OHCHR / DRC SEXUAL VIOENCE

30-Jul-2020 00:03:50
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, successive conflicts in recent decades have seen systematic use of rape and sexual assault by all fighting forces. SOFEPADI, a Congolese non-governmental organization, assists with psychological support to women, children and men who have suffered from this violence. OHCHR
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STORY: OHCHR / DRC SEXUAL VIOENCE
TRT: 3:50
SOURCE: OHCHR
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: FRENCH / NATS

DATELINE: MARCH 2020, BUNIA, ITURI PROVINCE, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
SHOTLIST
1. Traveling shot, Bunia
2. Traveling shot Bunia street
3. Wide shot, street in Bunia
4. Wide shot, SOFEPADI NGO courtyard
5. Wide shot, SOFEPADI building
6. Med shot, woman entering, med worker standing in doorway
7. Med shot, patients waiting
8. SOUNDBITE (French) Élisabeth Furaha, Doctor, SOFEPADI:
“We are the first responders, who meet the victims of sexual violence. For the month of January, we have received a total of 46 victims of sexual violence. They are given these antiretrovirals, they are offered the morning-after pill, in order to avoid unwanted pregnancy.”.”
9. Wide shot, Noella Alifwa Coordinator of SOFEPADI in her office
10. SOUNDBITE (French) Noella Alifwa, Coordinator SOFEPADI:
“The people who come here have been raped, tortured, wounded.”
11. Med shot, mother and child at SOFEPADi centre
12. Various shots, victim arriving at SOPFEPADI centre
13. SOUNDBITE (French) Espérance Karungi, Psychologist, SOFEPADI:
“We are here to help the patients, when we receive them, we first listen to their problems. We look for solutions to their problems, identifying the root of the problem. We do this with the patient, we’re here to help find the problem, so they can decide for themselves what to do. We’re not here to tell them what they have to do.”
14. Cutaway, SOFEPADI building
15. Various shots, Espérance Karungi, psychologist with victim
16. Pan right, Gloria Malolo UN Human Rights Officer arriving at SOFEPADI
17. Cutaway, patients at SOFEPADI
18. Traveling shot, Noella Alifwa walking with Gloria Malolo
19. SOUNDBITE (French) Gloria Malolo, UN Human Rights Officer:
“We document these cases in order to refer them to the justice system, specifically the military justice, as they are the competent authority to judge crimes committed by armed groups or governmental forces. They are then obligated, as a jurisdiction, to document and investigate these human rights violations”
20. Med shot, exterior, Military Court building in Bunia
21. Med shot, victims waiting at SOFEPADI centre
22. Various shots, laboratory at SOFEPADI
23. SOUNDBITE (French) Gloria Malolo, UN Human Rights Officer (Voiceover):
“And it is through the protective measures we put in place that we give them back their confidence, that allows them to speak out.”
24. Various shots, SOFEPADI
25. SOUNDBITE (French) Gloria Malolo, UN Human Rights Officer:
“These hearings also have an educational role they send a strong signal. To the presumed perpetrators, but also to reassure the population. Stating that justice is taking place, it is doing its job, renewing the confidence.”
26. Various shots, doctor with victims
27. Pan left, Gloria leaving
STORYLINE
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, successive conflicts in recent decades have seen systematic use of rape and sexual assault by all fighting forces.

These widespread and recurrent acts have been the subject of numerous UN reports revealing the scale of these crimes. The majority of the acts of sexual violence cited in these reports constitute crimes under Congolese law as well as international, human rights and humanitarian law. If such violence has long gone unpunished, it is partly due to the lack of access to justice for the victims. SOFEPADI (Solidarité féminine pour la paix et le Développement integral) is a Congolese non-governmental organization. Its mission is to accompany women, children and men who have suffered from this violence.

SOUNDBITE (French) Élisabeth Furaha, Doctor SOFEPADI:
“We are the first responders, who meet the victims of sexual violence. For the month of January, we have received a total of 46 victims of sexual violence. They are given these antiretroviral, they are offered the morning-after pill, in order to avoid unwanted pregnancy. They benefited from a pregnancy test, and also from an AIDS tests.”

Noëlla Alifwa is one of the founders of SOFEPADI.

SOUNDBITE (French) Noella Alifwa, Coordinator SOFEPADI:
The people who come here have been raped, tortured, wounded. And what is very serious for us, is lately we even have seen children that have been killed.

For the victims, the violence they have suffered, is often difficult to describe and name. SOFEPADI employs a full-time psychologist to help women and children talk about the abuse they have suffered.

SOUNDBITE (French) Espérance Karungi, Psychologist, SOFEPADI:
“We are here to help the patients, when we receive them, we first listen to their problems. We look for solutions to their problems, identifying the root of the problem. We do this with the patient, we’re here to help find the problem, so they can decide for themselves what to do. We’re not here to tell them what they have to do.”

Today, she received a victim of sexual violence while this woman was working in the fields. She was raped with her daughter. Mother and daughter took care of the children of this rape.

The women who come here receive medical and legal support.

Gloria Malolo is a human rights officer. She works for the joint UN office mandated to help victims obtain justice and reparation. She cooperates with this clinic.

SOUNDBITE (French) Gloria Malolo, UN Human Rights Officer:
“We document these cases in order to refer them to the justice system, specifically the military justice, as they are the competent authority to judge crimes committed by armed groups or governmental forces. They are then obligated, as a jurisdiction, to document and investigate these human rights violations.”

The doctors at the centre assist victims in providing forensic medical accounts of the violence they suffered to support their cases in court.

SOUNDBITE (French) Gloria Malolo, UN Human Rights Officer:
“All these elements contribute to uncovering the truth. As the traces disappear in cases of rape, with the help of the proof collected by SOFEPADI when they first arrive, these first elements will allow the judges, the magistrates, to discover what really happened.”

Gloria’s specific role is also to provide assistance to vulnerable victims exposed to possible reprisals.

SOUNDBITE (French) Gloria Malolo, UN Human Rights Officer:
“And it is through the protective measures we put in place that we give them back their confidence, that allows them to speak out.”

Some of these trials are held in the villages where the abuses were committed.

SOUNDBITE (French) Gloria Malolo, UN Human Rights Officer:
“These hearings also have an educational role they send a strong signal. To the presumed perpetrators, but also to reassure the population. Stating that justice is taking place, it is doing its job, renewing the confidence in these mobile court hearings. “

Thanks to its holistic approach SOFEPADI is an essential actor in denouncing human rights violations and fighting impunity.
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