Africa

Central African Republic

Central African Republic Civil War 2012-

Detailed description will be available later.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the poorest countries in the world, while one of the richest in terms of different natural resources. After decades of the infamously cruel Belgian colonization, the country proclaimed its independence in 1960. In 1965 Mobutu Sese Seko started to rule the Republic of Congo and renamed it to Zaire in 1971. By the end of his dictatorship, he had led the country into extremely vulnerable social and economical conditions. In the meantime, the millions of people fleeing Rwanda after the Genocide in 1994 triggered the big refugee crisis and destabilization of the Great Lakes region, including the Eastern part of Congo. The First Congo War (1996-1997) aimed to remove Mobutu from his position but was also fueled by the activity of the Interahamwe Hutu militias in the affected territories. The Second Congo War (1998-2003) occurred partly against Laurent-Désiré Kabila and partly because of the uncountable armed groups aiming to control the mines of the country.  Although the war officially stopped, the Congolese army, foreign-backed rebels, and home-grown militias are still there and have been fighting each other over power and the control of gold, copper, diamond, and coltan mines. Militias are supported by different stakeholders (including the neighboring countries) in order to keep up the destabilization and drain the minerals. Since all sides of this internal conflict are interested in the chaos, and soldiers are to be paid, the complex, deeply-rooted war in Congo is still ongoing. Armed groups pillage, terrorize, and rape the local community. Since the recorded cases are only a fragment of the real number of events, estimating the number of rapes is nearly impossible. Hundreds of thousands of women and men are raped each year. Like the conflict itself, the cause of sexual violence also has different motivations and aims.

More info

Baaz, M., Stern, M. (2009). Why do soldiers rape? Masculinity, violence and sexuality in the armed forces in the Congo (DRC), International Studies Quarterly, 53 (2), 495-518.

Drumond, Paula (2011). “Invisible Males: The Congolese Genocide”. In Adam Jones (ed.). New Directions in Genocide Research. Routledge.

Turner, Thomas (2007). The Congo Wars: Conflict, Myth and Reality. Zed Books

Fiona Lloyd-Davies (2013) Seeds of Hope

Madeleine Gavin (2016) City of Joy

More about the conflict in DRC

This is Congo

Congo, My Precious. The Curse of the coltan mines in Congo

Mali

Northern Mali conflict 2012-

Detailed description will be available later.

Somalia

Somalia 1981-1991

Detailed description will be available later.

South Sudan

South Sudanese Civil War 2013-

Detailed description will be available later.

Sudan (Darfur)

War in Darfur (Sudan) 2003-

Detailed description will be available later.

Rwanda

From the end of the 19th century, Rwanda was a German, and later a Belgian colony. The country was populated by Bantu Hutus farmers (84%), Nilotic pastoral Tutsis (14%), and semi-nomadic hunter-gatherer Twas (2%). Even though the Tutsis were the minority, before colonization, they ruled the country and their king (mwami) was the head of the state for hundreds of years. The difference between these groups was mainly economic as they spoke the same Kinyarwanda language, practiced the same religion, and lived heterogeneously. At first, Belgian authorities supported the Tutsis and propagated the group’s supremacy due to their “European” physical appearance (tall, thin, and dark-skinned). In 1932 ethnicity got registered in identity cards, which made ethnic recognition easier for the perpetrators, consequently contributed to the upcoming genocide. Coming closer to gaining independence, Belgians started to support Hutus. In 1962 Tutsis lost their position, and the previous aristocrat leaders together with many other Tutsis were chased out of the country.  The Tutsi refugees settled down in the neighboring countries but they never gave up on repatriation. During the upcoming decades, Rwanda had to face serious social and economic challenges, which led them to a devastating crisis by the 1980s. Being one of the most overpopulated countries in the world, people had to exterminate more and more forests in order to grow crops in arable lands, which has led to an environmental catastrophe (landslides). Furthermore, the price of their primary export goods (tea and coffee) significantly decreased in the world market, while the government’s corruption devoured the remained sources. Infrastructure was in ruins and the country fell into enormous state debts. At the beginning of the 1990s Tutsi refugees established their armed forces and were trying to break back to the country. As a response – fearing losing the power – the Hutu government started to prepare for a war (with weapons and training) and launched an extensive hatred propaganda campaign against the Tutsis and specifically against Tutsi women. The Rwandan Genocide broke out on the 7th of April 1994, after president Juvenal Habiyarimana’s plane was shot down, resulting in his death. The genocide lasted for only 100 days, but its intensity was unheard of: more than 800000 people were killed, and between 100000 and 250000 women were raped. Hutu soldiers and militias perpetrated different kinds of sexual violence, including gang-rape, forced marriage, and mutilation. During and after the genocide, approximately 2 million Hutus fled to Zaire, and later the situation caused the Great Lakes refugee crisis.

