Congolese Rebels Rape 240 Women in ‘Rape Capital of the World’
September 2, 2010
(ChattahBox)—It doesn’t get any worse than this. Beginning on July 30 and continuing for four-days, as many as 240 women, girls and babies were savagely raped by armed Congolese rebels, according to the United Nations. Many of the rapes occurred in front of family members, in 13 remote villages in the war-torn country of the Democratic Republic of Congo. UN peacekeepers were not informed of the atrocities until after the rebels left, prompting the UN Security Council to convene an emergency meeting. The DRC is known as the rape capital of the world, with more than 9,000 cases of rape reported last year in just the North and South Kivu provinces, according to a UN Population Fund report.
With UN peacekeepers stationed just 20-miles away, Congolese rebels conducted their campaign of terror. The UN did not learn of the rapes, until 10-days later. The rebels blocked off the roads of the villages, preventing residents from leaving and outsiders from entering.
BBC News reports on the atrocities:
Some of the women report being abused by several men in front of their husbands and children.
The DR Congo conflict has become notorious for the sexual abuse of women and girls – one UN envoy called it the “rape capital of the world” earlier this year.
Eastern DR Congo is still plagued by army and militia violence despite the end of the country’s five-year war in 2003.
UN News reports on the steps UN peacekeepers will implement to prevent the sexual assaults of Congolese women:
Margot Wallström, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict, told reporters today that these latest atrocities reinforce that “you cannot have a policy of zero tolerance backed by zero consequences.” [...]
Although it is “simply not realistic” for peacekeepers to protect all women in the war-torn eastern DRC, she said the world body is looking into new ways and measures to enhance policies already in place, including early warning systems, distress call programmes and market patrols.
Ms. Wallström also said a senior member of her staff is currently in the ground with a team led by Assistant Secretary-General Atul Khare from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), who was dispatched to the area last week by Mr. Ban.
Photo Source: Photo by Ellyn W. Ogden, MPH, USAID