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A ten-year-old girl, who was raped twice in ten days, leans against a wall while waiting to be admitted to a clinic in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 24 November 2008. Photo credit: AFP Photo/Roberto Schmidt

Cover Story

Out of the shadows

Recent atrocities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have once again brought the issue of sexual and gender-based violence in conflict to the fore. But wide-scale rape and sexual violence are not unique to the DRC or to conflict zones. Iolanda Jaquemet examines the humanitarian response.

Natural disaster
The case for disaster law
When an earthquake rocked Pisco, Peru in 2007, the Peruvian Red Cross and international aid groups responded in force, providing generous amounts of much-needed aid. But both the immediate emergency response and the long-term recovery have been hampered by gaps in the laws and regulations that deal with disaster response. Lima-based reporter Tyler Bridges reports on efforts in Peru and around the world to improve the laws that impact international disaster response.

Focus
Volunteers through time
Volunteers have always been at the heart of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. This series of dramatic photos reveals seldom-seen images from Movement archives of volunteers in action around the world.

Volunteer values
The year of volunteer management
During the tenth anniversary of the Year of the Volunteer, author, blogger and humanitarian watchdog Saundra Schimmelpfennig says our focus shouldn’t be on competing for new volunteers. Rather, she argues, National Societies need to better manage and retain the volunteers they already have.

Beneficiary communications
Getting the message
One year after the Haiti earthquake, freelance journalist Amy Serafin rides along on sound trucks, talks to telecom officials and goes tent-to-tent with volunteers to witness first-hand how the Movement get its message out — and listens to beneficiaries — during an emergency.

Guest editorial  
Everybody's issue
by
Lina Abirafeh

Humanitarianism
Does relief prolong war?
Aid workers have long debated whether relief during wartime can be misused to fuel or prolong conflict. To better understand these difficult questions, RCRC magazine speaks with two authors: Dutch journalist Linda Polman, whose 2009 book War Games was recently re-published for the US market; and Fiona Terry, who raised these issues in 2002 in her book Condemned to Repeat, the Paradox of Humanitarian Action.

Natural Disaster
A Society’s greatest test
The earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan’s northeastern coast in March has been called Japan’s greatest post-Second World War crisis. A central part of the country’s health-care and emergency relief services, the robust and highly capable Japanese Red Cross faces one of its greatest tests.

In Brief
A summary of Red Cross and Red Crescent activities around the world.

Resources
Resources available from IFRC and ICRC, among others, include The value of volunteers, Assessing Haiti one year later, HIV/AIDS and Harm Reduction and various new materials on Restoring Family Links.

Back cover
A classic volunteer poster from the Japan Red Cross Society.

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