The fight against sexual violence in Eastern DRC: support for victims now effective

Sep 15, 2015

An underage victim listened to by the police. Photo: UNJHRO

The joint program ‘Tupinge Ubakaji’ has been fighting against sexual violence in Eastern DRC since 2013, with financial support from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. Through a holistic approach, this program addresses all stages of care for victims—medical and social support, access to justice, and socio economic reintegration. The program is implemented under the joint supervision of several UN agencies including UNDP, UNFPA, UNESCO, and UNJHR in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and the Congolese National Police. The objective is to ensure the reintegration of victims of sexual violence in particular and the promotion of women’s empowerment within the community in general. 
In this context, a monitoring mission was organized by United Nations agencies in the territory of Beni in North Kivu from September 2 to 8, 2015. The mission involved UNDP, UNFPA, and UNJHRO under the aegis of provincial Ministries of Gender and Justice. 
Thanks to the work of local partners, concrete results were observed in Beni: 36 cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV) have already been referred to the Legal Clinic at the Oicha Hospital and associations dealing with the socio-economic reintegration of victims. The mission also benefited from effective collaboration between the implementing actors and local structures. This allowed for the provision of legal assistance to 51 victims, support for socio-economic reintegration of 106 survivors, and admission of 66 victims (including 38 minors) to the Oicha Hospital and 144 victims to the Beni Hospital since January 2015. 
Unfortunately, a number of obstacles remain, particularly in terms of access to justice for victims. The financial costs are often too high for these vulnerable people. When cases go to court, victims are often required to ensure payment for all transportation expenses related to the court proceedings. 
To remedy this, UNDP has endowed the court registries in Beni and Goma four motorcycles this week. These vehicles will provide transportation for court officers to submit warrants, mandates, notifications, and summons without demanding the victim cover the costs. 

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