Monday, August 10, 2009

Sec of State Clinton utters the words our government will not

Hillary Clinton is stepping up the U.S. push to deal with the situation in the Congo, following up on the US representative to the UN's comments last week. "Clinton to push Congo, UN on atrocities on women." And in a notable statement, Clinton is using the language of "impunity" to speak about the issue:
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the use of women as "weapons of war" in eastern Congo must stop and the government of Democratic Republic of Congo must do more to address the problem of rape.

Clinton arrived in the capital Kinshasa from neighbouring Angola for a two-day visit that will include a trip to Goma, capital of the violent North Kivu province which aid groups say is the most dangerous place on earth for women and children.

"It should be a mark of shame," said Clinton, who said women were being used as "weapons of war" in eastern Congo and that she would press Congo's government hard to do more to combat the atrocities and prosecute offenders.

"We have to speak out against impunity of those in positions of authority who either commit these crimes or condone them," she added in a speech to university students in Kinshasa. (emphasis added)
Canada, if you have been following, is no longer speaking out against impunity. Conservative political staffers are erasing "impunity" as terminology in our foreign policy positions on crises such as those in the Congo, representing a shrinking back from Canada's position of seeking justice/punishment for offenders through international bodies such as the International Criminal Court. ("In the new docket, the minister's office has removed the words "impunity" and "justice" when calling for an end to sexual violence in the DRC, and is instead calling only for efforts to "prevent" sexual violence.") Quite the striking contrast between Canada and the U.S. on the issue now.

Go Hillary. Unfortunately Canada is not there with her to provide similar leadership.