103: Resolution on the Situation of Women in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, meeting in its 40 th Ordinary Session held in Banjul, The Gambia, from 15 - 29 November 2006:

Considering the armed conflicts which have been affecting the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1996 and which have ushered in a climate of insecurity and violence, particularly for women;

Noting the recent promulgation of two laws relating to sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo;

Concerned by the fact that the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has not yet ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa;

Concerned by the widespread and systematic nature of sexual violence and other forms of violence against women in the Democratic of Congo;

Concerned by the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of sexual violence committed against women;

Concerned by the incapacity of the Police Authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo to guarantee the right to life, to physical integrity and the security of women by preventing crimes and arresting the perpetrators;

Conscious of the difficulties of obtaining evidence inherent in the indictment and legal proceedings for crimes of sexual violence before national and international criminal courts;

Concerned by the complaints alleging collective rape by organised gangs against young girls in Kinshasa which have been brought to the attention of the Commission;

Concerned also by the allegations of collective rape committed by the Agents of the National Armed Forces which have been brought to the attention of the Commission;

Noting that an urgent appeal pertaining to the security of the young girls in Kinshasa had been issued in July 2006 by the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa to the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo and that the same had not been responded to;

Noting also the letters of allegation and the urgent appeals sent by the United Nations Special Rapporteurs concerning the cases of sexual abuse in the Democratic Republic of Congo;

Concerned by the spread of the HIV/AIDS virus among the women victims of sexual violence;

  1. Urges the Government of the Democratic of Congo to take the necessary measures to guarantee the security of young girls and women in the entire country;
  2. Calls on the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to ratify the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights relative to the Rights of Women in Africa and to take measures for the harmonisation of its national laws with the Protocol;
  3. Encourages the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to facilitate the effective implementation of the new law on sexual violence;
  4. Urges the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to grant the necessary resources to the Police Force to enable it prevent and control the acts of sexual violence;
  5. Urges the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to ensure that medical and psychological assistance is provided to the women victims of sexual violence;
  6. Calls on the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to initiate action towards the sensitisation and the education of the population on the causes and consequences of the HIV/AIDS virus, particularly by supporting the initiatives of civil society in this area;
  7. Recommends that the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa undertakes a mission to promote the fundamental human rights of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Done in Banjul, The Gambia, 29th November 2006.