The Government of Canada is committed to helping prevent of all forms of violence against women and girls. To this end, on October 13, 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced support, in the amount of $18.5 million (2013-2017), to help in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He made the announcement on the margins of the 14th Summit of La Francophonie in Kinshasa, DRC.
Sexual and gender-based violence is a devastating problem in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Fight Against Impunity and Support to Survivors of Sexual Violence Project in the DRC will help fight impunity by increasing access to justice in underserved areas, establishing appropriate mechanisms to investigate sexual crimes and prosecute offenders, and building the capacity and independence of judicial personnel. The initiative will also increase the involvement of communities in preventing sexual and gender-based violence and help build the capacity of government and civil society organizations to meet the medical, legal, psychosocial and vocational training needs of victims. Particular areas of focus include North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri district of Orientale Province, Bandundu and Kinshasa.
The initiative, which is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency’s bilateral program, builds upon the Government of Canada’s strong track record in helping address sexual and gender-based violence in the DRC. For instance, as a result of Canadian support in the amount of $18 million to the United Nationals Population Funded Fight Against Sexual Violence Project, more than 55,000 survivors of sexual violence accessed medical and psychosocial care, 15,000 received skills training and 5,000 received legal assistance between May 2007 and March 2012. In addition, more than 11,000 Congolese parliamentarians, provincial and local territorial leaders were lobbied for support. The Fight Against Sexual Violence Project is managed by the United Nations Population Fund and United Nations Children’s Fund and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, together with Congolese non-governmental organizations and selected Congo government departments.
The Government of Canada also works with the Centre canadien d’étude et de coopération internationale to support women’s groups across eastern DRC and in neighbouring Rwanda and Burundi, to fight violence against women through a seven-year, $13.5 million regional project (2010-2017).
This initiative supports the Government of one of Canada’s international assistance thematic priorities by ensuring that children and youth, particularly girls, are protected from violence, exploitation and abuse.