Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) convened a Roundtable on Reparations for Survivors of Sexual Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in Washington, D.C. at Georgetown University on February 24, 2014. This report summarizes major points of discussion from this workshop, which was held in collaboration with Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).
The aim of the reparations roundtable discussion was to promote an open exchange of ideas and expertise on the challenges that sexual violence survivors face in obtaining reparations in general and particularly in court-ordered instances. Participants included members of the medical, legal, academic, government, and non-government communities, and all expressed interest in exploring meaningful ways to secure reparations for survivors of sexual violence.
This summary report is divided into four parts: (1) an overview of the legal context for awarding reparations to sexual violence survivors in the DRC; (2) a discussion of the barriers to accessing justice and remedies; (3) a detailed account of the barriers to securing reparations; and (4) short- and long-term recommendations raised at the roundtable and potential topics for future discussions.
Prior to the reparations roundtable, PHR had worked with students at SIPA and asked them to evaluate an initiative led by the American Bar Association that helps sexual violence survivors seek justice through their flagship program, Mobile Gender Courts. Mobile Courts conduct military and civilian trials in some of the most remote areas of the DRC. The final SIPA report evaluates reparations awarded by courts in the DRC to survivors of sexual violence, and the extent to which these reparations are being implemented.