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Massive human rights violations have been recorded across the country during the last decades, as the country has faced numerous crises. The protracted armed conflict in the eastern regions for almost three decades and the armed violence in Kasaï during recent years have generalised the use of torture and ill-treatment. Sexual violence has been used as a weapon of war for the last 20 years but in general, rape has been rampant in Congolese society. We conducted several trainings with groups of women in the East of the country on the monitoring and reporting of sexual violence cases. This led to important advocacy before United Nations treaty bodies, including the submission of alternative reports before the Committee Against Torture (CAT).
Despite the adoption of an anti-torture law in 2011, very few efforts were made to punish perpetrators and train police officers and prosecutors. The role of the Agence Nationale des Renseignements (ANR, intelligence services), has been central to the practice of torture in the DRC, mainly against human rights defenders and activists, political leaders and members of the media, who have all been arbitrarily arrested, detained in secret detention centres and severely tortured. Following our advocacy for over a decade and the recommendations of the CAT during its April 2019 session, the newly elected authorities decided to close all secret detention centres across the country. The fight against impunity remains an important challenge in a country where a United Nations human rights Mapping report has been published but never followed by investigations of numerous cases of torture and other serious crimes.