Cablegate: Putting the Record Straight On Sexual Violence In

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) Summary: Amnesty International's October report, 'DRC:
Mass Rape- Time for Remedies' provides a generally accurate
picture of the nature of sexual violence in eastern DRC. Its
suggestion that the international community has ignored this
crisis, however, is untrue. The USG, for example, already has
assisted over 10,000 victims and dedicated over $5.8 million
dollars to help combat gender-based violence. End Summary.

2. (U) On October 26, Amnesty International released a large,
detailed report on sexual violence in the DRC with documented
cases. 'DRC: Mass Rape- Time for Remedies' calls on the GDRC
and the international community to facilitate access to
medical care for rape survivors, ensure that rehabilitating
the health care system and improving security in the eastern
provinces are priorities, take measures to prevent survivors
from being subjected to social and economic exclusion, and
facilitate survivors' search for justice. Although the
summary's tone suggested that medical concerns of rape
victims have been sidelined, other sections of the report
highlight the abysmal state of the Congo's medical

3. (U) The report's description of the problem appears
generally accurate. Its suggestion that the international
community has ignored this crisis, however, is untrue. A
number of donors, including the USG, have been working
actively to combat this very serious issue since 2001.

USG Efforts

4. (U) USAID addresses immediate and longer-term needs of
survivors of sexual violence, their families, and their
communities in areas of eastern Congo that have been most
affected by armed conflict. In January 2004, USAID conducted
an assessment mission, published an extensive report entitled
'Sexual Terrorism: Rape as a Weapon of War in Eastern DRC,'
and developed a broad gender-based violence strategy. USAID
provides funding to experienced international organizations
which work with local NGOs, health structures, and community
based organizations to increase their capacity to provide
holistic support to survivors including medical,
psychosocial, protection, and socio-economic reintegration
services, while promoting judicial support and referral when

5. (U) For instance, with 2002-2004 funding from Victims of
Torture and TIP ($1,788,688 and $470,000 respectively) 12
local organizations, which are mostly headed by survivors,
received about $650,000 in sub-grants. The rest of the
funding provided logistical support, materials in kind,
medicines, training, workshops, information dissemination,
coordination and referral to other services. Since 2002
these activities, which include post-rape reconstructive
surgery at Panzi Hospital, mobile clinics which respond
quickly to reported incidents of rape, and the first
successful prosecution of a rape case in eastern DRC have
assisted over 10,000 survivors, their families, and their

Looking Ahead

6. (U) For FY04-FY06, USAID/DRC received $2,500,000 from the
Victims of Torture Fund to support around 20 local
organizations and health structures through international
NGOs and $1,000,000 in OFDA funds to provide health services
and training through UNICEF and an international NGO. In
addition, USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives provides
grants to local community-based organizations that also
directly benefit victims. The total USAID budget specifically
for gender-based violence from June 2002- September 2006 is

7. (U) In the past two years, the Embassy also used its
limited Democracy and Human Rights Funds to support seven
local organizations that promote women's rights and support
survivors of sexual violence, including Centre Olame in
Bukavu. In addition, the Embassy was awarded a special
$50,000 grant in FY2004 to provide sexual violence survivors
with access to judicial support services. As access continues
to improve, and with continued USG funding, we are
well-positioned to provide additional much-needed assistance
for the victims of violence in eastern Congo.

Other Efforts

8. (SBU) The European Union, the European Commission, and
European bilateral donors, notably the Belgians and the
Swiss, have also provided significant resources. A late 2003
$30 million joint initiative by UN agencies to stop sexual
violence in the DRC was well-received, but donors agreed the
plan needs some revision. When revised, the plan could
provide additional funding to address gender-based violence
in the Congo. In addition, UN agencies and MONUC have
prepared several reports on various aspects of this
wide-scale problem, and MONUC plays an important role
facilitating access for various NGOs. Post understands that a
number of international organizations working on gender-based
violence in the DRC are extremely disappointed that AI
researchers did not contact them to discuss their existing
and planned programs.

9. (U) Although the Congolese government has condemned
gender-based violence at the highest levels, it has not taken
much concrete action at this stage. The Justice, Social
Affairs and Women's Affairs ministries have tried to develop
limited programming to combat gender-based violence, but lack
funding, capacity, and expertise. Unfortunately,
well-intentioned activities often do not ensure
confidentiality or protect survivors of violence,

particularly in a culture in which, historically, women are
considered second-class citizens. In addition, security
concerns, poor medical infrastructure, limited resources (the
budget for a country the size of the USA east of the
Mississippi river is only $450 million), and lack of roads
contribute to the Congolese government's inability to
effectively deal with this problem.


10. (SBU) We are pleased that this report has focused
high-level international attention on gender-based violence
in the DRC. We note, for example, that the producers of the
Oprah Winfrey Show are considering doing a program this month
in Bukavu focusing on this issue. We hope that international
media interest can be harnessed to help further the work
being done by the USG, other donors, and local and
international NGOs which have been working on this issue for
a number of years.

© Scoop Media

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