By Catherine Ageno
The Great Lakes Region leaders have been urged to take more seriously the urgent need for ensuring reparations and justice for victims of conflict- related sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The appeal is made by the Global Survivors’ Fund (GSF) – a global fund for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, following increasing reports of cases of the same reported from the conflict between Congolese forces and the M23 rebels that has also displaced hundreds of people from the border town of Bunagana near Uganda.
Speaking to KFM, the GSF Communications Officer, Maud Scelo says the conflict-related sexual violence is having devastating effects on individuals families and society.
Speaking shortly after the launch of the report from the Ukraine Reparation Study held in Geneva Switzerland, Scelo emphasized the importance of involving victims in the reparation process.
She says survivors of conflict-related sexual violence whose lives have been shattered require urgent life-saving medical, psychological and economic support, warning that failure to provide such support risks worsening the harm caused by the violence.
Scelo adds that one of the key findings of the Ukraine study, as is the case in DRC, is that survivors need acknowledgement of what has been done to them because justice cannot be achieved without duty bearers taking responsibility for reparations.
The Ukraine Reparations Study is part of a global study on reparations for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence led by the GSF in collaboration with over 40 national and international partners, including victims’ associations.
“This Global Reparations Study focuses on the status of and opportunities for reparations for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in over 25 countries”, the report reads in part.