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Action plan signed to end sexual violence in DR Congo

Action plan signed to end sexual violence in DR Congo
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, welcomed the signing of the plan of action. Image Credit: PxHere

United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior, Security and Congolese Customary Affairs signed recently an action plan of the Congolese National Police (PNC) to fight against sexual violence.

The action plan has been signed after months of consultations with the Congolese authorities, including the Special Adviser to the Head of State in charge of youth and the fight against violence against women, and sustained advocacy by the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo.

This action plan represents a significant step forward in the fight against conflict-related sexual violence, as well as the reaffirmation of the commitments made by President Félix Tshisekedi and the new Government both to prevent this plague and to tackle it.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the DR Congo, Leila Zerrougui, welcomed the signing of the action plan and assured that MONUSCO would provide support to the secretariat of the commission that has just been installed to oversee the implementation. It is also expected that the monitoring of progress will be incorporated into the annual report of the Secretary-General on conflict-related sexual violence.

"The signing of the action plan is particularly important as MONUSCO encourages partners in the Democratic Republic of Congo to support the professionalization of security forces," Leila Zerrougui opined.

The objective of the action plan is to put an end to the sexual violence committed by agents of the PNC but also to contribute to the prevention of the sexual violence and their response in the DR Congo, notably in the fight against the impunity and the protection of victims and witnesses.

The PNC action plan reaffirms the commitment of the Congolese Government to ensure that these serious crimes do not go unpunished. It also insists on commanders' responsibility to prevent and punish violence committed by PNC elements under their authority.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, welcomed the signing of the plan of action. "I congratulate President Tshisekedi and the new Government for continuing to make the fight against sexual violence a priority and to consider it as a key pillar in their strategy to achieve stability and peace in areas of the country affected by violence. as described in the joint communiqué signed between the United Nations and the Government in 2013."

"I particularly welcome the renewed commitment to prevent conflict-related sexual violence by members of the National Police and I call on the Government to allocate the necessary budget for the proper implementation of this plan. I also encourage the national authorities to provide enhanced support to the Special Police Unit for the Protection of Children and Women (PSPEF). My office, in close coordination with MONUSCO and international partners, is available to provide technical support for the full and effective implementation of the plan as requested by the Government," Pramila Patten added.

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