News / Africa

UN Panel Calls for Fund to Help Rape Victims in DRC

A mass rape victim comforts her son in the town of Fizi, Congo, February 20, 2011
A mass rape victim comforts her son in the town of Fizi, Congo, February 20, 2011

A high-level panel on victims of sexual violence is calling for the establishment of a reparation fund for thousands of rape victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  A new United Nations report finds that rape victims suffer from stigmatization, lack of medical and psychological care and are given little or no access to justice.

The 55-page report finds victims of sexual violence in the DRC are victimized by those who rape them and by the society that spurns them because they have been violated.

The three members of a special high-level panel appointed by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights heard the testimonies of 61 survivors of sexual violence.  The victims range in age from three years to 61 years, including four male victims.  

During the course of a 17-day field visit, the panel went to seven locations in three different provinces in eastern DRC and to the capital, Kinshasa.  

U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang, a member of the panel, says the lives of the rape victims have been largely destroyed by their experiences.

“This victimization is compounded by the stigma they often face in families and communities.  Rejected by their husbands and socially ostracized,” Kang said. “Victims of sexual violence are left to fend for themselves, often living on the streets.  Their stigmatization is further compounded by fistula, pregnancy resulting from rape, and the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.”  

The victims repeatedly told the panel members that health care and education for their children and themselves were among their highest priorities.  They said they could not seek justice through the legal system as they could not identify or locate the perpetrators.  

The report says victims expressed great frustration because many of the people convicted of the sexual assaults have escaped from prison, while the victims have received no reparation or payments for the harm done to them.   The panel recommends that greater efforts be made to bring perpetrators to justice, including military officers with command responsibility.

Deputy High Commissioner Kang says there is no way to erase the harm suffered by victims of sexual violence.  But, she says that addressing their losses is the starting point for reparations.

“While many of the needs are costly and require resources, there are other forms of reparation that would cost almost nothing and have a great impact in restoring dignity and giving some sense of justice to the Congolese women and men who have suffered the stigma of sexual violence.  Public recognition of the harm and public expression of support for them, particularly at the highest levels of government will go a long way to help change the culture that blames victims of sexual violence rather than blaming their perpetrators,” Kang explains.  
The panel recommends a fund be set up to support reparations as a matter of priority.  It says both individual and collective reparations, in the case of mass rapes, be provided for in the fund.

The panel suggests the fund should include representatives of the DRC government, the United Nations, donors, civil society, and survivors themselves.  It says the survivors of sexual violence are in the best position to know what they need and how the money should be used for their benefit.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More