By Meryl White
Impunity Watch Reporter, Western and Central Africa
GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo – An 11 month baby girl has died following her rape in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The alleged rapist is a twenty year old man, who faces a life sentence.
The brutal rape and death come after a Red Cross hearing in Geneva that denounced the “systematic violence” against girls and women in DR Congo.
ICRC official, Dominik Stillhart stated, “What really shocked me personally the most, was the systematic violence especially against women and girls which is producing immense suffering.”
An estimated 16,000 victims of rape, with most rape victims suffering from obstetric fistula, have been treated at the Panzi General Hospital in Bukavu alone since 2000. Furthermore, additional cases of sexual assault and rape are unlikely to be reported, due to the social stigma attached to rape and the fear of embarrassment.
Human Rights Watch has accused The United Nations Mission located in Monuc, Congo, of failing to act against widespread abuse and rape of women in the region. Presently, around 5,000 UN peacekeepers are in DR Congo to secure peace after a five-year conflict officially ended in 2002.
Presently, in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) province of Equateur, the government has imposed a nighttime curfew in the area to curb incidents of murder and rape by armed men.
For more information, please see:
BBC – DR Congo child rape victim dies – 29 November 2007
IRIN – DRC: Campaign against sexual violence in South Kivu – 29 November 2007
IRIN- DRC: Curfew imposed in Equateur to stem worsening insecurity – 28 November 2007