France’s first lady set to address ‘rape capital’

France's first lady set to address 'rape capital'
Photo: AFP/File
French First Lady Valérie Trierweiler is travelling to Geneva on Thursday to speak to the 23rd session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Trierweiler, 48, a journalist and companion of French President François Hollande, is set to defend the cause of women raped in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa, her entourage told the French-language AFP news service.

“It’s about convincing the different ambassadors that a resolution must be taken as soon as possible,” an adviser to Trierweiler said.

She will be speaking in her capacity as “ambassador” for the Fondation France Libertés.

 A UN official once called the Democratic Republic of Congo “the rape capital of the world”.

In a country with a long history of unrest and instability, rape has been routinely used as “a weapon of war”.

Although the latest war ended there in 2006, rebels in the eastern part of the country have been reported attacking and raping civilians.

Civilians have also been reported involved in a rash of rape cases.

Much of the sexual violence is linked to ongoing tribal clashes in the country.

The latest session of the UN Human Rights Council, which got under way on Monday, runs until June 14th.

Among many rights issues, the council is scheduled to discuss the report of special rapporteur Rashida Manjoo on the causes and consequences of violence against women.

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