The Rwandan Genocide took place during the same time period as the Yugoslav Wars, therefore the international community paid more attention to the events. The International Criminal Tribunal was the first in the history of international courts to enter a judgment for genocide set forth in the 1948 Geneva Conventions. In the same judgment, the ICTR also defined the crime of rape in international criminal law for the first time and recognized rape as a means of perpetrating genocide.

More info

de Brouwer, Anne-Marie & Ka Hon Chu, Sandra (szerk.) (2009): The Men Who Killed Me: Rwandan Survivors of Sexual Violence.  Douglas & McIntyre.

Holmes, Georgina (2013). War and Women in Rwanda. Gender, Media and the Representation of Genocide. I. B. Tauris

Gerard Prunier (2014). The Rwandan Crisis. History of a Genocide. C. Hurst & Co Ltd. London

Green, Llezlie L. (2011): Sexual Violence and Genocide Against Tutsi Women. In Race, Racism and the Law. Kivonatolva: Propaganda and Sexual Violence in the Rwandan Genocide: an Argument for Intersectionality in International Law. Columbia Human Rights Law Review, 33, pp. 733–776.

Mullins, W. Chritopher (2009): “We are going to rape you and taste Tutsi women”: Rape During the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. Center for the Study of Crime, Delinquency and Corrections Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Nowrojee, Binaifer (1996). Shattered Lives: Sexual Violence during the Rwandan Genocide and its Aftermath. Human Rights Watch.

Rafstedt, My (2014). Variations in Forms of Sexual Violence. A Comparative Analyses of Bosnia and Rwanda. Columbia University Journal of Politics & Society, pp. 60–79.

Taylor, C. (1999). A Gendered Genocide: Tutsi Women and Hutu Extremists in the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. Political and Legal Anthropology Review, 22(1), 42-54. Retrieved September 29, 2020

 

Lybia

Lybia Crisis 2011-

Detailed description will be available later.

Cote d’Ivorie

First Ivorian Civil War 2002-2007

Second Ivorian Civil War 2010-2011

Detailed description will be available later.

Burundi

Burundian Civil War 1993-2005

Detailed description will be available later.

Nigeria

Conflicts in Nigeria 1998-

Detailed description will be available later.

Uganda

‘Following a contestation of the presidency in the early 1980’s and the civil war that followed, the national Ugandan National Liberation Army (UNLA) staged a coup d’etat and seized the power of the state, putting an Acholi – Tito Lurwa Okello – in the presidental seat for the first time in the history of the country. Within six months, their opponents, the National Resistance Army (NRA), led by Yoveri Museveni, overpowered the UNLA and overthrew President Okello; Museveni assumed the presidency in 1986 and remains here to date. As defeated UNLA soldiers fled north to seek refuge, the NRA pursued and unleashed a brutal campaign against civilians in an effort to quash any potential rebellion (Dolan 2009). During this period of unrest, a young spirit medium (also known as Lakwena, the messenger) emerged as a spiritual leader among the affected Acholi and was able to attract a significant following of demobilized UNLA soldiers and civilians to fight in the Holy Spirit Mobile Forces (HSMF)… Eventually, soldiers and civilians began to follow a newly emerging spiritual leader, Joseph Kony, who later renamed the rebels group the Lord’s Resistance Army. As had Lakwena, Kony envisioned a purification of the Acholi and insisted victory would be achieved through adherence to principles of the Holy Spirit. During the early phases of the LRA organization, marriage, sexual relations, and sexual violence against civilians were forbidden.’

‘With the assistance of the Sudanese military, the LRA were able to take over and occupy military bases from the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), and to erect new basis where ‘settled life’ became possible… Between 1994 and 1997, the LRA senior commander orchestrated the mass abduction of tens thousands of youth and children from northern Uganda, bringing them to Sudan.’ (Baines, 2014).

During the period of  1986 – 2003, approximately 4000 thousands of girls and women were kidnapped and held in sexual slavery under the terror of the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) in Northern Uganda.

More info

Baines, Erin (2014): Forced marriage as a political project: Sexual rules and relations in the Lord’s Resistance Army