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Secretary of State Clinton also visited the Democratic Republic of Congo earlier this week. She was the highest ranking U.S. official ever to visit Goma. She traveled there to bring particular attention to the rape epidemic that has become a part of the civil conflict over the past nine years since Rwandan and Ugandan rebels fled to the Congo, after the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Since January alone, 600 civilian deaths have been reported, 800,000 people have fled from their homes, and thousands of girls and women have been reported to have been raped. Just about every party to the conflict has been implicated in these attacks, including Congolese soldiers who were deployed in the eastern part of the country to stop rebel attacks on civilians.

Secretary Clinton raised the issue with President Joseph Kabila, stressing that members of the army must be held accountable for their conduct. She also held an emotional meeting with survivors of rape and urged university students in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa to become part of a campaign against such abuses.

Secretary HILLARY CLINTON (Department of State): I hope that here in the DRC, there will be a concerted effort to demand justice for women who are violently attacked and to make sure that their attackers are punished. And I hope that students will take the lead in this to speak out because these are fundamental human rights.

MARTIN: Secretary Clinton announced that the U.S. will play an active role in fighting Congo's rape crisis with $17 million in new funding for medical care, counseling and economic assistance for victims.

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