Four days after the opening ceremony, a major conference aimed at restoring peace and stability in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) Kivu provinces finally got off the ground on Jan. 9 at the University of the Great Lakes in Goma, with the region’s humanitarian “catastrophe” topping the agenda. Civil wars that plagued the country between 1996 and 2003 and continuing clashes in North and South Kivu have, according to the minister of social and humanitarian affairs, led to the deaths of five million people, the internal displacement of six million, and the rape of half a million women. (IRIN)

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