The Democratic Republic of Congo is working to rein in the sexual violence that has plagued the country for two decades, but rape remains rampant, UN rights chief Navi Pillay said Tuesday.

“Sexual and gender-based violence remain alarmingly prevalent, … both in the eastern provinces and in the rest of the country,” Pillay told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

In the conflict areas in the eastern part of DR Congo, which have been wracked by violence for nearly 20 years, “sexual violence is used as a weapon of war to intimidate local communities and to punish civilians for real or suspected collaboration with rival forces,” she lamented.

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