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U.N. decries sexual violence in DRC

Jan. 9, 2013 at 11:03 AM

GENEVA, Switzerland, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- A decision by the U.N. Security Council to sanction rebel movements in Democratic Republic of Congo helps address a legacy of sexual violence, an envoy said.

The Security Council recently targeted the rebel March 23 movement and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, known by its French initials FDLR, for waging a violent anti-government campaign in eastern DRC.

Zainab Hawa Bangura, the U.N. special envoy on sexual violence, said the measure was the right step to take to address widespread abuses in eastern DRC.

"I condemn reported acts of violence being committed in areas controlled by armed groups, including M23 and FDLR," she said in a statement. "These recent sanctions by the Security Council serve as a reminder and signal of intent that they will be held accountable for all acts of sexual violence committed in these zones."

M23 forces, which mutinied in early 2011, captured the capital of North Kivu province last month but later withdrew. Rwanda is accused of backing M23 rebels, though it denies the allegations.

U.N. officials have said rebel forces remained in the area, noting sexual violence was carried out against the civilian population in the area.

Peace negotiations are under way between rebel forces and the DRC government.

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