Democratic Republic of the Congo
Thematic: Humanitarian Norms – Child Protection – Famine – Gender – Medical Care
The armed conflict in the DRC takes its roots in the 1994 genocide in neighbouring Rwanda. Massive displacement and violence spilled to the DRC, leading to the emergence of multiple armed non-State actors and widespread violence toward civilians. For more than two decades, armed clashes, political instability and human rights violations have weakened the country and had disastrous effects on civilian populations.
Geneva Call has been active in the DRC since 2014 and is working on several thematics:
- Humanitarian access
- Protection of health care
- Protection of children and education
- Prohibition of sexual and gender-based violence
Geneva Call’s impact in the DRC
• Following Geneva Call’s dialogue and engagement with the leadership of Collective Movement for Change (CMC) – Forces de Défense du Peuple (FDP) group, 30 children enrolled within their forces were released. The CMC leadership is currently carrying out an assessment within their units aiming to replicate the action and release other children that may be still enrolled within the group.
• Similarly, six children were released by the Alliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign Congo (APCLS) group in Masisi territory. This release is a result of the implementation of the Deed of Commitment for the Protection of Children from the Effects of Armed Conflict, signed in 2016 with the group.
• As a result of Geneva Call’s advocacy and engagement with the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) and another ANSA, both operating in Masisi, two occupied schools have been released, respectively in September 2021 and December 2021.
• In July 2021, during clashes in Nyabiondo between the FARDC and APCLS, the latter refrained from attacking the loyal forces who had taken refuge in the health center, thanks to Geneva Call’s long-term engagement and IHL promotion.
• Geneva Call’s engagement with the leadership of the CMC led in the signature of two unilateral declarations (April 2021), namely on the protection of children and schools and the protection of medical mission. This is part of the process leading to the expected signing of the Deed of Commitment for the protection
of health care in armed conflict in 2022.
• As a result of Geneva Call’s work with CMC, the group took concrete steps at launching the revision of its internal policies.
Documents such as internal regulations, combatant code, military penal code, etc., are being reviewed so as to increase compliance with IHL.
• Following the kidnapping of four staff of an INGO in May 2021 in Masisi Territory, Geneva Call was involved in advocating with the ANSA leadership who controlled the area. After discussions and
dialogue, the hostages were released two days later.
• As a result of Geneva Call’s advocacy work realized with one armed group active in Masisi, pregnant women were facilitated access to health posts without paying the taxes usually imposed by the group.
• Throughout 2021, Geneva Call strengthened its work with the communities including round tables, awareness sessions, training sessions, media campaigns, etc. At the end of these various events, unilateral declarations for improved humanitarian access were signed by the populations, including local authorities.
MORE THAN 110 CHILDREN have left armed groups in North Kivu
1 ANSA has signed 2 Deeds of Commitment
9 DIFFERENT ANSAS in the DRC have been engaged on one or more thematic area
5.6 MILLION PEOPLE are estimated to be internally displaced (source: UNHCR)
850,000 CONGOLESE REFUGEES live in neighbouring countries (source: UNHCR)
Arz Alam – COUNTRY DIRECTOR