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Lack of justice for rape survivors in Congo

The UN Refugee Agency has expressed concern about the lack of justice for the thousands of women who are raped in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) every year, and prevailing impunity for rapists.

New UN figures show 1,244 women were raped in DRC during the first three months of this year, and the numbers could be much higher on account of under-reporting. In many cases women are raped when they venture out of their villages or camps to collect firewood, water and other basic necessities. More than a third of the recorded cases are in the provinces of North and South Kivu in eastern DRC. The region hosts some 1.4 million IDPs, including 100,000 in camps run by UNHCR.

UNHCR is taking steps to keep women safe, such as providing fuel-efficient stoves and firewood to women in North Kivu. Since UNHCR has provided fuel-efficient stoves and firewood to around 4,200 families. UNHCR also offers counselling to those traumatised by rape.

Thanks to legal assistance provided by UNHCR,145 survivors in South Kivu were able to file complaints in local courts. Most of the cases are there but 24 people have been found guilty and sentenced to jail terms of between two and 10 years; some have also been ordered to pay compensation. In the DRC at least 200,000 cases of sexual violence have been recorded since 1996.

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