DR Congo: Brutal Rapes by Rebels and Army
Rwandan rebel forces, government army soldiers, and their allies have raped at least 90 women and girls since late January 2009 in the volatile North and South Kivu provinces of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Human Rights Watch said today. The Rwandan rebel forces have also been implicated in the deaths of most of the 180 civilians killed during this period.
The United Nations Security Council will discuss on April 9 the latest report by the UN secretary-general on the peacekeeping force in Congo. Human Rights Watch called on the UN Security Council to press the Congolese government to remove human rights abusers from its armed forces and end rights violations, including attacks against women and girls.
The Rwandan Hutu militia called the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) attacked and burned dozens of villages and towns in Masisi and Lubero territories (North Kivu) as well as in Kalehe territory (South Kivu) in recent weeks, committing numerous deliberate killings, rapes, and acts of looting. Blaming government military operations, the FDLR deliberately targeted civilians, used them as human shields, and accused civilians of having betrayed them. According to witnesses and victims interviewed by Human Rights Watch, the FDLR have been implicated in the killings of at least 154 civilians since January 23.
"The FDLR are deliberately killing and raping Congolese civilians as apparent punishment for the military operations against them," said Anneke Van Woudenberg, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. "Both the fighters who commit such horrific acts and the rebel commanders who permit them are responsible for war crimes."Read »