PARIS, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Members of the human rights community Wednesday called on the Democratic Republic of Congo to enact legal reforms to address incidents of sexual violence.
"Congolese authorities must urgently adopt political and legal reforms to fight against the impunity of the perpetrators of crimes of sexual violence and facilitate effective access of victims of crimes of sexual violence to justice and reparation," Jean Claude Katende, president of the African Association for the Defense of Human Rights, said in a statement.
Members of the rebel March 23 Movement are suspected of using rape as a weapon of war. The International Federation for Human Rights, which has headquarters in Paris, said victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo have to pay their share of court costs in the country's legal system.
The human rights group said more than 60 percent of the population of DRC lives on less than $2 per day, making any extra financial burden next to impossible to bear.
The U.N. peacekeeping mission in DRC said this week it was using surveillance drones to monitor the situation in the eastern part of the country. DRC has been gripped by violence for more than a year. Aid consortium Oxfam said there are dozens of armed groups fighting in the region.