The Canadian Government reaffirms its support in the fight against sexual violence in DRCJul 21, 2017
Canada’s Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, has reaffirmed her Government’s support for the programme and projects combating sexual violence and strengthening the economic power of vulnerable populations.
It was on the occasion of her two-day visit to Goma in North Kivu Province that she drew attention to the achievements of the “Tupinge Ubakaji” (‘Together to resist rape”) joint programme.
Accompanied by Canada’s Ambassador to the DRC and the UN agency chiefs involved in implementing this programme, Ms Bibeau visited Kyeshero Hospital and the Buholo/Mugunga Academic and Vocational Community Centre in Goma. The two facilities care for survivors of sexual violence, the first through the ‘One Stop Center’, a unique holistic support centre established to respond to both the medical, psycho-social and legal needs and reintegration of service-users. The second offers service-users a range of apprenticeships and training including the manufacture of soaps and juices, dressmaking, agriculture, animal rearing, mushroom cultivation, basket-weaving and small business enterprise.
Funded for a period of 5 years by the Canadian Government with a budget of USD 18 million, the Programme, combating a climate of impunity, and also supporting both the victims of sexual and gender-based violence, and women’s empowerment in the east of the DRC, is helping survivors smile again.
Speaking on behalf of all the United Nations System agencies involved in implementing this programme, Madame Priya Gajraj, UNDP Country Director, emphasised: “Canada's support has helped fight the climate of impunity, and also prevent and protect against sexual violence, incorporate the struggle against sexual violence into reform of public safety, and improve victims’ access to support and legal services in the DRC”.
In the DRC, Canada’s support has enabled:
- the shattering of the almost-institutionalised system of impunity and the culture of silence that exists around gender-based violence and impunity;
- support for girls and women to break the cycle of violence and challenge the climate of impunity which surrounds the violation of the rights of the individual - seeking healing and justice;
- help for women and girls to empower themselves, to improve their living conditions and give them the ability to regain their self-respect and self-esteem by tackling poverty and stigmatisation;
- increased sensitivity in judicial and state institutions and the community to getting involved in the struggle against the impunity of perpetrators of sexual violence.
On the whole, the Canadian Minister appreciated at their true value the positive results and their impact on the lives and improved well-being of the direct and indirect beneficiaries of the “Tupinge Ubakaji” Programme. “Following this visit, I am proud that my country, Canada, funds this programme, which offers victims of sexual violence a whole range of services under one roof.
“Canada will continue to fund activities working against violence, because women and young girls are at the heart of our new policies and also because unfortunately they are the most vulnerable when it comes to violence and poverty” emphasised Ms Bibeau.
In her view, women are strong and effective when given the means and the capability, education. They can be agents for change, development and peace. “It is for this reason that we want to encourage all our partners to ensure that women are put at the heart of their projects and programmes and that their economic power is strengthened” she stated in conclusion.
This programme is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) in five provinces: North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri, Bandundu and Kinshasa.
Article translate by Alison Currier