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Friday, January 8th, 2010 - No comments

Rape as a war crime in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo still tolerates violent sexual assault. Despite recent free and fair elections, the war continues to use rape as a weapon of war.

Goma, North Kivu, DRC – Coming from the outlining areas of the provincial capital of North Kivu, especially from Masisi, these women await traumatic fistula surgery (gynecological fistula is an injury that can result from violent sexual assault).  With so many victims of rape, the wait time for the surgery can take up to 3 months and may require more than one surgery, sometimes several.

The Democratic Republic of Congo held its first free and fair elections in 2006. But despite this, there’s still no peace in the far east of the vast country. Several armed groups operate there and, according to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, they use rape as a weapon of war on a shocking scale. The UN says that more than 4000 rapes have been documented in South Kivu province so far in 2007. BBC’s Sarah Grainger reports from Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu and Jenni talks to expert in African womens’ rights Victoria Brittain and Human Rights Watch activist Juliane Kippenberg about the causes of sexual violence in Eastern Congo and the widespread climate of impunity which allows these abuses to go unpunished.

This is a response to the blog-post, “Rape as a weapon of war: What do you think

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The views expressed in this blog-post are solely those of the author.

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Guest Editor

Micah Albert


Micah is an independent photojournalist and writer represented by Redux Pictures, who has documented and brought attention to major world issues in Sudan, DR Congo, Syria, Yemen, Chad, Central African Republic, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Kenya and many others. He has spent the last five years focusing on human rights, the global food crisis, refugees, the internally displaced and issues of migration, gender-based violence, democracy, public health and insecurity. His work has also earned several awards including his coverage of the post-election unrest in Kenya’s Rift Valley.

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