Thanks to the support of our Grow Peace Fund, Fondation Chirezi’s local courts, or barazas, are bringing peace to vulnerable communities in Eastern DR Congo. Chirezi reports a significant reduction in community conflicts. This decrease comes as more and more people are hearing about the baraza courts and the mediation service they offer. The court’s work is becoming so respected that local people are frequently requesting their help. This could not have been achieved without the generous gifts from supporters of the Grow Peace Fund.
During 2012 Fondation Chirezi’s 7 peace courts processed 248 cases with the majority of cases being peacefully resolved. The barazas have come to be thoroughly respected and trusted, both by the local community and the official judicial institutions. In fact, in 2012 local authorities referred 30 cases to the barazas because of their outstanding reputation. This success has been made possible by your support.
Resolving local disputes before they escalate into violence is especially important in an area like South Kivu, which has been torn apart by decades of war. There is a perpetual threat of violence because the return of former fighters and refugees to their communities is a constant cause of friction that could shatter small villages. The barazas are cheaper and faster than the official system and give a chance for justice to those who would not otherwise be able to access it.
Fondation Chirezi’s next initiative is women only barazas, staffed by women for women. Many victims of sexual violence are too afraid or embarrassed to speak to a predominantly male court. In a country which is deemed the most dangerous in the world to be a woman, these courts will allow hundreds of women to bring their cases free from inhibitions and fear. The female courts will run alongside the existing courts and will be staffed by volunteers so they will cost very little to set up and run.
You help grow peace by supporting The Grow Peace Fund.