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Along with the European Union, Belgium strongly condemns the violence in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), particularly in Ituri and North Kivu, where attacks have increased in recent days, causing numerous civilians casualties, including women and children.
Eastern DRC has been marked for many years by mass violence perpetrated by armed groups accused of war crimes and serious human rights violations. These violations primarily affect the civilian population and contribute to the worsening humanitarian situation and instability in the region. It is crucial to put an end to the activity of these armed groups and to bring those responsible for these grave violations to justice.
Human rights and the fight against impunity are at the heart of Belgian foreign policy and development cooperation priorities.
This is why Belgium has just provided support for a project on transitional justice, the fight against impunity and protection developed by the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) in the DRC, of which Belgium is one of the main donors. This involves support for the process of setting up a transitional justice commission and strengthening the judicial system at the national level, along with support for provincial processes in seven provinces particularly affected by conflict, including North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri.
Meryame Kitir, Minister of Development Cooperation: "In several Congolese provinces, people have suffered from persistent violence for years. Without punishing the perpetrators, it will be impossible to achieve reconciliation and silence the guns. This is why I have decided to support this project of the UN Human Rights Office, as it will facilitate the access of victims to justice and contribute to the fight against impunity”.
The project is based on 4 main priorities:
- The promotion of sustainable peace and reconciliation through transitional justice and the fight against impunity
- Support to victims of violence and serious crimes
- The participation and protection of civilians
- Support for the reintegration process of ex-combatants and militiamen and their participation in the transitional justice process
The gender dimension will play a central role within this project, with a specific focus on victims of sexual violence (legal, medical, psycho-social and economic support) and on the participation of women in the activities set up. A collaboration with UN Women is planned in this framework.
This support from Belgium is part of the efforts of the national authorities and regional and international partners to address the root causes of instability and insecurity in the eastern DRC, which is an essential condition for restoring lasting peace in the region.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès states: "The violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has destroyed too many innocent lives. That is why we continue to work for peace. During its mandate in the UN Security Council and still today, Belgium advocates for a more operational UN mission (MONUSCO) that is more attentive to the protection of civilians. We also contributed to the recent UN strategy for the Great Lakes to cut off the resources of armed groups. The Congolese authorities can count on our support in their efforts to bring stability to the region and protect the population”.
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