Par Ryan Worms Alors que je pars prendre le dernier vol international au départ de Kinshasa, la ville est sous tension, la violence gronde. Que sera la ville demain ou mardi à l’annonce des résultats? Nous espérons tous que le chemin de la paix sera trouvé, mais rien n’est moins sûr. Les derniers évènements et déclarations des uns et des autres n’augurent rien de bon pour la population congolaise. Je quitte la République démocratique du Congo avec de nombreuses images dans la tête. Je me souviens des tensions de mon arrivée le samedi 26 novembre alors que l’armée et la police encerclaient l’aéroport international où était réfugié Étienne Tshisekedi, leader de l’opposition.
Available in French By Ryan Worms in Kinshasa and Caritas staff The Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo says the country is on a collision course with disaster unless it pulls back from the brink of violence following last week’s contested elections. “The country is a high speed train heading straight for a brick wall,” said the President of Congo’s Bishops Conference Bishop Nicolas Djomo. “Politicians must apply the brakes of this train before we hit the wall.” Foreign nationals have been urged to leave the country, international flights will be cancelled and cell phone coverage cut ahead of the announcement of results. Caritas Congo is on emergency footing preparing tents and food should violence break out and force people from their homes. Caritas is preparing to feed 6000 street children tomorrow to ensure they receive a meal as instability continues.
Various cases of violence have been reported on the sidelines of the double presidential and general elections held in the DRC on 28 November. The Congolese people are holding their breath ahead of announcement of the presidential election results, which should be made on Tuesday 6 December by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The Caritas Internationalis delegation, which is staying in Kinshasa, was informed that a 20-year-old man, called Léandre, was shot dead while observing the posting of initial results at a polling station near his home. The incident took place in the Banunu neighbourhood, in the municipality of Matete, at 9:30pm on Monday. The delegation saw the young man's body and met his family. His father asked us to report his account. (See the account of the young man's father below) "If the violence escalates on announcement of the results, we will be ready to respond to the needs [...]
Available in English Pour la double élection présidentielle et législative, la population congolaise était fortement mobilisée et déterminée à aller voter, particulièrement la jeunesse. Innocente a 20 ans, elle est étudiante. « Je suis ici pour le développement de mon pays. Je souhaite que les parents puissent envoyer leurs enfants à l’école et que les étudiants aient accès à des bourses d’études comme par le passé. » Aujourd’hui elle est venue voter et est également témoin pour un candidat à la députation à Kinshasa. » Comme elle, Mwanwa est témoin pour un parti politique. Lorsque nous l’avions rencontré dans la matinée, elle n’avait pas réussi à trouver le bureau de vote désigné pour son travail d’observation du processus électoral. « Je suis déterminée, je vais rester toute la journée s’il le faut. Participer à cette élection, c’est mon devoir et personne ne pourra m’empêcher de le faire, je n’ai pas […]
À Kinshasa, nous avons pu observer hier, lundi 28 novembre, le déroulement de la double élection présidentielle et législative dans différents bureaux de vote. Ce processus électoral est contrasté. D’un côté, dans les bureaux de vote où nous étions présents, nous avons vu une forte mobilisation de la population et un dépouillement transparent et sans incident à signaler. Mais, d’un autre côté, d’importants problèmes logistiques ont compliqué le déroulement du scrutin et créé des tensions au sein de la population. Des bureaux de vote n’ont pas reçu le matériel à temps et ont été obligés de retarder leur ouverture provoquant l’impatience des personnes arrivées tôt le matin pour remplir leur devoir de citoyen.
By Ryan Worms in Kinshasa Kinshasa is tense. As I arrive Saturday evening, there is a heavy presence of state security and the police . Today is the last day of the general election campaign in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Political rallies were cancelled in the capital under the orders of the city governor, André Kimbuta Yango. The decision follows clashes between rival political parties and the deaths of two people. The airport is a flash point. Opposition candidate Etienne Tshisekedi has been blocked at the international airport of N' Djili. He had come to join his supporters despite being banned. At the offices of Caritas Congo, we follow the changing situation. The hope is that the end of the electoral campaign can make it possible to calm the spirits before the vote of Monday. Français Arrivée ce soir à Kinshasa. La ville est sous tension, quadrillée par les forces de sécurité de l’état et la [...]
