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In a report released today, “Time Works Against Justice: Ending Impunity in Eastern Congo,” the Enough Project looks at the historical precedent of a failed Congolese justice system and its far reaching effects on the peace and reconciliation process. The paper delves into the historical context for the culture of impunity in Congo and describes both the daily injustices and the blatantly egregious high-level examples of corruption that perpetuate a culture of fear, hopelessness, and resentment among the civilian population.
Faced with a constant slate of storyboards pitching “us versus them” versions of the world, filmmaker and social activist Mike Ramsdell asks the question, “What if we decided to tell each other stories that unite? That empower? That engage?”
Instead of taking the common, distant approach towards telling the story of Congo, Ramsdell, in his recent TEDx talk, offers what he hopes will be a more effective strategy for galvanizing action.
Amani Matabaro sits surrounded by 16 women from Mumosho, the village in eastern Congo where he was born and raised. He translates from Mashi and Swahili into English, so the women can share their lives, their experiences of trauma, and their hopes with us. As volunteers who run Action Kivu in support of Amani’s Congolese non-profit, Cate Haight and I recently traveled to Congo, ringing in 2012 in Bukavu and Mumosho, surrounded by the women and children whom Amani serves through education assistance, sewing workshops, micro-finance loans, and much more.
Rebecca Snavely wrote this guest post.
Sexual and gender-based violence, or SGBV, does not just affect an individual but also has the power to permeate an entire community. Often these acts are carried out during periods of conflict or post-conflict transitions when rule of law is weak and a culture of impunity reigns.
In the Congo alone an estimated 48 women are raped every hour, according to a study published last year by the American Journal of Public Health. The prevalence of SGBV in Congo indicates a systematic breakdown of societal norms, paving the way for further violence and destruction.
The outcome of the November Congolese presidential election has gained international attention and sparked serious legitimacy concerns. In the wake of post-election tensions, Congress has reached across bipartisan lines to call for increased U.S. involvement in Congo.