The Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) and Action against Impunity for Human Rights (ACIDH) wish to express their deep concern on the atmosphere of impunity which reigns after the rape of 126 women which occurred in Minova in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
An investigation by the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) revealed that 126 women were victims of rape by soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC). These rapes were committed in November 2012 in Minova, while the FARDC were leaving Goma after the invasion of M23 rebels. The UN investigation has also designated two FARDC battalions as perpetrators of crimes against women. As of March 2013, according to the UN, only two soldiers were arrested for the multiple rapes. MONUSCO, by way of ultimatum and other means, is putting pressure on the Congolese government to punish all those responsible for these serious crimes. The Congolese authorities have promised that all the soldiers who are found guilty of these rapes will be punished.
Apart from this case, more than 200,000 people have been victims of rape in the DRC since 1998 and the rape of women is used as a weapon of war. Such a situation is not only alarming but also unacceptable all the more that justice is not rendered properly.
IHRDA and ACIDH wish to recall that the international context marked by the need to make every effort to stop violence against women as reflected in the theme for the International Women’s Day on 8 March 2013: “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women”.
Furthermore, recalling that the DRC ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women on 09/06/2008, IHRDA and ACIDH call on the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) to:
– Make an urgent statement through the Special Rapporteur on the rights of women to encourage and urge the Congolese government to promptly prosecute all those responsible for rape;
– Urge the Congolese government to undertake any necessary investigation and to create a climate of confidence which will enable all the hidden victims, to denounce and report the facts without fear.
– To monitor the implementation of commitments by the Congolese State to prosecute those responsible for 126 rapes and to ensure that the victims receive reparations;
– To undertake pursuant to Article 45.1.c. of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, any joint action with the Special Representative of the UN responsible for the issue of sexual violence in conflict and other appropriate entity to stop rapes and other attacks on the integrity of women in the DRC.
IHRDA and ACIDH are convinced that the Commission’s action is crucial for the DRC to stop being considered as the “capital of rape” as some call it.
 Violence against Women in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo: What responsibilities, What Complicity, available on http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/ituc_violence_rdc_fr_lr.pdf