Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced his deep distress at the rape of some 20 female inmates during an attempted escape from a prison in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and called on authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The incident at Goma’s central prison, which occurred during the night of 21-22 June, also caused the death and wounding of several people and was condemned by the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC, known as MONUC.
“This is a grim example of both the prison conditions and the level of sexual violence that plagues the DRC,” Mr. Ban said in a statement issued in New York.
“I call on the DRC 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,” he added.
The Secretary-General recalled that he had discussed the issue of sexual violence with President Joseph Kabila when he visited the country in February, as did the Security Council during its recent visit.
He stated that it is “absolutely essential” that the DRC Government take concrete steps to bring justice to victims of sexual violence, as well as initiate prison reform to ensure conformity with internationally recognized standards in the treatment of detainees, including strict separation of men and women.