Congolese women call on government to fight rapes

AP News
Posted: Mar 08, 2011 11:44 AM
Congolese women call on government to fight rapes

Women in Congo are calling on their government to do more to combat the horrifying number of rapes in the country's volatile east.

Government minister Marie-Ange Lukiana was among those gathering in central Kinshasa on Tuesday to demand that more must be done to fight impunity. Congo's first lady also marched in the International Women's Day event.

Rape has long been used as a brutal weapon of war in Congo, which suffered back-to-back civil wars starting in the late 1990s. The country's east is still brutalized by a myriad of armed groups.

At least 8,300 rapes were reported in 2009. Aid workers say the true toll is much higher.

In a landmark verdict last month, a court convicted a Congolese army colonel of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to 20 years in prison.