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Rape as a weapon of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The United Nations General Assembly convened in New York this week, and the reports from the summit focused on speeches from world’s leaders in attendance, including President Obama and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But there’s a story about the U.N. you may not have heard, and it’s one you need to know.

The news accounts of the story included this headline: U.N. “failed” rape victims in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the past few weeks that story was reported around the world — but got very little coverage in the United States. There is outrage over the U.N.’s report that it’s own forces did not stop more than 500 sexual assaults that occurred in Congo this summer.

In this extended web interview, Need to Know’s Alison Stewart talks with Anneke van Woudenberg, senior researcher on the Democratic Republic of Congo for Human Rights Watch, about the Congo mass rape. Van Woudenberg has worked in the DRC since 1999. She’s spent that time investigating humanitarian and human rights issues.  She provides regular reports to the U.N. as well as the U.S. Congress, and she has first-hand experience with the victims of — and witnesses to — these atrocities.