Eastern Congo

Joint Declaration on Mixed Chambers and ICC Implementing Legislation

Enough joined a coalition of Congolese and international organizations convened by Human Rights Watch to press the Congolese government to pass critical legislation that will pave a path for high-level accountability for atrocities in Congo. Two laws currently pending in parliament are crucial to the establishment of specialized mixed chambers in Congo, which would prosecute perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including rape and sexual enslavement. The chambers would be located in Congo and trials would be carried out in collaboration by local and international judges, lawyers and investigators. Local access and ownership over justice for atrocities are crucial, and with the help of international funding, oversight and expertise, the mixed chambers hold enormous promise for carrying out fair, balanced, and sophisticated prosecutions, with emphasis on due process rights and victim and witness support and protection. 

Germain Katanga, center, awaits the start of his trial at the ICC. (AP)

April is Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month

GenPrevCover

April is designated as Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month each year, as it marks important anniversaries for multiple acts of genocide in the 20th century. Throughout the month, individuals and organizations join together to commemorate and honor victims and survivors, educate the public about past and contemporary genocides, and advocate for prevention against future mass atrocities. To support activists as they take action in their communities this April, the Enough Project has teamed up with partner organizations to create a Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month Toolkit.  Read More »

Interrupting the Silence: Addressing Congo's Sexual Violence Crisis within the Great Lakes Regional Peace Process

Sexual and gender-based violence, or SGBV, has been a defining feature of a complex armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that has endured for decades that is rooted in economic, political, land, and ethnic competition.

DR Congo: US, UN Must Address Sexual Violence in Peace Process

Date: 
Mar 20, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Carine Umuhumuza, cumuhumuza@enoughproject.org, 202-478-5314

DR Congo: US, UN Must Address Sexual Violence in Peace Process 

Washington, D.C. — Addressing sexual and gender-based violence—a defining feature of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo—is critical to the success of Congo’s peace process, argues a new Enough Project report released today. The report, “Interrupting the Silence: Addressing Congo’s Sexual Violence Crisis within the Great Lakes Regional Peace Process,” urges U.S. and U.N. policymakers to integrate tools to end sexual and gender-based violence and to address the links between sexual violence, and the economic and political drivers of war in Congo’s peace process.

In the Congo, sexual and gender-based violence, or SGBV, is a tool of war, committed often in tandem with other human rights violations, including land grabs, illicit minerals trading, and forced displacement. Rape and other forms of sexual violence have been used to instill fear, distrust, and shame and manipulate group psychologies, which in turn weaken community networks, and undermine the protection of women and children. Discourse on SGBV in the context of war has long been isolated from topics of conflict economics and security in Congo. Additionally, the lack of reliable statistics on SGBV in Congo has hindered a holistic understanding of the problem, despite increased international attention in the past several years.  New research, however, highlights its inextricable links with the conflict as a whole and affirm the scale and severity of the problem and its impact on Congolese society. 

Holly Dranginis, Enough Project Policy Associate and author of the report, says: 

"Women are still being raped in Congo at very high rates, and severe stigma maintains its grasp on survivors. Perpetrators are getting away with these crimes. Congo’s peace process, with its renewed momentum and unprecedented international support, presents an opportunity to stop this horror. We need practical policy changes to protect women and girls and sophisticated, high-level prosecutions to send a clear message that those who use rape to exert power and control will not go unpunished."

“Interrupting the Silence” warns that the exclusion of SGBV and women’s empowerment in the greater peace process could undermine the development of a truly peaceful post-conflict society. To combat this, the report recommends that international and regional stakeholders emphasize the empowerment and inclusion of women within the peace agenda, including: 

  • Decision-making opportunities in the the Great Lakes Women’s Platform, launched by U.N. Special Envoy Mary Robinson last month; 
  • Assisting in the establishment of a mixed chamber to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity, including SGBV; and 
  • Integrating a gendered perspective into security sector reform and DDR programs.

The continued transformation of eastern Congo’s minerals sector, particularly gold, into a formalized, conflict-free trade would also combat sexual violence by providing economic opportunities for women and pushing armed groups out of mines they often control by committing rape, sexual torture, and enslavement against civilians.

John Prendergast, Enough Project Co-Founder, says:

"Sexual violence is a tool of social control and terror. It is impossible to separate as its own crisis isolated from rebel offensives, illicit minerals trading, and security sector reform. For high-level policymakers to drive an effective peace process, sexual violence must be addressed alongside these more traditional economic and political challenges and with the same urgency and commitment."

Read the report: http://www.enoughproject.org/files/InterruptingtheSilence_AddressingCongosSexualViolenceCrisiswithintheGreatLakesRegionalPeaceProcess.pdf

New Report: Interrupting the Silence, Addressing Congo's Sexual Violence Crisis

A victim of a mass rape campaign in the town of Fizi, Democratic Republic of Con

Sexual and gender-based violence, or SGBV, has been a defining feature of a complex armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that has endured for decades and is rooted in economic, political, land, and ethnic competition.  Read More »

Enough, NGO Coalition Letter to UN on Congo Peacekeeping Mission

The United Nations Security Council is currently debating the extension of the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo, which is up for renewal on April 1, 2014. Together with Oxfam, World Vision, and five other non-governmental organizations, the Enough Project published an open letter to the Security Council giving recommendations for MONUSCO on civilian protection, governance, and the peace process.   Read More »

Joint INGO Letter to the United Nations Security Council Renewal of MONUSCO Mandate

The United Nations Security Council is currently debating the extension of the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo, which is up for renewal on April 1, 2014. Together with Oxfam, World Vision, and five other non-governmental organizations, the Enough Project published an open letter to the Security Council giving recommendations for MONUSCO on civilian protection, governance, and the peace process. 

Joint NGO Letter Urging the Swift Implementation of Robust DDR Program

A group of NGOs working in Congo sent a letter to the World Bank, expressing concern about the lack of progress and development of the DDR plan know as "DDR III." The other NGO signatories to the letter include International Alert, Tearfund, Norwegian Refugee Council, Christian Aid, World Vision, Care, the International Rescue Committee, and ZoA International.

Enough Project, Other NGOs to World Bank: Effective DDR Program Needed in Congo

Since the defeat of the M23 in eastern Congo, around 8,000 combatants of other rebel groups surrendered to the Congolese army. The surrenders are a very positive development, but the Congolese government together with are slow to put in place a robust disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration program (DDR). They risk losing a great opportunity for peace.  Read More »

Five Stories You May Have Missed This Week

A weekly round up of must-read stories, posted every Friday.  Read More »

Syndicate content