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Beatrice, 27

Refugee from South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, now living in Bangkok, Thailand.

I came into conflict with the Congolese Army. I used to work for an association for the defence of human rights. The Congolese army and the rebels were raping women and the army kept accusing the rebels, but, in fact, the Congolese army were doing it as well. One day in March 2010 the rebels came to the village, stole a lot of things and raped many women. When they left, the Congolese Army came and did the same. I wrote a report about these events and submitted it to the Territorial Commission for the Fight against Sexual Violence (CTLVS). Shortly after, soldiers came to their offices and threatened us. That night three soldiers from the Congolese army came to my house, handcuffed me and took me somewhere in the area. They beat me and said they were going to kill me.

In April 2010, six soldiers came to my house, taped my mouth shut and tied me down to my bed. They told me that since I had reported them for raping women they would now rape me. All six soldiers raped me. I lost consciousness. They just left me there, I was in agony, I couldn’t even walk. Eventually I went to a health centre with the help of my parents and sister since I couldn’t walk by myself. On my way home from the health centre two men called out my name and told me that they had been instructed to kill me. They tried to drag me off the main road but I screamed and some people came to help me and put me in a taxi to take me to hospital. But I told the taxi driver to take me home, not to the hospital, because I was scared these men would come and find me there. When I got home my family was there but I was scared even there and spent the night in a tree.

Very early the next day I fled to Burundi. The person who picked me up there told me that my life was in danger in Africa and suggested I go to Thailand. I accepted and she put me in touch with someone who helped me to get a passport in Burundi and another person who helped me get the visa in Kenya.

Two weeks after I arrived in Bangkok, I went to UNHCR to register. At first I stayed with a Senegalese family but after the floods they returned to Senegal and I went to stay with friends of theirs. Then I went to live with a Djiboutian woman for two months. From there I moved to a new room with a Cameroonian woman. I’ve been living there for three months now.

I applied for refugee status but was refused in December. They said I hadn’t provided enough information about my work in Congo. After I was rejected by UNHCR I went to Asylum Access. I’m now waiting for their reply. I knit some scarves to make a bit of money and my Pakistani neighbours give me some food. I want to get refugee status and be relocated to a third country. I will only receive support for six months so I will have to leave my room soon and I don’t know what to do, it hurts my head. I don’t feel able to talk about the future. It is the present that prepares for the future and my present is misery. One day I would love to work and be independent but right now I sometimes don’t even have the money to buy water.