Kongo: Massvåldtäkter sommaren 2010
Publicerad: 13 januari 2011

Democratic Republic of Congo: Mass rapes in Walikale: Still a need for protection and justice in eastern Congo


During four terrible days in July and August 2010, more than 300 women, girls, men and boys were raped by armed men in Walikale Territory, North Kivu. The assailants were armed with guns, grenades and machetes. The survivors were left in pain, without their belongings and in a state of shock. They were stripped of absolutely everything: their physical and mental health, their means of livelihood and their sense of security. The mass rapes took place within 30km of a UN peacekeepers’ base, where a company of 80 blue helmet troops was stationed.

For years, the civilian population of North Kivu has suffered as Congolese and foreign armed groups and armies fight for control of the area’s mineral wealth, land and resources. Grave human rights violations, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, have been committed by armed groups and in some cases, by members of the national army (Forces Armées en République Démocratique du Congo, FARDC).

The mass rapes committed in July and August were planned and organized. Women, men and children were rounded up and prevented from fleeing before being raped by armed group fighters acting under the orders of their commanding officers. The armed groups sought to impose their authority over villages through terror and humiliation, to maintain control over territory and to advance their political agendas. While the responsibility for the attack in Walikale lies primarily with the armed groups, the national army failed to prevent the attacks and protect the population.

The shocking crimes committed in Walikale highlight the abject failure of both the government of the DRC and the UN to protect Congolese civilians from violence, in particular sexual violence. According to the UN, at least 15,000 cases of rape were reported in 2009 and every day, crimes of sexual violence continue to be committed with almost total impunity.

The suffering endured by the survivors of mass rape in Walikale is, tragically, only one example of what Congolese people have to endure. Sexual violence in the DRC has sometimes been referred as the war within the war, and there appears to be a link between discrimination practised against Congolese women in general and the violence inflicted on them in the conflict. Since the beginning of the armed conflict in eastern DRC, tens of thousands of women and girls have been victims of systematic, as well as widespread, rape and sexual assault committed by combatants.

Every day, women and girls, from the very young to the very old, continue to be attacked in their homes, in the fields, on their way to school or as they go about their daily activities. Some are raped in front of their families or fellow villagers for maximum humiliation. Men and boys are also being raped, but because of the enormous stigma associated with male rape, very few survivors come forward to report attacks.

Full Report: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR62/011/2010/en