Democratic Republic of the Congo - The Dire Working Environment for Women Human Rights Defenders

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), especially in the eastern part of the country, over two decades of armed conflict and political instability have deteriorated the working conditions for human rights defenders. In 2020, the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) documented 7,909 human rights violations and abuses throughout the DR Congo.

Despite the increase of human rights violations against women, decision makers are not doing enough to protect girls and women who are exposed to sexual violence on a daily basis—which can include rape, kidnapping and even death.

In this harsh environment, Protection International has played a critical role in supporting human rights defenders, especially women and girls, and their communities by hosting capacity building sessions on physical security and collective protection. These trainings are part of the project: “Empowerment and Protection of Women Human Rights Defenders to Contribute to Civil Crisis Prevention, Conflict Resolution and Peace Building in the Democratic Republic of Congo”.

This support has helped women and girls take concrete actions for their own security, such as the creation of a coalition of women human rights defenders from North Kivu and South Kivu. This coalition is a protection network aiming to contribute to a protective and secure environment for women human rights defenders in the DR Congo.

In this video, Protection International highlights the difficulty that women and girls face when working in a conflict zone and how the support from the German Federal Foreign Office, via the program Zivik, has contributed to improved protection of women human rights defenders in the DR Congo. We must warn that there are discussions of sexual assault and violence within the video which may be triggering. Knowing that this content is difficult, we encourage all those who watch it to please take care of your well-being.

 

A documentary by Protection International