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The Democratic Republic of Congo government has launched the first Action Plan for the Congolese Army on tackling Sexual Violence.
The plan aims to strengthen and increase the visibility of military justice, and improve victim and witness protection. It builds on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s commitment to take further urgent action, made at the at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London in June.
Commenting on the announcement, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, The Rt Hon William Hague MP, said:
I strongly welcome this historic step by the Congolese government. I look forward to working with the government, non-governmental organisations and civil society in DRC to ensure that this vital commitment is implemented.
I welcome the role played by Zainab Bangura, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, in helping to encourage this progress through her many visits to the DRC and her engagement with the Congolese military.
I congratulate the Congolese government for following up on the commitments that they made in June at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, and I look forward to further progress.
Angelina Jolie, Co-founder of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative and Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said:
Two years ago I met survivors of rape and sexual violence in DRC. Their suffering is unimaginable. It is made worse by the near-total culture of impunity which lets those responsible for these crimes go unpunished.
I am very encouraged by this announcement by the DRC government. There is now a huge mountain to climb to make the Action Plan a reality, so that the people of the DRC see and feel the benefit.
I call on the international community to help give the authorities, civil society and survivors in the DRC the support they need, to follow through on this commitment.
I hope that other countries facing similar problems will be inspired to take similar steps towards reform and accountability in their own militaries.