United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Margot Wallstroem arrived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Tuesday to investigate the mass rape of civilians that occurred there in June and July of this year. The UN News Center reports the objective is to coordinate an appropriate response to the mass rape by rebels of more than 300 people, mostly women, in the country’s North Kivu province.
The United Nations first condemned the use of mass rape as a weapon of war in August. At that time, Wallstroem told reporters that using rape as a tool of war is no more acceptable nor inevitable than committing mass murder. Rebels allegedly entered the town of Ruvungi on July 30 and proceeded to pillage the town and systematically rape its occupants for several days, blocking a road that connects the town to UN peacekeeping troops.
“The FDLR is once again responsible for grave human rights violations in the DRC,” Ms. Wallstroem said Monday in Geneva at a UN Human Rights Council meeting. “The establishment of responsibilities must begin with the leaders of this group and with those of other groups for not having prevented these outrages.”
While in the DRC, Ms. Wallstroem intends to meet with UN agencies and Congolese officials to speed up the enactment of an effective strategy against sexual violence.