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Rape Widespread In Burundi, Says Amnesty International - 2004-02-24

A new report from Amnesty International says rape has become widespread in Burundi. It says sexual violence “has become an entrenched feature of the Burundian crisis…and at times a deliberate strategy as a weapon of war.” The report is entitled Burundi: “Rape – The Hidden Agenda.”

Allison Dilworth is a researcher for Amnesty’s Central Africa team. From London, she spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about rape in Burundi. She says, “It’s extremely widespread. In fact, it’s been a very hidden part of the human rights crisis. We believe that since 1993, we believe women have been raped on a widespread basis.”

The report says one of the worst cases occurred in Ruyigi Province. It says “Government armed forces and the armed political group CNDD-FDD Nkurunziza committed scores of rapes as well as other human rights abuses and looting.”

Also, the report says, “Most victims of rape in Burundi currently face insurmountable obstacles in trying to bring suspected perpetrators to justice. Many women who have been victims of rape or other forms of sexual abuse are too intimidated by certain cultural attitudes and state inaction to seek redress.”

Ms. Dilworth says the Amnesty International report has been forwarded to the Burundi government and armed opposition groups, calling on them to make their fighters accountable for their actions.

It’s also calling on the international community “to help victims of violence find justice and to assist them to heal physical and psychological wounds.”

Click above links to listen or download interview with Amnesty International.