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DRC Personal Representative calls for investigation into sexual violence of infants

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, April 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Personal Representative to fight sexual violence and the recruitment of children into armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), is working with national authorities to launch an investigation into allegations of sexual violence committed against infants in South Kivu Province.

The alleged rape of infants reportedly occurred in the village of Kavumu, 20 miles north of Bukavu, the provincial capital of South Kivu Province, in 2014.

On March 20, Personal Representative Jeanine Mabunda met in Bukavu with members of SOS Jeunes Filles en Danger (SOS Girls in Danger), a consortium of civil society groups assisting the Kavumu victims, to learn more about the alleged incidents.

"Allegations that infants have been raped in Kavumu are beyond abhorrent," said Ms. Mabunda, whom DRC President Joseph Kabila appointed in July 2014. "We currently have more questions than answers and will launch an investigation to learn what happened, when and more so that we can arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of these perverse acts."

During the SOS Jeunes Filles en Danger meeting, which was also attended by Kavumu family and community representatives, provincial and local government officials and national and international non-governmental organizations, Ms. Mabunda emphasized the need for stakeholders and authorities to work together on impunity, reconciliation and prevention.

"The population is rightfully angry that these perpetrators are still at large. We will work together and do everything that we can to detain and bring to justice whomever committed these horrific acts," said Ms. Mabunda.

Since President Kabila's appointment of Ms. Mabunda, hailed by the United Nations as a "new dawn," the DRC has been vigorously engaged in the fight against sexual violence. Ms. Mabunda's focus on combating impunity during the past six months has resulted in an increase of prosecutions and convictions of sexual violence criminals, including within the country's security forces.

Incidents of sexual violence recorded by the DRC government in North Kivu, South Kivu, and Katanga provinces and Province Orientale's Ituri District have decreased from 15,323 in 2013 to 10,882 in 2014.

Erroneously labeled "the rape capital of the world," the DRC is not among the top five countries with the highest rate of rapes: Lesotho, Sweden, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, New Zealand and Belgium.

Please contact Gladys Mambulu, and +243 974 555 540, for media inquiries.

SOURCE Office of Personal Representative

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