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Congo (DRC): “Soldiers Who Rape, Commanders Who Condone” (HRW report)

Human Rights Watch publicou a semana pasada un informe sobre a violencia sexual na República Democrática do Congo (ex Zaire), centrado nas violacións perpetradas por soldados e mantidas na impunidade polos oficiais ó mando. O informe leva por título “Soldiers Who Rape, Commanders Who Condone: Sexual Violence and Military Reform in the Democratic Republic of Congo”. Copio un extracto da súa introducción:

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, tens of thousands of women and girls have suffered horrific acts of sexual violence. The government army, the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC), is one of the main perpetrators, contributing to the current climate of insecurity and impunity in eastern Congo. FARDC soldiers have committed gang rapes, rapes leading to injury and death, and abductions of girls and women. Their crimes are serious violations of international humanitarian law. Commanders have frequently failed to stop sexual violence and may themselves be guilty of war crimes or crimes against humanity as a consequence. Although other armed groups also commit brutal acts of sexual violence against women and girls, the sheer size of the Congolese army and its deployment throughout the country make it the single largest group of perpetrators.

The destructive long-term physical, psychological, and social effects of sexual violence on the victims cannot be underestimated. The situation is particularly bad for girls, who are at risk of serious injuries after rape, and whose health is at risk if they get pregnant. Their future is often compromised as they have difficulty finding a partner, drop out of school, are rejected by their own family, or have to raise a child born from rape while still being a child themselves.

This report looks at abuses of sexual violence committed by the FARDC, efforts to stop it, and why such efforts have failed so far. More specifically, the report looks at the 14th brigade as an example of the wider problem of impunity. Since its creation in 2006, this brigade has committed many crimes of sexual violence in different areas of North and South Kivu in eastern Congo. It has also been responsible for abductions, killings, torture, looting and extortion. Without sufficient food or pay, soldiers have attacked the civilian population to loot and extort goods.

Abuses against civilians peaked when the brigade was cantoned with almost no provisions in Kabare, South Kivu between January and August 2008. Officially, since March 2009 the 14th brigade has ceased to exist when it was amalgamated with combatants from other armed groups into two new brigades-a process that saw former armed opposition units assimilated into the FARDC without any vetting and only limited training. The command structures of the 14th brigade provide the backbone of some units, and many Congolese, including soldiers, still refer to former 14th brigade troops as the 14th brigade. Sexual violence by them has continued to the present. Many of the soldiers from newly integrated armed opposition groups have also committed acts of sexual violence. […]

23 Xullo 2009 - Posted by | Congo (DRC), Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Politics

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