Thousands of Congolese women marched in Kinshasa yesterday to denounce sexual violence against women and children as a tactic of war. Marie-Ange Lukiana, the Congo's Women and Children's Affairs Minister, led the march, calling sexual violence a weapon used "to spread AIDS," according to Agence France Presse.
Since the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo began in 1998, tens of thousands of women and girls have been raped in sexual violence widely viewed to be a war tactic. Dozens have been raped in recent weeks by combatants in recent weeks, according to Human Rights Watch.
Alan Doss, President of the UN Mission in the Congo, told the Agence France Presse that the message of the protestors was one "addressed to all men" and that "through the Security Council, the international community has adopted several resolutions (on sexual violence), but we must undertake daily action to change people’s thinking."
Media Resources: Agence France Presse 12/16/08, 12/17/08; Human Rights Watch Press Release 12/16/08