Congolese commanders sign declaration to combat sexual violence in war, a move welcomed by UN

Congolese army commanders have signed a declaration to combat rape in war, a move the United Nations welcomed as an important step in the fight against sexual violence during conflicts.

The declaration, signed in Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, is part of a government plan adopted in September to end sexual violence by soldiers.

It requires every Congolese military commander to pledge to take a series of actions including respecting human rights and international humanitarian law on sexual violence in conflict, ensuring prosecution of alleged perpetrators under their command, and sensitizing soldiers to the “zero tolerance policy” on sexual violence in conflict.

Zainab Hawa Bangura, the U.N. special representative on sexual violence in conflict, said Tuesday the declaration is “a giant leap forward in the fight” against rape in war.

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