Sexual Violence Report on Democratic Republic of Congo

The problem of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo is well documented, and by any standards horrendous. Concerted action to counter it is clearly needed. Many different factors play a role in the perpetuation of the crisis, including on the broadest level the ongoing insecurity in the east and the need to develop a more properly functioning Congolese state. But for many observers, the core underlying issue is one of impunity. Without the ability to hold perpetrators to account and assert the rule of law, sexual violence will continue even if fighting does not. Achieving these aims is to a good degree a matter of developing and reforming the institutions of the justice and security sectors, but to do so will require considerable political will and a coordinated effort on all sides.

The APPG, in conjunction with the Swedish Foundation on Human Rights, has produced a major new report on violence against women in the Congo, with recommendations for action for the congolese government and the international community. Key among a wide range of potetntial measures to address the problem are better coordination, better investment in supporting and reforming the institutions of the justice sector, and stronger political will. A PDF copy can be downloaded by clicking here.

This report is the result of an international mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) over eight days in April-May 2008, organised by the Swedish Foundation for Human Rights in conjunction with the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on the Great Lakes of Africa. The mission had as objective to explore the issue of impunity for sexual violence in eastern Congo (and to identify potential responses) with responsible legal and political figures, non-governmental organisations and representatives of the international community. The mission was led for the APPG by Lord Jonathan Mance, a member of the House of Lords and a UK Supreme Court judge, whose expertise and experience contributed greatly to the substance of the report. A launch event will take place later in November.



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