DRC: Geneva Call starts discussions with key provincial stakeholders on civilian protection
15 July 2014
In July 2014, Geneva Call gathered in Goma influential people who are aware of the dynamics of armed non-State actors (ANSAs) and could potentially support Geneva Call in its effort to protect civilians in the conflict in North Kivu.
A group of elderly community representatives from Goma, called the Baraza, selected provincial Members of Parliament, community-based and civil society organizations were engaged in dialogue and sensitized to international humanitarian norms, in particular the protection of children and the prohibition of sexual violence in armed conflict.
The meeting aimed at making an inventory of local capacities to address protection issues. The strategy of intervention of Geneva Call in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was also discussed. The Congolese stakeholders offered to support Geneva Call’s engagement and dialogue with ANSAs on the protection of civilians.
Though themselves victims of the conflict, communities also maintain complex family and ethnic relationships with many of the ANSAs and they could be entry points for Geneva Call to reach combatants and encourage them to abide by international humanitarian norms.
From now on, Geneva Call will be piloting its activities from its newly-established office in Goma. It is hoped that this permanent presence will make a difference and be able to sustain the dialogue with actors who have a responsibility to protect civilians.
About 40 armed groups and militias are active in Eastern DRC.