Return from mission in the DRC
- 25 October 2016
At present, the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has become worrisome due to the political and social instability and a climate of widespread insecurity, especially in the North Kivu and South Kivu regions. The civil population in those provinces located in the east of the DRC are victims of constant violence and live under the threat of different armed rebel groups that the regular armed forces cannot contain. In this context, the defenders of human rights have a very important role and report the violations of human rights committed against the population.
Faouzi Boujnaih, our Project Manager, was there in October 2016 for the implementation of the RISK project (Reinforcement of the Initiatives to Rescue the defenders of Kivu), launched in May 2016 with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. He tells us about his mission.
In what context did the mission took place?
This first trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo was meant for me to meet with our local partners and to agree on the work method allowing them to pursue their activities in favour of fundamental rights defence. Due to the combined actions of AEDH and three organisations in the DRC, we hope to guarantee the security of the defenders of human rights in this sensitive region and to support the rule of law on the long term.
Can you introduce us to the local organisations that are AEDH’s partners?
In this project, we work with three organisations:
SUWE : Synergie Ukingo Wetu brings together eight human rights organisations and partners with the branches present in the province in order to investigate alert the cases of alerts and to develop protection strategies. The SUWE also participates in the improvement of work method for local human rights organisations.
SOS IJM : SOS Information Juridique Multi-Sectorielle work in favour of promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Organisation particularly work on human rights in rural areas and is involved in several fields of actions: legal assistance, legal training, conflict litigation, trial monitoring, child protection in conflict areas and the security of defenders of human rights.
ARAL : L'Arche d’Alliance has an observatory and investigative mission on the situation of human rights in the Kivu area. The collected information then allows them to report violations of fundamental rights. Training sessions are also organisation for younger people.
What were the objectives of this mission? Have they been achieved?
Two main objectives have been achieved:
- Bring methodological tools to reinforce the capacity of partner organisations in security and protection of the defenders of human rights.
- Training in psychological support by the representatives of the APEC organisations (Psycho-social-educative Action in favour of children and adults in conflict with the law). It is very important for people working within these organisation to sport individuals suffering from PTSD so as to redirect them to specialised organisations. Also, these interventions allow us to give stress management tools to our partner associations, often confronted to stressful circumstances.
Did you encounter notorious difficulties?
Overall, the mission was as planned. Certainly, the amount of work turned out to be substantial and the planning very busy but we managed to achieve the main objectives on time.
What is the next stage for the RISK project?
Our goal is to determine a unique work environment through the implementation of common work method but also through the development of activities to encourage the cooperation and the exchange between the different committed actors, with as the ultimate goal the guarantee of the security of human rights defenders in the Kivu area.
For more information on the RISK project, check our website.