Brussels, 27 August 2010
Joint statement by Catherine Ashton, the High Representative, and Andris Piebalgs, the EU Development Commissioner, on the resurgence of violence in North Kivu, DRC.
Catherine Ashton, the High Representative, and Andris Piebalgs, the EU Development Commissioner, expressed their outrage and dismay at the attacks and mass rape committed by the FDLR (Democratic Front for the Liberation of Rwanda) and armed Congolese militias (the Mai Mai) with whom they are allied, in the province of North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between 30 July and 4 August 2010. These events demonstrate once again the strategy of systematic criminal attacks and the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.
The High Representative and Commissioner Piebalgs urged the Government in Kinshasa to make every effort to protect the population and end impunity for the perpetrators, as it had promised to do when it adopted the national strategy against gender-based violence last November.
In the light of these crimes against civilians, which deliberately target women and children in particular, the international community and especially MONUSCO need to speed up their efforts with the Congolese authorities in order to further consolidate the authority of the State and improve security in the region.
The High Representative and Commissioner Piebalgs welcomed the decision by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to investigate the events in the Congo and stressed the importance of the role of the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström.