congolese internally and outside the country. In this conflict, which has indirectly killed millions of people since 1998, women and children bear the brunt of the atrocities and human rights violations. Boys and girls are abducted to serve either as fighters or sex slaves. Families that survive the fighting often face hunger, malnutrition and diseases, which reduce children’s survival prospects and deny them the potential of a promising life.”
Economist: “In the photographs the young mother lies on a clinic bed, her hair obscuring her face. She appears as inert as the baby lying beside her. But 23-year-old Feng Jianmei is still alive, whereas her baby girl is not. The baby was killed while still in the womb by an injection arranged by local family-planning officials. They restrained Ms Feng, who was seven months pregnant, and then induced her to give birth to the dead baby.
Even three years ago, Ms Feng’s suffering might have gone unnoticed outside the remote village in the north-western province of Shaanxi where she lives—just another statistic in China’s family-planning programme. But her relatives uploaded the graphic pictures onto the internet, and soon microblogs had flashed them to millions of people across the country. Chinese citizens expressed their outrage online. It is not just the treatment of Ms Feng that they deplore. It is the one-child policy itself.”
AFP: “Graphic images posted online showing the bloody corpse of a baby whose mother was allegedly forced to terminate her pregnancy at seven months have caused an uproar in China.
Rights groups say authorities in north China’s Shaanxi province forced Feng Jianmei to abort her pregnancy on June 2 because she was unable to pay a 40,000 yuan ($6,270) fine for exceeding China’s “one-child” population control policy.”
Nicholas Kristof: “Once again, in Sudan there are starving children, tens of thousands of refugees, rapes and racial epithets, a spiraling death toll and passivity in the White House.”
Nicholas Kristof: “Perhaps hundreds of thousands of people here have no food and are reduced to eating leaves and insects, as Sudan’s government starves and bombs its own people in the Nuba Mountains. Children are beginning to die.”
Margot Wallström: “Impunity reigns in the region as most perpetrators of sexual violence acts continue to walk unpunished without any repercussions for their crimes. The absence of justice has long-lasting effects on the whole society and is an impediment to restoring peace and security in the region.
However, the initial steps toward holding perpetrators accountable are encouraging. In less than a year, more than 250 trials of elements of national security forces were held with the assistance of the United Nations. In February 2011, a military court in Baraka handed down a landmark verdict that found Lt. Col. Kibibi Mutware guilty of crimes against humanity including rape. This shows that accountability for sexual violence in Congo is possible.”
Washington Post: “In the course of our investigation, I saw starving and emaciated children who, because of their disabilities, were unable to feed themselves and were frequently left unfed. I was told by staff that when many of these children became ill, they were no longer bathed or taken out of their cribs, denied medical care and left to die.”