Democratic Republic of Congo

FMR 36
November 2010

The Democratic Republic of Congo is unfortunately synonymous with its dreadful past and its terrible present, despite its beauty, complex history and unachieved potential. Locked not only into its own internal troubles but also into those of the Great Lakes region, it has provided more than enough material on forced migration, violence and political quagmires for the latest issue of FMR.

While the articles contained in this issue of FMR make grim reading, they also offer glimmers of hope for better outcomes, at least potentially, alongside analysis of how and why these things have been happening. Authors come from Congolese civil society, UN agencies and NGOs, Congolese and donor governments, and international research – and include articles by the former UN Relief Coordinator John Holmes and the former Humanitarian Coordinator in DRC Ross Mountain. This issue also contains a further seven articles on other forced migration-related subjects.

Contents

John Holmes

While the crisis in the Kivus has been a focus of action and advocacy by the international community for decades, further conflicts characterised by massive internal and cross-border displacements have been proliferating in all four corners of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Pierre Jacquemot

The conflict in eastern Congo has been the most deadly one since the second World War, and its social consequences have been disastrous. Solutions to the conflict – which has its roots in politics, in demographics and in economics – must look to the long term.

Bernard Mumpasi Lututala

Forced migration is not new to DRC but its extent and its consequences are still shocking. Good governance and research must play a stronger role if life is to improve for the citizens of DRC.

Greta Zeender and Jacob Rothing

Internal displacement has plagued the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for nearly 20 years. This article provides an overview of the scale and causes of displacement during this period as well as efforts to address the assistance and protection needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Jessica Keralis

The sexual violence laws introduced in DRC in 2006 have had only limited impact. A much louder condemnation of rape and a far more proactive approach to prevention are urgently needed.

Sarah Mosely, Talita Cetinoglu and Marit Glad

While service provision for survivors of sexual violence is the top priority, protection for women and girls can also be improved in DRC.

Melanie Teff and Camilla Campisi

While there has been more focus on assistance to survivors of sexual violence after they have been attacked, not enough resources or political attention are devoted to preventing these acts of violence from occurring in the first place. 

Oumar Sylla

A survey conducted by UNHCR in 2009 in IDP camps in North Kivu shows that access to land is the second factor after security which prevents people from returning to their zone of origin.

Baptiste Raymond

Unmanaged resettlement of IDPs in eastern DRC might threaten an already fragile security situation.

Timothy Raeymaekers

In preparing for a post-conflict DRC, we should be more aware of young people’s aspirations, the opportunities open to them, and the challenges they face in building a decent life.

Kai Schmidt-Soltau

There is an increasing number of people who are being evicted from DRC’s ‘protected areas’ both by the government and by international conservation organisations.

Axel Poullard

Addressing the fate of children who are recruited into armed conflicts is not as simple as demanding their exclusion from those conflicts.

Josephine, 18 years old, was interviewed in September 2010 in Niangara Territory, Oriental Province, by Oxfam staff.

Ross Mountain

The UN integrated mission in DRC and the piloting of humanitarian reform there have been necessarily innovative in a challenging context.

Seb Fouquet

Donor engagement in DRC is more important than ever – but donors need to reassess their strategies.

François Tuyihimbaze Rucogoza

While North Kivu is still mired in the troubles of yesterday and today, the Administration is actively planning for the creation of a better future.

Pierre Sossou, Boanerges M’Paty and Fulgence Buzika

Local organisations in Bandundu province located in western DRC are struggling to meet the needs of displaced persons in the absence of government or international assistance.

Marie Godin and Mado Chideka

Congolese women are energetically engaged in peacebuilding, both in DRC and abroad.Their voices – inspired by different experiences and presenting different perspectives – deserve greater recognition.

Arnila Santoso

Misunderstanding of the nature of civil society in the Kivus and exclusion of grassroots representatives are implicated in the failure of the peace processes in DRC. 

Laura Jacqueline Church

Effective provision of aid and protection for those displaced in eastern DRC requires reliable data – which the new Data Centre in North Kivu is helping to provide. 

Emma Fanning

Local protection committees in North and South Kivu are tackling – with some success – a range of protection challenges.

 

Kokoévi Sossouvi

Cash vouchers offer flexibility, enabling payment for school fees as well as for basic necessities. They also empower people who, in displacement, have been deprived of choice. 

Recent years have seen the introduction of new initiatives to promote safe access to appropriate cooking fuel in humanitarian settings. Congolese NGOs are active in promoting these initiatives and urging greater international focus on the issues at stake.

Veronika Talviste

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) combines its protection and assistance activities and focuses on ‘priority zones’ where armed actors (the national army or armed opposition groups) are present.

Alena Koscalova, Elena Lucchi and Sabine Kampmüller

Current assessment tools and intervention strategies are based mainly on experience of camp-like situations; what is needed are innovative responses to address problems specific to open settings.

Boubacar Toure, Hélène Harroff-Tavel, Sara Casey and Tegan Culler

The cascade training model has brought clinical training closer to the areas in DRC most in need of skilled staff to serve conflict-affected women experiencing complications in pregnancy and childbirth.

Maria Lange

Since independence, violent conflicts in eastern DRC have been linked to access to land, affirmation of ethnic identities and competition for political control.

Fergus Thomas

Durable returns of IDPs and refugees into some of the most densely populated areas in eastern DRC are never going to be a simple exercise.

Steve Hege

After international agreements covering the return of refugees to Equateur and North Kivu, the challenge is to create local structures that can make the agreements work.

Vanessa Noël Brown

Parties to the protracted Congolese conflict have long promoted fear of ‘the other’ and a thirst for revenge; these attitudes must be addressed if peace is to have a chance.

General articles

Taghrid Hashim Ahmed

The most probable outcome of the 2011 referendum is that Southern Sudan secedes from the North, breaking Sudan into two independent nation states.

Adam Saltsman

Central to Iraqi refugees’ efforts to resolve the question of their immediate future is their access to good information about resettlement and return.

Freddy A Guerrero and Estefanía Vanegas

Displaced people in Colombia are resorting to mass demonstrations to persuade their government to assume its responsibilities towards them.

Victoria Ijeoma Nwogu

When women migrants return, they can face daunting challenges to re-integration but can also contribute to development and transforming societies. 

Maria Stavropoulou

The Kampala Convention breaks new ground in elevating the right to be protected from arbitrary displacement to a binding legal norm.

Ana Paula Penchaszadeh

The desire to categorise all those seeking refuge throws up continuing challenges to traditions of hospitality and to the realisation of migrants’ rights.

Lucia Cipullo and Jeff Crisp

New UNHCR research investigates the motivations for and challenges associated with the migration of young Afghans to Europe.

Disclaimer
Opinions in FMR do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors, the Refugee Studies Centre or the University of Oxford.
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