Reducing Sexual Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Participants review materials at the event

Group photo at the end of the round-table discussion

For the past several years, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has endured repeated conflicts characterized by serious human rights violations, particularly in the eastern region of the country. 

The Embassy of Canada in Kinshasa organized a round-table discussion with non-governmental human rights advocacy organizations with a view to stimulating thinking and creating an open, productive dialogue about the development of human rights in the DRC.

The round-table allowed the opportunity for human rights advocates to share their field experiences and compare strategies, addressing issues such as access to services and the effects of social conditions created by repeated armed conflicts.

Canada encourages and supports the Congolese government in its efforts to combat human rights violations, sexual violence in particular, through a number of cooperative projects.

In support of the Congolese government’s Strategy for Growth and Poverty Reduction, Canada is working to boost the capacity of public institutions and to strengthen the Congolese health care system, with the needs of poor mothers, children and young people taking top priority.

Strong public institutions are at the core of Canada’s strategy for developing a fairer, more prosperous and more democratic Congolese state.

Improving the capacity of public institutions is also a critical step in supporting survivors of sexual violence, since it is the central government officials, local authorities and civil society of the DRC that are responsible for assisting the tens of thousands of women and girls who have been victims of sexual violence.

The round-table discussion allowed human rights advocates working in the field to come together to address common and recurring challenges, and to discuss the ways in which vulnerable populations can be supported. The event also provided an opportunity for Canada to reaffirm our ongoing commitment to human rights advocacy in the DRC.

The participants brought diverse voices and perspectives to the table, but they shared in their appreciation of the seriousness of the issues and applauded the relevance of the event.

Canada also provides humanitarian aid to those affected by armed conflicts in the DRC. Projects such as the round-table discussion are one way Canada participates directly in the fight against the heinous crime of sexual violence worldwide.