On 28 November 2011, Congo held its second democratic election since a 1998-2003 war in which as many as 5 million people are estimated to have died. Despite a formal peace accord eight years ago, Congo still faces simmering conflicts with rebels in its east. Caritas Congo and the Church in Congo have been part of peacebuilding efforts throughout the country to campaign for a peaceful election and monitored the November 2011 elections. The election commission delivered millions of ballot papers to more than 50,000 polling stations, in a country of 2,345,000 square kilometres (77 times the size of former colonial ruler Belgium). Although some violence was reported during the week of November 28, Caritas hopes the outcome of the elections is a peaceful Congo. Caritas Internationalis Ryan Worms is monitoring the elections with Caritas Congo. Please follow his reports on our blog. Media contact mobile : +39 335 823 4233 and email email@example.com
The Congolese will go to the polls in November to elect a new president. The country held its first democratic election in 45 years in 2006 following a long conflict. The vote ran relatively smoothly despite fears of violence. Caritas Congo has met with other Catholic agencies from Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, the US, the UK and Spain to plan how to best prepare communities for the upcoming elections. Bruno Miteyo, secretary general of Caritas Congo, explains some of the issues around voting. The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) are wondering if the elections will really be democratic and if they’ll be an expression of their will – or if they’ll be manipulated in a way that the outcome reflects a decision that has already been taken by others Our main worry at Caritas Congo is security before, during and after the election and how the election will be organised. [...]
Available in French Click here to read the entire comic strip In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), violence against women is a frequent problem. Rape has become a weapon of war in the country. In many instances, armed men will overrun a village, attack the inhabitants, rape the women, destroy crops and leave in their wake a path of terror and destruction. For those who manage to escape, they must return to their villages in the aftermath and try to heal the wounds left behind and re-build their communities with a culture of peace.
“It will still take a lot of time and effort to build a stable peace in Congo,” said Guezing Kizinga, in charge of Caritas Congo’s disarmament, demobilization and socio-economic programmes for ex-combatants. “But slowly, the ideas and concepts of peaceful conflict resolution we promote through our peacebuilding workshops will become part of people’s ways of thinking and everyday behaviour.” Caritas in Congo works with former combatants, in particular child soldiers, as part of the National Disarmament and Demobilization Programme. Around 24,000 former soldiers and the communities they live in are supported through this programme. Former combatants, especially ex-child soldiers, need help not only to receive schooling or to find a job but also to readapt to life in a peaceful environment. “We mainly work with the soldiers themselves through discussion, role plays or other activities but we also promote awareness raising and tolerance within the communities they live in. Former soldiers are often [...]
Caritas works in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo by providing humanitarian relief to victims of the conflict through Caritas Goma. Life as a survivor of sexual violence In ten parishes, Caritas Goma has set up centres where rape victims can get help from psychologists. “The most important part of my work is to give my patients hope and self-confidence. They can then obtain a microcredit,” said Frédéric Lulizene, a psychologist working in this programme. “If we don’t manage to do that, they will remain victims for life.” Caritas employs “Justice and Peace” consultants in each parish. They encourage women to share their problems. Very often, rape victims don’t ask for help by fear of being stigmatized. Sexual violence has become a major problem in Congo. Following to a survey from the United Nations, 8.000 women were raped in 2009 only in the East of the country. The project is supported by Caritas Australia. Life as a [...]
More than six million people have died as a result of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1998. We asked Joseph Donnelly, Caritas Internationalis Permanent Delegate at the UN in New York, if the international community is closing its eyes? JD: A multi-million dollar UN-peace keeping operation has been in Congo for 10 years. More than 22,000 men and women have been sent. The international community is making efforts, but the strategy may not be right. How can it be that the number of civilians dying and in extreme need is still rising? How come we have the worst humanitarian crisis in the world there since the Second World War? The peace force is not effective. Something else is needed. The Congolese Bishops Conference has been saying this all over the last year. The focus of international support needs to focus on the protection of the civilians. Why focus on [...]
Caritas is providing humanitarian relief for 12,000 families forced from their homes by ethnic conflict in the north west of the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo DR). The fighting is taking place in a remote part of the country. Over a hundred thousand people have fled their homes due to the violence. Caritas is helping both people internally displaced in Congo DR and about 8000 families who have crossed the border into neighbouring Republic of Congo (also known as Congo Brazzaville) Refugees have fled to settlements on the Oubangui river that divides Congo DR from Congo Brazzaville. The area they are in is only accessible by boat or plane. The relief work is a joint operation by Caritas members in Congo DR and in Congo Brazzaville. “These people lack everything. Food, clean water, household goods, school supplies…Fleeing the violence, they had to leave everything behind,” said Boniface Nakwagelewi, in charge of emergencies at Caritas [...]
“All I want is for an end to this war so my family can return to our village,” said Sophie Kenzia. The people of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo were just aching to go home. They wanted safety, a dry bed and regular meals. What they got was rape, killing or a grim life in camps as they tried to escape fighting between the government and rebels. Sophie fled with her four children to a camp supported by Caritas. Tragically, she had a miscarriage on the journey. Caritas appealed for US $5.5 million to help 150,000 people like Sophie. Caritas distributed food and provided clothes, household items and toiletries to help people cover their basic needs. In December, Caritas brought a delegation of Congolese bishops to Washington, the UN in New York, Paris, Brussels, and Rome to plead for an end to the war. “End the killing fields,” the bishops urged. Rapes, targeted [...]