World Bulletin / News Desk
Concern is mounting that British aid money may be funding police who are using rape as a tool of state-sanctioned torture against women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
A report from the charity Freedom From Torture (FFT), has collated medical evidence from 34 female political activists who have fled to the UK from DRC. It has found that the country's police and security personnel are systematically raping President Joseph Kabila's female opponents.
This evidence has raised questions about the UK government's programme to give more than £60m to the Congolese national police and "internal security sector" to improve its performance and accountability.
One female political activist who fled to the UK after being detained, raped and tortured by police in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, said: "Many are raped by secret police and other security officials. When I was living in Congo I didn't see any improvement in the police. Perhaps the money from the UK government is making the police stronger so they can rape us more. While William Hague is calling for the elimination of rape as a weapon of war, his government is funding a police force that rapes with impunity."
It finds that women have been imprisoned in state detention facilities and in many cases gang-raped by up to 10 police or other officials.
In one woman's case, an FFT doctor documented 74 scars, 68 attributable to torture and 56 attributable to a specific incidence of gang rape. The women described being beaten, hit with rifle butts, rubber truncheons and belts as well as being held face down and stamped on.
The type of "crimes" the female political activists were punished for included storing and distributing political leaflets, banners and T-shirts and attending meetings and demonstrations.Last Mod: 16 Haziran 2014, 12:00