Based in Eastern DR Congo, the part of the country most vulnerable to violence, the Centre Résolution Conflits (CRC) has, for the last 10 years, been tireless in its work rescuing child soldiers, keeping communities together, building relationships and training people from different tribes to live together peacefully.
UK newspaper, The Guardian has recently interviewed Henri Bura Lady, director of the CRC watch the video below or on the Guardian website at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/video/2011/oct/29/congo-henry-bura-ladyi-video?CMP=twt_fd
A large part of the work of CRC is dealing directly with the militia groups in the area. Although many militia members want to stop fighting, they’re unable to see any opportunities outside of the armed groups. CRC works with them in getting them to lay down their arms and integrate into the national army or find other means of income. CRC also negotiates with militia groups for the release of child soldiers who have been forcefully taken from their communities, taking them out of an environment of violence, rehabilitating and reintegrating them back into their communities.
CRC works extensively with refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in helping them back into their homes. CRC mediate between them and their former communities to pave the way for their return, as well as ensuring they have something to come back to by rebuilding homes that may have been destroyed during the conflict.A CRC Peace Committee, a communal space for dispute resolution and the airing of grievances.
They also establish peace committees and ‘Taskforces’ in the region, groups which are able to monitor situations and act as early warning for erupting conflicts and respond quickly to potentially violent situations.
Some of their key successes have included:
- Mediation between militia and UN forces to secure the safe release of 5,000 villagers taken hostage;
- Negotiation with the Mai-Mai militia group to secure the release of children they’d kidnapped to use as child soldiers;
- Intervention at Eringeti refugee camp, home to 30,000 ethnically diverse people, where fierce fighting had broken out;
- Establishing a peace committee involving elders from each clan, the UN, local politicians, security services and church groups; and
- Training different tribes how to avoid and resolve conflicts.