We are disappointed that the prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Augustin Matata Ponyo, refuses to acknowledge that rape is being used as torture by his own state security services outside of the conflict region, including in the capital of Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo keen to shed ‘rape capital’ tag, 2 July)
Our recent report, Rape as Torture in the DRC: Sexual violence beyond the conflict zone, highlights medical forensic evidence of rape and torture in prisons throughout the DRC, documented to the very highest standard recognised in international law.
Without acknowledging that there is a problem, the DRC government has little prospect of being able to tackle the issues that our report raises and of continuing to attract international support to help it do so.
By failing to engage with this disturbing evidence, the DRC government is turning a blind eye to a major problem both inside and outside the conflict zone; it urgently needs to recognise that rape and torture is now prevalent in the whole of the DRC.
We have been very careful in our report not to attribute responsibility for these violations to the DRC government; however, as the state has responsibility for assuring the security of its citizens, it now needs to take responsibility for preventing these horrific human rights violations in the future and ensuring that the judicial system will be effective in bringing the torturers to justice and providing redress for the survivors.
Policy and advocacy manager, Freedom from Torture