2008 - Addendum - Mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo
Sexual violence has been a defining feature of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s recent armed conflicts. Women, in areas of armed conflict, still suffer sexual violence committed by the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC), the Police nationale congolaise (PNC), armed groups and, increasingly, civilians. The situation is particularly dramatic in South Kivu, where non-State armed groups, including foreign militia, commit sexual atrocities that aim at the complete physical and psychological destruction of women with implications for the entire society. Given the multitude of actors involved in the conflict and the continuation of these crimes, the international community, in cooperation with the Congolese authorities, has a responsibility to take all necessary measures to ensure that women in South Kivu are protected. Sexual violence extends beyond eastern Congo. In Equateur Province, PNC and FARDC have carried out systematic reprisals against the civilian population, including mass rape. Soldiers and police who commit these acts amounting to crimes against humanity are rarely held accountable by the commanding officers. Some of the perpetrators have been given commanding positions in the State security forces, which further aggravates the situation. Impunity for rape is massive. Due to political interference and corruption, perpetrators, especially those who belong to the State security forces, go unpunished. The limited support made available to the overburdened justice system raises questions as to whether there is political will to end impunity.