Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the sexual assault and rape of women in the Muzenze prison in Goma, 21-22 June 2009

The EU has noted with serious concern the riot in the Muzenze prison in Goma during the night of 21 to 22 June, which in addition to the killing of one guard and the injury of several detainees led to the sexual assault and rape of about 20 women prisoners.

The EU calls for adequate medical and psychological support to be given to the victims of the riot, particularly to the women who were raped, and the accompanying children that were affected. The EU also calls for adequate sanctions to be delivered to the perpetrators. Their transfer outside of the provinces of North and South Kivu should be seriously considered. The security of the victims must be ensured.
The EU is extremely concerned about the widespread sexual violence in the DRC, particularly in the provinces of North and South Kivu and Ituri. Sexual violence is aggravated by the prevalence of impunity of perpetrators of these crimes. Women and girls are the primary targets, and it is particularly gruesome that in more than half of the reported cases, the victim is a girl-child. The scale and brutality of the sexual violence currently faced by women and girls in the DRC amounts to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The EU calls on the Congolese Government to pay full attention to the fight against sexual violence and impunity of perpetrators. Security in penitentiary establishments is of particular concern and should be strengthened, particularly with regard to women and minors detained. Those sentenced for sexual crimes and other human rights violations should be immediately removed from any position they hold in the Congolese security sector, particularly FADRC and the National Police.

In December 2008, the EU adopted Guidelines on violence against women and girls and combating all forms of discrimination against them, marking the EU's clear political will to treat the subject of women's rights as a priority. The EU is furthermore committed to the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and 1820 on women, peace and security.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.

* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.


  • Milan Řepka, Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • tel.: +420 224 182 052, GSM: +420 724 034 154; e-mail:

Last update: 16.8.2011 15:17

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