Congo: Oxfam response to UN meeting on the investigation into Luvungi mass rape

Publicado : 7 Septiembre 2010

Marcel Stoessel, Country Director of Oxfam in the Democratic Republic of the Congo said:

"The scale of these brutal attacks is shocking. They must be the final wake up call to the international community do to more - much more - to improve the security of Congolese people.

"Unfortunately, we have been there before. We need more than rhetoric this time. Making ordinary Congolese feel safe must take place on the ground, not just within the corridors of the UN.

"We are outraged as human beings when we hear about mass rape. It reminds us of horrible instances in history, where rape was used as a weapon of war. This is the history ordinary Congolese are going through every single day.

"Sadly, what happened in Luvungi isn't an isolated event. Ten days later, up to 130 women were reportedly brutally raped in neighboring south Kivu. It is reported that this time the Congolese army was also responsible for these brutal acts. The government of Congo is first and foremost responsible for protecting its civilians. Local communities in various parts of the country are crying out loud for a reform of the national army. This call must be answered."

"MONUSCO's protection obligations are clear, what's needed is a better enforcement of them. The UN force must go out into the villages, listen and respond to the security needs of Congolese men and women. This means driving across the conflict-affected regions, getting out of their heavy armored vehicles and interacting with communities to understand the threats people are facing and how best to protect them. This is what protecting civilians should be about. Until the Congolese army is reformed, MONUSCO is the best bet civilians have for protection.

Note to editors:

An Oxfam survey released in July this year found that women interviewed overwhelmingly felt less safe than last year, in large part due to widespread rape. The survey of 816 people living in 24 communities affected by the ongoing Congolese military operations against militia groups in North and South Kivu revealed that 60 percent of those surveyed felt security had deteriorated, with women and boys feeling particularly at risk.

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Oxfam's humanitarian response in the Democratice Republic of Congo

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Louis Belanger, Humanitarian Media Officer, cell +1 917 224 0834