Sexualized violence in conflicts – the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on a visit to Nobel Prize laureate Denis Mukwege’s Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, © Xander Heinl/photothek.net
Every day, two cases of sexualized violence are recorded in the conflict-hit regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Germany is tackling the topic of sexualized violence in conflicts in the UN Security Council via Resolution 2467.
Be it in Sierra Leone, Syria or Myanmar, sexualized violence is increasingly being used as a weapon in armed conflicts. The aim is often to deliberately destroy families and entire communities, to drive people out and to cause trauma. This is also the case in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the United Nations records two cases of sexualized violence every day in the regions affected by conflict. The perpetrators often go unpunished, particularly in areas where government control has collapsed and neither the police nor the courts ensure that the rule of law is upheld.
Protection against sexualized violence is a priority in the Security Council
Germany has made protection against sexualized violence a priority of its membership of the UN Security Council. In April 2019, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2467, the resolution on sexualized violence sponsored by Germany, with which the Council is demonstrating its determination to do more to hold the perpetrators of sexualized violence to account. At the same time, the resolution focuses on the victims of sexualized violence. This includes ensuring access to legal remedies at the national level, as well as safeguarding the livelihoods of those affected. Furthermore, survivors are to be given support in coming to terms with what they experienced in order to be able to rebuild their lives.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas commented as follows:
We have taken an important step by Resolution 2467, which fosters accountability and sanctions infringements. A great deal remains to be done, both by the United Nations and the member states, as regards implementing the resolution. We will endeavour to ensure that this happens.
Visit to Dr Mukwege’s Panzi Hospital
The gynaecologist Denis Mukwege has been working for many years to stop sexualized violence. He founded Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, capital of South Kivu province, where one of the worst conflicts of recent times is smouldering, to look after abused women and help the victims of sexualized violence. In 2018, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work.
Foreign Minister Maas visited the hospital last year and commented as follows:
The work being done there to stop sexual violence in conflicts and to help the victims rebuild their lives deserves our full support.