Hollywood Movie Star and Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Children's Fund, Mia Farrow, is appealing for an end to the rapes, torture and murder of women and children in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Farrow, who has just returned from a three-day visit to North Kivu Province, is urging the international community to provide protection for the victims and work to end the violence.
As UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Hollywood actress Mia Farrow has visited dispossessed people in places such as the Central African Republic, Chad, Haiti and Sudan. But, she says the situation in North Kivu Province, in the eastern part of DRC is one of the worst she has ever encountered in her life.
She says 20 percent of the population is displaced. She says multiple armed groups go on murderous, barbaric rampages. She says people, some as young as one, are raped in their own homes. She says they are tortured, mutilated, murdered and abducted. She says no one is safe.
"People cannot farm or access their land. There is no way to get food. Shipments of supplies are disrupted. Kids cannot go to school for fear of being abducted or raped or taken into armed groups or used as sex slaves. Traumatized people who have nowhere to go are living in churches, in schools and in the forest without any shelter," she said.
Farrow says people are constantly on the move. Some have been displaced 10 times.
Intense fighting erupted between the Congolese government and troops loyal to renegade leader, Laurent Nkunda in August. The United Nations estimates more than one-quarter of a million people have been displaced since then, bringing the total number of displaced in North Kivu to well over one million.
Farrow says she talked to many traumatized women who told wrenching stories about being savagely raped. She says one woman said soldiers came to her camp every afternoon to rape women and girls.
The UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador says she saw parents carrying children who were dying of starvation and disease. She says she saw children suffering from acute malnutrition. She says the few hospitals that are still functioning are overstretched.
She says the women she met all said what they most want is protection. That what they need is for the violence to end.
"One woman, who fled her home, told me we are terrified of the military groups. We are all scared. To you who have the means, please tell the world we need protection. We need peace. Those who are fighting must be made to stop. Those who support them should be made to stop. We have been waiting for protection, but no one is coming," added Farrow.
Farrow says all the armed groups are committing gross atrocities. She says they must be held accountable.