August 11th, 2009
09:26 AM ET
12 years ago

Clinton travels to heart of conflict in eastern Africa

(CNN) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveled to the epicenter of Africa's longest war Tuesday to try to help victims, especially those of sexual violence, of a regional conflict that's dragged on more than a decade.

She delivered a blunt message to Prime Minister Adolphe Muzito of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday when he hosted a dinner in her honor.

"There must be an end to widespread financial corruption and abuses of human rights and women's rights," she said. "There must be an improvement in governance and the respect for the rule of law."

She also called for "changes in the business climate, changes in the rules and regulations that involve contracts and the protection of property" in order to promote foreign investment.

On Tuesday, she offered help to the country's president, Joseph Kabila.

"I offered and the president accepted my sending of legal and financial and other technical experts to the DRC to provide specific suggestions about how to overcome these very serious obstacles to the potential of this country," she said, according to a pool report from Goma, in the east of the country.

Clinton took a small U.N. plane on the 1,000-mile trip from Kinshasa to Goma, the scene of intense fighting over the past several years.

The smaller aircraft was necessary because the U.S. plane being used on her seven-nation Africa trip is too big for the local landing strip, Clinton told reporters Monday.

The secretary is due to visit U.N. peacekeepers in Goma, and is also expected to take part in a roundtable discussion with victims of sexual and gender-based violence in the country.

The Congo conflict has involved several countries and resulted in an estimated 5 million deaths from fighting and collateral problems such as disease and starvation, according to an International Rescue Committee survey conducted more than a year ago. In addition, tens of thousands of women have been raped in the ongoing regional strife stoked by competition for mineral riches.

"I will be pressing very hard for not just assistance to help those who are being abused and mistreated, in particular the women who are turned into weapons of war through the rape they experience, but also looking for ways to try to end this conflict," Clinton said.

She opened her Africa trip in Nairobi, Kenya, then went to South Africa and Angola. After Congo, she will travel to Nigeria, Liberia and Cape Verde.

The Obama administration is using Clinton's tour to promote development and good governance and underscore the president's commitment to Africa.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I honestly believe the hotbed of violence rest in Somalia. For more than a decade Somalia has been increasingly a growing threat. They're harboring terrorists and are also the pirates hijacking ships. They are a clear and present danger to the U.S. and our allies.

    August 11, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  2. dominican mama 4 Obama

    There must be an end to widespread financial corruption and abuses of human rights and women's rights," she said. "There must be an improvement in governance and the respect for the rule of law."

    I could not agree with you more Hillary, and I am gratified to see that the Obama administration is backing you up by supporting your suggestions to improve said. Let me however add, that this task must be addressed here at home, just as aggressively as it is abroad. Corruption, abuses of human rights, and a lack of respect for the rule of the law were CHERISHED trademarks of the Cheney administration (with a small supporting role by the Shrub). These "qualities" have defined our government for so many decades, now, that it has become the norm. Change is here, and those that profit from said corruption are fighting it tooth and nail.

    August 11, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  3. Obama=Trickle up Poverty

    2010 can't get here fast enough! Democrats are way too destructive to trust them with OUR hard earned money.

    August 11, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  4. dawn carvalho

    It is disgusting that Hilary's one comment gets all this attention, when the so admirable mission she is on gets zip. Oh I forgot!!!!!!! Those poor terrorized children there don't pay your salary and the american people are foolish enough to watch so called news programs and don't want to think about such atrocity–we might have to pay a little more for heathcare so everyone gets a chance ! Poor us!!

    August 11, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  5. Mississippi Mike

    Talk all you want Hillary, they want us to give them money and leave them alone. Cut of the money, food, clothing, and medicine our taxpayers are sending them (whether we want to or not) and see if they are still interested in hearing you lecture them about women's rights and ethics.

    August 11, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  6. Expat American

    Secretary of State Clinton's efforts to bring awareness to the Human Rights abuses (especially towards women) in the DRC is admirable.

    Many Americans don't realize or don't care that there is an entire world outside of the United States – a world where death, destruction and hopelessness is a daily occurrence; a world that is not all 'Me First', 'It's never my fault', Bridezillas, Obesity and Big Macs.

    August 11, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  7. rachel

    Good Job Hill, don't let them side track you. She will be meeting with rape victims also. Its about time CNN you started reporting on real news, instead of tabloid crap.

    August 11, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  8. Sam Sixpack

    She is really there to get pointers on how we should run our healthcare-for-the-masses system.

    August 11, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  9. Alicia

    I feel that considering where she was at, a male dominant country, she was as defensive as anyone would have been that I know.

    I think she is an intelligent woman doing an awesome job. I feel good knowing that Hillary Clinton is the Secretary of State.

    I did vote for President Obama, but it was nice knowing that either person getting the nomination was bright and hard working.

    August 11, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. Sam Sixpack

    What we really want to know is: what does Bill Clinton think about it?

    August 11, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |