UN criticises DR Congo over mass rapes
Issued on: Modified:
The UN Security Council criticised the Democratic Republic of Congo government on Friday for failing to protect hundreds of women and children from mass rapes in July and August. The comments drew an angry response from Kinshasa, which denies having any connection to the rapists.
Militia groups raped hundreds of people in eastern DRC between late July and early August.
In a statement on Friday, the Security Council made an "urgent call" for the DRC government to work with UN forces "to put an end to impunity" for those responsible for such atrocities.
It urged the government to pursue the perpetrators and report to the UN on its progress, and to offer support to the victims.
Kinshasa was not expecting the UN's "admonitions", responded government spokesperson Lambert Mende.
"We are the victims," he told the AFP news agency. "Do you think that the rapists are tied to the DRC government? We know who the rapists are, even if they are in the DRC, they have no connection with the government."
Mende maintained that DRC officers in the Kivu provinces "were put into offensive contact with these groups of rapists, we beseiged them".
UN officials have acknowledged that their own peacekeeping forces failed victims by responding too slowly to reports of rapes.
The Security Council said that UN troops needed to "improve relations with communities" by finding better means of gathering information and communicating with local people.
Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morningSubscribe