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2009 Human Rights Report in DRC released by the US Department of State

On 11 March, the US Department of State released its 2009 Human Rights Report on the DRC, as part of its country reports on Human Rights practices.

The report summarizes evidence collected by various organizations to show that mass rape is still very much a weapon of war used by all armed groups, including  “security” forces such as the FARDC, the country’s army.

  • UN Population Fund (UNFPA): reported 2,075 cases of sexual violence in North Kivu, 834 in South Kivu, and 885 cases in Orientale (Jan-June, 2009)
  • Human Rights Watch (HRW):  the total number of sexual violence cases registered at health centers in North and South Kivu exceeded 7,500 by Sept. 2009, which was nearly double the total for the same period in 2008. HRW also reported in August 2009 that, in nine conflict zones it had visited since January, rape cases had doubled or tripled compared with 2008. In over half of the cases HRW recorded, the victims were gang-raped by two or more assailants. The youngest victim was 2 years old, and 65 percent of the cases in North Kivu were perpetrated by FARDC soldiers.
  • International Rescue Committee (IRC):  registered approximately 1,200 cases of rape in South Kivu during 2009 and found that up to 80 percent of survivors identified their assailants as members of either the FARDC or armed groups
  • International Cooperation (COOPI): observed between February and July, a 300 percent increase in the number of survivors of sexual violence it assisted in Maniema and Katanga, which the NGO attributed to a “spill-over effect” caused by Kimia II in neighboring conflict-affected provinces (North and South Kivu)

Organization of the report:

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life; b. Disappearance; c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention; e. Denial of Fair Public Trial; f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence; g. Use of Excessive Force and Other Abuses in Internal Conflicts

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press; b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association; c. Freedom of Religion; d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government

Section 4 Official Corruption and Government Transparency

Section 5 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights

Section 6 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Section 7 Worker Rights

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