President Joseph Kabila called Wednesday for a “moral revolution” in the Democratic Republic of Congo at ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of the war-torn country’s independence from Belgium.
Congolese should put an end to “attacks on human life and dignity” and in particular the widespread rape that has become a feature of the guerrilla conflicts racking the vast nation, he said.
Kabila also singled out “tribalism, regionalism, favouritism, irresponsibility, theft, embezzlement of public property and everything else contrary to values.”
He was addressing an audience including United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Belgium’s King Albert II and more than a dozen African heads of state.
Wednesday’s ceremonies also came four days after the funeral of one of the country’s best-known human rights activists, Floribert Chebeya, who was found dead in his car on June 2 in Kinshasa.
In April, Margot Wallstrom, the UN’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, called the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) the “rape capital of the world,” and urged the Security Council to end impunity for the perpetrators of such crimes.
“If women continue to suffer sexual violence, it is not because the law is inadequate to protect them, but because it is inadequately enforced,” she told the 15-member council.
“Women have no rights, if those who violate their rights go unpunished,” added the UN special representative tasked with combating sexual violence against women and children in conflicts.
Aid agencies have frequently expressed concern at the degree of impunity and the lack of justice for victims, especially in DRC’s strife-torn eastern regions. –Sapa