Training Sessions in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Published : 3 August 2018

Dominicans for Justice and Peace - Delegation to the UN

August 2, 2018 - The human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is more than ever the focus of the international community’s attention and under constant surveillance by the United Nations. The Dominican Order at the global level has also been concerned about the situation and has selected the DRC as a priority for the promotion of international solidarity through its annual Dominican Month for Peace, which takes place in December.

In this context, the Delegation of the Dominican Order to the United Nations, Dominicans for Justice and Peace, in 2018 identified the DRC as one of the priority countries for its advocacy in the United Nations in Geneva. The Delegation, composed of Fr. Mike Deeb OP and Ms Laurence Blattmer, therefore embarked on a mission to the DRC from 7 to 21 July 2018 to visit the Dominicans in Kinshasa and Isiro (Haut Uélé Province). As part of its mission, in collaboration with the Dominicans on the ground, the delegation organised two training sessions on the UN human rights system, the role of the civil society and the engagement of Dominicans in the promotion and protection of human rights. The training took place from July 9 to 11 in Kinshasa and from July 16 to 18 in Isiro.

Each training session brought together some forty participants from different branches of the Dominican family, Catholic organizations and non-governmental organizations active in the field of human rights.

One of the objectives of the training was to identify the key issues for each of the two regions as well as for the whole country, to familiarise participants with the United Nations human rights mechanisms in Geneva and to give them the necessary tools to make effective use of the Universal Periodic Review, a human rights review mechanism that will assess the situation in the DRC in May 2019. As a result of the interactions among the participants during the 3 days of training, the delegation was able to gather vital information on the current human rights situation in the country, which will enable it to submit a joint report to the Universal Periodic Review. Among the main concerns identified by the participants were the restriction of fundamental freedoms in Kinshasa, the prevailing insecurity in the province of Haut Uélé, the right to health and access to free education and the numerous violations of human rights around the exploitation of natural resources.

These training sessions in the DRC are part of a process of strengthening capacity on the ground. Dominicans for Justice and Peace hopes to foster a long-term collaboration with Dominicans and other civil society actors in the DRC in order to reinforce their work together on the ground and to ensure an effective promotion and protection of human rights at the national and international levels.

*Photo: painting of Sr. Anuarite, a figure in DRC of resistance against violence and armed groups.