Plenary speech on the Democratic Republic of Congo: mass rape in South Kivu province

Marietje
Madam President, the systematic and widespread practice of rape as a war crime may amount to crimes against humanity, according to the UN. The organisation has extended its mission to the DRC but, if our conclusion is that the mandate is insufficient to effectively intervene, we must encourage its revision. The UN must also carry out an independent inquiry so that we can learn about the scope and the scale of these horrific crimes. The impunity has to end. The international community, as well as the media, have an essential role to prevent sexual violence and to raise awareness. The authorities of the DRC must prioritise the ending of violence and of sexual violence in particular. As a result of taboos, victims often do not speak out and, when they do, they risk being excluded from their communities. The fact that there are so many problems in the DRC must make us more vigilant and engaged. We must never allow a situation where rape is routine and where hundreds of thousands of people, particularly women, suffer in silence. At home we demand more transparency on the use of conflict minerals. We all use ICT products that potentially contain the minerals that fuel the conflicts in the DRC.