Tens of thousands of women and girls have been raped and beaten in DRC by soldiers and militia since the "peace agreement" began in 2003. All but a hand full of soldiers have gone unpunished. Hundreds of new rapes are reported each week but no one is punished. Human Rights Watch has released a new report on the DRC “Seeking Justice: Prosecution of Sexual Violence in the Congo War,” which documents the failure of the DRC government to prosecute those responsible for wartime rape.
According to the report an increasing number of women are beginning to fight back by demanding justice from the government. However the DRC justice system does not function nor do judges and prosecutors treat sexual violence as a serious offense nor are senior military officers held accountable for crimes committed by their troops. There are no support structures available for women and girls, some of them as young as eight years old. A woman who watched her 13 year old niece being raped said
“Four men raped her. They had spread her arms and legs and held her down,” the woman said. “I had been with her but hid in a banana tree and watched what happened. Afterward she started to vomit blood, we brought her to Kirotshe hospital, and she died two days later.”
Similar crimes are taking place in the Darfur region of Sudan- "rapes, torture and mutilation by government backed militias" . Only two weeks ago eyewitnesses told HRW (Darfur: New atrocities as security council dithers)
how government-backed Janjaweed militia attacked villages in the Labado area in December and January, and singled out young women and girls for rape. Male relatives who protested were beaten, stripped naked, tied to trees and forced to watch the rape of the women and girls. In some cases, the men were then branded with a hot knife as a mark of their humiliation.
If only the Security Council and the UN paid as much attention to these crimes as they are doing to their newly named "outposts of tyranny" Syria, Iran and the rest, just maybe these crimes would stop and women and girls would start to receive justice and much needed medical care including treatment for HIV/AIDS.