UNICEF: In DR Congo, rape as a weapon of war

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Ajoutée le 27 juin 2008

GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 24 June 2008 -- In a momentous step forward for the protection of women and girls in DRC and around the world, the UN Security Council has voted unanimously in favour of a resolution classifying rape as a weapon of war.

Resolution 1820, which passed last week, reiterates the status of sexual violence as a war crime, a crime against humanity, a form of torture and a constituent act of genocide. It also advances efforts to sanction perpetrators and raise the political, military and economic cost of such violence.

"Sexual violence in DRC is on a scale and brutality unparalleled elsewhere in the world," says Child Protection Specialist Pernille Ironside in UNICEF's eastern DRC regional office. "While rape certainly existed prior to the war, the brutal nature of the violations that we see is appalling -- with over 1,000 women and girls raped per month.

"This is truly a context in which sexual violence has taken on a new dimension," she adds.

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