For many living in war-torn DR Congo, access to fast and effective justice is rare. Local disputes over land, farming or marriage can quickly escalate to wider violence that feeds into complex local conflicts. This leaves people without ways of resolving their conflicts peacefully and can entrench dangerous cycles of violence. Here, FOCHI’s Peace Courts are having a big impact for people on the ground.
Daniel Tamene, our Programme Finance Manager, recently travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo to visit our partner Centre Resolution Conflits (CRC). He accompanied CRC into the bush to see first-hand the negotiation process they manage every time they rescue and resettle child soldiers. Here is Daniel’s exclusive report from the field.
In war-torn eastern Congo an area almost the size of Ireland has virtually no access to justice, because the police and legal systems are distant, slow, expensive or simply corrupt. To solve this problem, our partner Fondation Chirezi (FOCHI) has established a system of village courts or ‘barazas’, which cover a population of 70,000 people in South Kivu.
In a provocative recent article in The Guardian, Owen Jones argued that the horrific conflict and violence in DR Congo has only continued for so long because outsider don’t care enough to stop it. According to Jones, Western governments, media and the public have not paid attention to the atrocities taking place, nor have they called for something to be done. Here at Peace Direct, we know that local people and local organisations have their own solutions to conflict, and they have the power and skills to build their own structures for peace. The outside experts may not be so crucial as Jones suggests.