Ce rapport cherche à déterminer si les violences sexuelles peuvent toujours être considérées comme une arme de guerre dans l’est de la République démocratique du Congo et se penche sur les raisons pouvant expliquer de tels niveaux de violence. Malgré la signature d’un accord de paix global en 2003 (accords de Lusaka), l’organisation d’élections en RDC en 2006 et la signature de divers accords de paix locaux avec les groupes armés congolais du Nord et du Sud-Kivu en 2008 et 2009, la guerre n’est pas encore finie dans l’est de la RDC. Du point de vue de la population, avant même les autres formes d’insécurité physique, comme les raids, enlèvements, pillages des biens et du bétail, incendies des habitations et meurtres, l’un des principaux indicateurs de cette situation est la persistance des violences sexuelles.
Much of the violent conflict in Burundi, Rwanda and the Kivu provinces of Congo over the past fifty years has been because of discrimination—and political, social and economic exclusion. In the worst cases the extreme intolerance of people of a different ethnic identity has taken the form of massacres and genocide.
This first report from the Regional Analysts Network, based on three separate, detailed studies of different locations in the Great Lakes region, demonstrates the power of rumours, myths, stereotypes and prejudices to fuel conflict. Based on interviews with ordinary citizens as well as political decision-makers and opinion-leaders, the report presents material which has hitherto been little documented, and draws original conclusions that will be of interest to a wide readership. This consolidated report makes concrete and practical recommendations, and will help decision-makers both inside and outside the Great Lakes by throwing light on the conflict issues affecting this complex region.
The overall goal of the project is to empower citizens to challenge actual and perceived threats to human security and personal safety experienced by vulnerable members of the community, especially women and girls in war-affected countries and communities of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The project focuses on the human security experienced by women and girls in the Mano River Union countries, taking into consideration the peace and harmony that has eluded these three countries for so long and offering an opportunity to promote dialogues and social interactions between and amongst the peoples of the remote border communities.
The nine target communities in which Alert works are located along the borders of the three countries, in areas where cross-border communities share linguistic and cultural groups. As one of the core elements of this project, community radio stations previously established by Alert, which are located in these border communities, have been fully engaged and serve as a tool for promulgating messages of hope, peace, respect for the rule of law and security and promoting regional integration, instead of hatred and disharmony, and changing knowledge, attitudes and behaviour with regards to sexual and gender-based violence, both in terms of challenging impunity and in counteracting the stigma and ridicule often experienced by survivors.
In addition to helping to change attitudes towards sexual violence, Alert facilitates access to the use of redress mechanisms by victims by strengthening capacities among community activists to advocate so they are able to act as ‘animators’, providing assistance, guidance and support. We also contribute to more strategic and effective policies by local, national, regional and international institutions by providing training to the police and state and traditional justice personnel as well as engaging in advocacy with regional and international intergovernmental bodies.
In Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, women and young people face enormous challenges. Little or no access to education, prevailing poverty and high illiteracy levels all help to ensure that women and young people continue to be excluded from decision-making processes. Even when presented with opportunities to participate, women often shy away from these challenges, their lack of self-esteem driven by a strong sense of traditional roles for men and for women, and their lack of confidence to express their needs and interests means their views are often not taken into account. Similarly, young people have to contend with a culture which favours older men and, often isolated from decision making, find it difficult to express themselves and frequently resort to violence.
This project builds on work previously carried out by Alert and its partners to increase the participation of women in peacebuilding processes. Alert contributes to effective political participation by women and young people in West Africa by enabling community activists to facilitate training and action planning in order to build skills and confidence and thereby a culture of voicing needs and negotiating for positive changes. At the same time, Alert, through community radio stations, encourages debate in communities on the role of women and young people in public decision-making processes and uses information gleaned as a result of the project to inform and influence national, regional and international policy reform around inclusive participation.
Our overall aim is to ensure international peacebuilding policies and practice contribute to non-violent and equitable gender relations within societies. International Alert understands that conflict affects and engages men, women, boys and girls in very different ways. Violent conflict impacts on the social construction of gender identities, in particular on the militarisation of masculinity and the victimisation of femininity.
10 years ago the groundbreaking UN Resolution 1325 was passed.
This extraordinary Resolution recognises the devastating impact of conflict on women and states that women must be involved in building peace.
Whilst 1325 is extraordinary in principle, a decade later, a lack of implementation means its impact is not being felt by women.
This report considers whether or not it is still valid to describe sexual violence as a weapon of war in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and explores possible reasons for its continuing high levels. Although a global peace agreement (the Lusaka accords) was signed in 2003, elections were conducted in the DRC in 2006 and various local peace agreements were
subsequently signed with North and South Kivu Congolese armed groups in 2008 and 2009, war is not yet over in Eastern DRC. From a community perspective, one of the primary indicators
Sexual violence continues unabated in Eastern DRC, despite the signing of various peace accords from 2003 onwards and the promulgation of the 2006 Laws sanctioning sexual violence. This report focuses on community perceptions of sexual violence in Eastern DRC and shows that the persistence of sexual abuse against women but also increasingly against grown men and children is considered by communities in Eastern DRC as one the primary indicator that war is not yet over. The study examines whether the “rape as the weapon of war” analysis for sexual violence, which has become one of the main building-blocks of the international community’s response, is sufficient to explain the persistence of sexual violence, for even though military forces and rebels groups remain the primary perpetrators, sexual violence is also increasingly committed by civilians. The report argues that although it is still valid to describe sexual abuse as a weapon of war in certain circumstances in Eastern DRC, we should look at additional underlying structural factors such as poverty and scarcity of land, weakness of state structures, physical and economic insecurity. The study also examines the part played by ethnic and gender identities, gender norms and discourses as well as changing gender roles. The report proposes a number of policy recommendations to policy-makers in DRC and the wider region.
Toolkot for Advocacy and Action,
Toolkit for Advocacy and Action,
Key international policies and legal mechanisms,
Toolkit for Advocacy and Action,
UNited National Security Council Resolution 1325
European Parliament Resolution
Gender Aspects of Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding