ACADHOSHA: “Victims of sexual violence should no longer suffer in silence”
Conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo often feature brutal and systematic violence against women and children. In despite of legislative renovations the authorities’ ignorance, as well as the culture of impunity, are maintaining the spiral of violence. KIOS’ project partner ACADHOSHA is seeking to combat these issues in region of Southern Kivu.
Brutal and systematic violence against women and children is a common feature of conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Especially in the Eastern parts of the country sexual violence has escalated out of control. The authorities are ignorant and their activities have not contributed to eliminating the phenomenon. The judiciary, on the other hand, lacks the required knowledge and resources to tackle the issue.
A new constitution and two sets of legislation relating to sexual violation were passed in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006. From a legal point of view these events signaled a step towards enhancement. In despite of the steps of improvement, impunity and ignorance remain great challenges.
“Victims of sexual violence should no longer suffer in silence”
Action des Chrétiens Activistes des Droits de l’Homme à Shabunda (ACADHOSHA) seeks to improve women’s and children’s human rights. Additionally, the organization works to combat discrimination, violence and the culture of impunity. The work of ACADHOSHA is focused on ending abuse and violence against women in the mining cities in Shabunda and Mwenga. ACADHOSHA, functioning in Southern Kivu, was founded in 2006. It has been noted even on an international level: ACADHOSHA was appointed the special adviser of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in 2011.
In 2009 KIOS supported ACADHOSHA in improving women’s rights with 21 300 €. The funded project aimed at making the perpetrators of sexual violence responsible for their actions. In addition, the project aimed at providing mediation and legal counseling to victims of violence. The work of ACADHOSHA has been ground breaking, since many of the organizations in the area have offered victims of violence mainly medical and economic assistance.
“Through family mediation we are trying to help the families stay together. We help them make it through situations in which for example the woman has been raped and her husband feels he can no longer continue his life together with her.”
In the KIOS funded project ACADHOSHA organized mediation training and provided mediation assistance to families whose member had been subjected to sexual violence. In addition ACADHOSHA identified and documented cases of violence, provided legal assistance to victims of sexual violence, and conducted advocacy.
One of the key contributors to the success of ACADHOSHAs project has been the participation of local leaders. As a whole, the project has enhance individuals’ possibilities to get their case heard in the court, and strengthened the knowledge of human rights. According to ACADHOSHA, sexual violence has as well decreased.
“We provide people with relevant knowledge of the legislation on their own language, Kishwahili. This way our message is more clearly delivered.”
KIOS continued ACADHOSHA’s funding in December 2012. Similarly to the previous project, ACADHOSHA is striving to end impunity by providing legal assistance to victims of sexual violence and by advocating on relevant legislation. In addition, ACADHOSHA seeks to bring also other important subjects in the discussion. Such topics include the length of legal proceedings and the problems victims face when trying to realize the compensations provided to them by the court.
- Action des Chrétiens Activistes des Droits de l’Homme à Shabunda