Periodically having to suspend operations on the ground due to escalations of conflict, IHRLG has worked side by side with Congolese human rights and civil society leaders since 1995 as they have struggled to report massive human rights violations in a context of impunity and promote the country's achievement of peace and transition to democracy.
Years of war in the DRC, at times involving eight African countries and several rebel factions, have resulted in one of the most catastrophic humanitarian and human rights situations in Africa. Over 2 million Congolese people are internally displaced and hundreds of thousands are refugees in neighboring countries. All sides to the conflict have subjected the civilian population to severe violations, including massacres, torture, looting, rape and other sexual violence, and forced displacement in a context where no mechanisms of law enforcement or justice exist to provide protection or redress to victims.
A slow-moving peace process began with the signing of the Lusaka Peace Accord in 1999. Its provisions for an Inter-Congolese Dialogue, between the political opposition, armed opposition, civil society and the Congolese government, evoked hope among the civilian population and the international community for reconciliation and the defining of a new political framework for the country. As political negotiations develop, IHRLG staff in Kinshasa and Bukavu ensure civil society involvement through training and partnering with human rights leaders and legal professionals in government-controlled and rebel-held areas as they examine key challenges to transitional justice and areas requiring institutional and legal reform (including a draft constitution, bill of rights and a nationality law), address specific violations (including violence against women, arbitrary arrest and illegal detention), press for greater access to justice, and advocate for the application of ratified international human rights treaties.
Click on the links below to learn more about IHRLG activities in the DRC
Training and partnering with NGOs to build an effective and viable human rights movement
Mobilizing communities to seek better access to justice
Promoting access to justice by strengthening legal service providers
Reinforcing civil society participation in Congo's peace process and transition to democracy