19/09/2019 Stronger actions needed in prosecuting perpetrators of sexual violence crimes in the DRC

Stronger actions needed in prosecuting perpetrators of sexual violence crimes in the DRC

19/09/2019

The Right Livelihood Foundation delivered a statement during the 42nd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. We emphasised that it is vital that prosecutions of perpetrators of sexual violence crimes are taking place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At the moment the process of justice for the victims is slow and nonfunctional. Read the full Oral Statement below: 

The Right Livelihood Award Foundation, the Dr. Mukwege Foundation, the Lutheran World Federation, the Panzi Foundation and the Survivor Movement in DRC, welcome that DRC accepted recommendations to prosecute perpetrators of sexual violence crimes, and to put in place appropriate mechanisms of transitional justice.

However, we remain deeply concerned at the wide and systematic use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war. In 2019, Panzi hospital has treated 940 victims of brutal sexual violence, including gang rape, rape of infants, mass rape, and sexual slavery. 33% of these victims are children.

We regret that progress in bringing perpetrators to justice is slow and impunity remains the norm. As long as the climate of impunity prevails, cycles of sexual violence will continue. Furthermore, while the right to reparation is recognised within Congolese law, the absence of an effective reparations program denies victims any form of compensation and acknowledgement.

Almost a decade since the publication of the 2010 DRC UN Mapping report, which listed 617 international crimes committed in the DRC between 1993 and 2003, the time has come to implement its recommendations: the establishment of an international criminal court or mixed specialised chambers, and a Truth Commission. We also urge institutional reform within the DRC and the provision of reparations to survivors of sexual violence and affected communities.

With continued mistreatment of the victims and the total disregard for their dignity, there will be no lasting peace.