Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo
International Law INTL 5530/17
Dr. D. Gierycz
2 October 2011
Interest of Research Topic
Definition of terms
Human Rights Law, Humanitarian Law and Criminal Rights Law about Sexual and Gender Based Violence
Sexual Violence in Armed Conflicts
Two historical examples: Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Rwanda
The International Criminal Court and Sexual Gender Based Violence
Progression in International Law on Sexual Gender Based Violence
The Complexity of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the conflict Democratic Republic of Congo
Causes and interpretations
Historical assessment and analysis of the state of the National Armed Forces (FARDC)
Social and Juridical factors
Sexual and Gender Based Violence as a cultural pattern in the Great Lakes region
Strategies to end Sexual and Gender Based Violence in DRC
Sexual Violence Unit at MONUC mission in DRC
Comprehensive Strategy on Combating Sexual Violence in DRC
Answer Research Question
Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo Introduction
Interest of Research Topic
Congo/Zaire has always triggered my interest as a Belgian woman. Having a lot of relatives and friends in the former Belgian colony, I am raised with the stories of missionaries, plantations and Black African culture. My aunt, a missionary nun of the Sisters of Mercy , lived in Zaïre/Congo for 30 years. In these years, we received a monthly newsletter, where she introduced us to the local traditions and culture. She was posted at different locations, mainly involved with educational projects. The last 10 years, she lived in a small community within a military camp in Eastern Congo. I remember her letters from 1996, where she expressed her hope that Laurent-Désiré Kabila would finally make an end to the 31 years of Mubutu Sese Seko’s dictatorship, corruption and military oppression. She described Kabila as a Messiah who finally would bring peace, order and prosperity to the country. In October 1996, Kabila and his army, Alliance des Forces Démocratique pour la Libération (AFDL), crossed the Rwandan and Burundese border to liberate Zaïre . The soldiers of the Forces Armées Congolais (FAC) and the AFDL fought a bitter war with a lot of civilian victims. The military camp, where my aunt lived, was attacked and she saw one of her co-sisters being violated and raped. My aunt fled into a dog cage, where she hid for 3 days. With the help of missionary fathers, she was able to escape and she left her beloved Zaïre and never returned. After 15 years she is still experiencing the psychological and physical consequences of these days of terror. It took a long time before the violated and raped women revealed their experiences, because of the taboo that rested on them. Most of the raped women and children didn’t only suffer from physical wounds, pregnancies, and life-long fistula’s, but were also abandoned by their husbands and stigmatized by the whole community. ‘Breaking the Silence’ was the term used to tell these stories to the world and only afterwards aid organizations would become active in the region to support the victims and to battle the ongoing acts of Sexual and Gender Based Violence. Research Question
Some reports call Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) a new weapon of war. In this paper I examine what lay at the foundation of SGBV and I analyze how International Law (Human Rights Law, Humanitarian Law and Criminal Law) has responded to the concepts and which strategies were developed and implemented to combat this violence. As...
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