Congo's Rape Crisis Showing No Progress

According to new U.N. estimates, Congo's rape crisis has not eased at all this year. An estimated 17,500 rapes occured last year, and now the nation's top U.N. envoy, Roger Meece, says about 15,000 have been raped in 2010 thus far—an "enormous" security problem. More shockingly, another envoy from the region claims that some of these crimes may have been perpetrated by government troops. Margot Wallstrom, a special representative on sexual violence in conflict, said U.N. peacekeepers had evidence suggesting abuses by soldiers took place, and urged a government investigation while briefing the Security Council on her visit to North Kivu province. Mass rapes were reported in July and August in the region, where rebels raped some 300 civilians and over 50 children in the Walikale region. The U.N. peacekeepers based just 20 miles away were criticized by many for not responding quickly enough to the attacks.