Sanctions A Welcome Step In Combating Conflict-Related Sexual Violence In DRC

I welcome the sanctions imposed by the Security Council on the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) and Mouvement du 23 mars (M23) for committing heinous acts of violence including grave and repeated acts of conflict-related sexual violence against civilian populations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  I also welcome the designation of Lt. Col. Eric Badege and Jean-Marie Lugerero Runinga of M23 for serious violations of human rights and International Humanitarian Law.  The Security Council’s Sanctions Committee for the DRC has led the way in focusing on crimes of sexual violence.

I urge Member States to ensure the full implementation of the measures imposed by the Security Council, including the travel ban and asset freeze.  I call on the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), particularly through its Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM) based in Goma, to assist the Congolese authorities to prevent and respond to conflict-related sexual violence in eastern DRC.  This is in line with the Declaration of Heads of State and Government of Member States of the ICGLR on the Prevention of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (2010) and the Protocol on the Prevention and Suppression of Sexual Violence against Women and Girls (2006).

The prevention of and response to the epidemic of sexual violence in DRC requires a new impetus and multiple partnerships.  It is one of many crimes that is certain to be committed when conflict breaks out and families are vulnerable and displaced. Unfortunately, it is a scene that is bound to be repeated in the DRC unless we put an immediate end to it.

I call on Prime Minister Matata Ponyo Mapon to immediately investigate and prosecute the recent conflict-related sexual violence crimes committed by the FARDC and other forces in Minova, South Kivu and in Munigi and Goma, North Kivu in November 2012.  I also urge the Prime Minister to fully implement the National Strategy to Combat Gender-Based Violence and develop an action plan for the prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence committed by the security forces and armed groups in DRC.

I condemn reported acts of violence being committed in areas controlled by armed groups, including M23 and FDLR.  These recent sanctions by the Security Council serve as a reminder and signal of intent that they will be held accountable for all acts of sexual violence committed in these zones.