|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
SECRETARY-GENERAL DEEPLY DISTRESSED BY DEATHS, RAPE IN ATTEMPTED
ESCAPE FROM EASTERN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO PRISON
The following statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was issued today:
I am deeply distressed by the rape and assault of about 20 female inmates during an attempted escape from Goma’s central prison, in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The incident also caused the death and wounding of several people.
This is a grim example of both the prison conditions and the level of sexual violence that plagues the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I call on the Democratic Republic of the Congo authorities to bring to justice those who have committed these crimes and, more generally, to renew efforts to bring an end to the impunity too often enjoyed by perpetrators of sexual violence.
During my last visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I emphasized the issue of sexual violence with President [Joseph] Kabila. The Security Council, during its recent visit in the country, did likewise. It is absolutely essential that the Democratic Republic of the Congo Government take concrete steps to bring justice to victims of sexual violence. I invite the Government to make use of the wide assistance provided by the United Nations on the ground to combat sexual violence.
I also urge the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to initiate prison reform to ensure conformity with internationally recognized standards in the treatment of detainees, including strict separation of men and women. The United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) stands ready to assist in this regard.
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