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Rape as a weapon in the Democratic Republic of the Congo conflict: motivations, dynamics and impacts

Grant number: 22/14737-4
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2023
Effective date (End): December 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science - International Politics
Principal Investigator:Sérgio Luiz Cruz Aguilar
Grantee:Isabella Monteiro Costa
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia e Ciências (FFC). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Marília. Marília , SP, Brazil


The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) faces ethnic, social, and political instabilities since its independence in 1960, caused in large part by the territorial division outlined by Belgium during the colonial period. This has spurred the outbreak of two great wars in the country, the first between 1996 and 1997, and the second between 1998 and 2003. The conflicts involved neighboring countries and different ethnic groups, however, one of the most striking factors, it was the indiscriminate violence practiced by armed groups. In this sense, since 1998, these groups began to use rape as a weapon of war in order to increase social instabilities, spread fear, and demonstrate power over other parties in the conflict. In 1999 the UN instituted a peace operation in the country, MONUC, in an attempt to establish a more stable environment and promote the safety of civilians. Even with the end of the second war in 2003, the confrontation between armed groups continued in the DRC, as did the systematization of gender-based violence. Thus, the operation's mandate was extended, and in 2010 it became MONUSCO, which continues to operate in the country to this day. Therefore, the research will analyze how rape is used by armed groups in the DRC, its motivations and its influence on the dynamics of the conflict. In addition, it will seek to identify the existence of gender public policies by the Congolese government and the UN resolutions and mandates for the protection of women and children against this type of violence.

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