A latest report by a high-level UN panel provides more insights into the FDLR’s sexual crimes in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
FDLR is a French acronym for the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, a militia group composed of elements mainly responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
First-hand accounts of sexual violence, by survivors, ranging from three to 61 years in age, are contained in the report called “Remedies and Reparations for Victims of Sexual Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
The report was unveiled, Thursday.
“Some of the women and girls became pregnant and bore children as a result of the rape. Many are afraid to return to their villages and some had returned to their villages only to be raped again,” reads part of the report.
One of the victims is quoted in the report as saying that they have been working on their farms only for the yield to be harvested by FDLR.
“And when they come, they don’t only take the crops. They also shoot, they kill, they burn and rape,” the victims is anonymously quoted in the report.
Between September 27 and October 13, 2010, the panel travelled to Bukavu, Shabunda, Bunia, Komanda, Mbandaka and Songo Mboyo, from where they collected testimonies from 61 victims.
They met victims who as a result of rape, contracted HIV/AIDS, became pregnant and those whose husbands rejected them following their rape.
They also met child victims of rape.
“One witness told the panel that she never thought that she would be able to stand. In 2002, she had been abducted with her uncle by the FDLR. They were each tied to a tree by their hands and feet, and she watched while he died after they cut off his genitals,” reads the report.
“She remained tied to the tree for two weeks, raped at will by her abductors repeatedly, and she became pregnant as a result.”
Another witness described waking up every morning, before she got psychological counseling, and reliving her traumatic experience of being raped during an FDLR attack on her village in 2004.