DRC BROADCASTS MUKWEGE DOCUMENTARY ON NATIONAL TELEVISION AS PART OF COMMITMENT TO COMBAT SEXUAL VIOLENCE
KINSHASA—On Monday, October 19, the DRC government broadcast on national television a documentary film about Dr. Denis Mukwege as part of its commitment to combat sexual violence in the country. The film, produced by Thierry Michel and Colette Braeckmanand entitled, "The Man Who Mends Women (L'Homme Qui Repare Les Femmes),” depicts the renowned Congolese gynecologist and director of Panzi Hospital in the city of Bukavu.
“The matter of sexual violence is of the utmost importance to the government, and we are committed to the continued implementation of critical reforms to protect our wives, sisters and daughters against such atrocities,” said DRC’s Minister of Communication and Media Lambert Mende. “In recent years, we have seen a decrease in the number of reported rapes as the DRC’s Armed Forces (FARDC) work to implement peace across the country. While there is more to be done, this is a challenge we are committed to addressing.”
The DRC has made great strides in tandem with the international community to stop sexual violence across its territory, as recognized in a recent UN report that noted a 33% decline in rapes attributable to armed men between 2013 and 2014. Some of the actions that the government has taken in recent years include:
- In March 2013, the DRC government signed a Joint Communique with the United Nations that outlined its priority areas in countering sexual violence.
- In July 2014, President Kabila appointed Jeanine Mabunda Lioko as his Personal Representative on Sexual Violence and Child Recruitment. Since Ms. Mabunda’s appointment, which was hailed by the United Nations as a “new dawn,” the DRC has strengthened efforts against sexual violence. Ms. Mabunda's focus on combating impunity has resulted in an increase of prosecutions and convictions of those charged with sexual violence crime, including within the country's security forces.
- Between July and December 2014, 135 cases were brought before the courts in the government’s efforts to fight against impunity for perpetrators of sexual assault. These cases brought sexual violence charges against military and police personnel, including high-ranking officers in each force.
- The DRC government established an emergency hotline in November 2014 to respond to victims of sexual violence seeking medical or legal assistance.
- In March 2015, the FARDC took an important step forward in the fight against conflict-related sexual violence when Army commanders signed a landmark declaration to combat rape in war.
- Since January 2015, 197 FARDC soldiers have paid the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives in combat operations to neutralize armed groups responsible for sexual crimes in South Kivu and North Kivu provinces.
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