Friday, November 11, 2011

DR Congo: Concern over abuse of Angolans expelled from DR Congo

UNHCR staff help prepare Angolan refugees for their return home from the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The envoy spearheading United Nations efforts to combat sexual violence in conflict today voiced concern over allegations that migrants from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in Angola continue to be subjected to human rights abuse, including rape, in the process of being expelled from the country.

“These allegations include rape, beatings, looting and torture by security forces of the Government of Angola,” said Margot Wallström, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, in a statement.

“The most recent incidents would have occurred in the village of Tshiambi in the Republic of Angola between 4 and 7 October 2011 along the common border with Kasai Occidental [province] in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

She urged both the Angolan and DRC authorities to urgently investigate the alleged abuse with a view to holding the perpetrators accountable, in line with the joint communiqué issued by Angola and the UN in March.

Ms. Wallström called upon the two countries to use the previously established Angola-DRC Mixed Commission to address the issue of migrant communities and expulsions.

“I remind all parties that rape can be a crime against humanity, no less grave than other crimes, and that perpetrators will be held accountable. We continue to monitor this and other incidents of alleged conflict-related sexual violence, wherever they occur, and stand in solidarity with the survivors,” she added.