Commentary: Women’s Empowerment and Addressing Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in the DRC

Eileen Alma


In the last two years, ethnically motivated sexual and gender-based violence rose in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a country marked with ethnic-based tensions and conflict over the control of its extractive industries over decades. According to the 2018 Report of the United Nations Secretary General to the United Nations, sexualized violence cases emerged and spread in several provinces in 2017 with at least 804 cases of conflict-related sexual violence in this period, affecting 507 women, 265 girls, 30 men and 2 boys. Despite progress by the international community actors to end these abhorrent practices, this marks a significant increase from the previous year and the delay in national elections has exacerbated conflict. Both non-state actors and state actors are identified perpetrators of sexual violence, including the Congolese National Police.

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