The Democratic Republic of Congo is working towards the creation of a special fund intended to assist victims of sexual violence, the government has indicated.
A roundtable to this effect was organised from March 30 to 31, 2021 and brought together representatives of the Global Survivors Fund, the Congolese National Movement of Survivors of Sexual Violence with support from the Panzi Foundation.
Participants at the roundtable, which was held in the Kinshasa Pullman Hotel, who also included institutional actors, civil society organisations, and diplomatic representatives planned and agreed on an agenda to create a National Reparations Fund.
The World Reparations Fund was launched in 2019 by Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukwege after he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018.
“It is a fund that is intended to give technical support for the putting in place of reparations for survivors of sexual violence,” said Maud-Salome Ekila who is Dr Denis Mukwege’s communication chief who explained that the World Fund targets countries that have been affected by rape which is used as a weapon of war.
“In DR Congo, it would soon be one year since the pilot project of the World Fund has been functional,” Ms Ekila explained.
“We are active on the ground in Kasai, in the North and South Kivu in several towns. It is important to recall that there are women who have been waiting for reparations, which is not only a question of money.”
She explained that the reparations could also include a guarantee that such actions would not be repeated, creation of memory sites as well as psycho-social assistance.
“The approach of the World Fund for Reparations is really to concentrate on the needs of the survivor,” she revealed.
“Today, the World Fund is already active in certain countries such as Guinea, Irak and of course DR Congo.”
According to her, the Congolese state should protect its citizens, adding that there should be reforms at the level of security in which the government would help in fighting against impunity.
“We are asking for a public apology from the President of the Republic on behalf of the nation. That is a form of reparations that have been demanded by the survivors for several years now.”
“On June 19, 2020, it should be recalled, a memo was addressed to the President of the Republic and for the survivors, this public recognition of their suffering is already the first step towards reparations.”