A senior United Nations official has urged the national authorities in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to investigate reports that women were raped when large numbers of people were expelled from Angola and forced to return to the DRC recently.
“I call upon the authorities of both countries to investigate these allegations and to proceed in compliance with relevant legislation,” said Margot Wallström, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict, in a statement issued yesterday.
“I expect the authorities of Angola and the DRC to respect human rights and to do everything in their power to prevent abuses of all kinds during any further expulsions,” she said.
She said that although it was not clear where the alleged rapes took place and who the perpetrators were, it is of utmost importance that the allegations of abuse be followed up immediately and those found responsible brought to justice by the national authorities of the countries concerned.
Ms. Wallström said a UN interagency mission is currently in the area and will provide support to efforts to continue monitoring the latest incidents of alleged sexual violence.
The UN humanitarian arm last month said that, according to unconfirmed but reliable reports, more than 150 Congolese arrived in the Tembo area of Bandundu province in western DRC, alleging to have been expelled by Angolan authorities.
Local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) reported that they were told that two men had been killed and that 30 women were raped multiple times in the course of the expulsion, added the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).