CAFOD supports Bishops calling for peace in DRC and Rwanda
In the past two months, the conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC] has worsened.
As rebel forces have moved towards the city of Goma, there have been reports of massive human rights violations, including rape, the killing of civilians and the recruitment of child soldiers. More than 250,000 people have now been forced from their homes, and many are living in very basic conditions in temporary camps.
According to a United Nations report in June, the Rwandan government has helped to fund rebel groups in the eastern DRC. Although the Rwandan government has strenuously denied involvement, the UK, the US and others have withheld aid to Rwanda.
We are continuing our work in both Rwanda and the DRC, supporting trusted local partners to promote peace and respond to the needs of those affected by conflict. We never channel money through governments, in Rwanda or elsewhere.
We are currently working with our partners to distribute food and emergency supplies to families forced from their homes in the eastern DRC. We are also supporting Church leaders within the region as they advocate for peace. We strongly support the proposed development of a joint statement between the Bishops of Rwanda, the DRC and Burundi, to exert pressure on their respective governments to engage openly and transparently to promote peace in the region.
In Rwanda, our work with local partners focuses on three areas:
- Trauma healing: helping people overcome trauma as result of the 1994 genocide
- Justice and peace: helping survivors get justice for the murders of loved ones, and helping communities find reconciliation.
- Rebuilding lives: helping people who lost everything in the genocide to earn a living; supporting orphaned children to get an education
In the DRC, our priorities are:
- Emergency response: providing food, water, shelter and emergency supplies; giving counselling and long-term support to victims of sexual violence.
- Peace-building: for example, helping former child soldiers to become part of their communities again.
- Citizenship: helping local people and the Church have their say in the management of the country’s abundant natural resources