The historic presidential and legislative elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are scheduled for November 28, 2011. WILPF section in DRC, lead by Annie Matundu Mbambi, has worked for several months demanding the equal participation of women in all aspects of the election cycle and the assurance for peaceful, fair, and democratic elections. At this important time, we send to our sisters in DRC our solidarity.
WILPF signed on a statement with various regional and international NGOs calling for urgent measures to prevent escalating violence expressing, “concern about the high political tension and deteriorating security situation”. We jointly call upon, “all Congolese and international actors involved to take urgent measures to prevent electoral violence, better protect civilians and ensure credible, free, and fair elections.”
According to Carter Centre “approximately half of registered Congolese voters are women. Congolese political parties however are characterized by low numbers female candidates and other party leadership roles. The only female presidential candidate's application was removed before confirmation of the final list of candidates. In 2006, four of 33 presidential candidates were women. Proportional representation systems are considered to benefit the inclusion of women into the legislative branch, however not more than 12% of legislative candidates in this election are women. There is no formal mechanism in place to improve the involvement and participation of women in politics, though consideration of gender is incorporated into various laws and institutional guidelines.”
WILPF DRC and PeaceWomen continue to monitor and advocate against the lack of justice and accountability in DRC. We recently sent an advocacy letter to all members of the Security Council regarding the latest UN Secretary-General's Report on the Democratic Republic of Congo (S/2011/656) to follow-up on the mass rapes and attacks which took place in Fizi region in June (please see NGOWG statement on the incident). We sent this letter before a closed briefing of the Security Council with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the DRC. We called on Council members to ask questions regarding the Fizi attacks and MONUSCO's reaction to the failure of the Government to suspend and detain Colonel Kifaru, and the related investigations.
Other news and resources on DRC:
November 11, 2011 (New York Times)CONGO: An Unruly Election Campaign Mirrors Congo's Lingering Political Instability
First Carter Center Pre-Election Statement on Preparations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, The Carter Center , November 2011
UNITED STATES/CONGO: Congress Urges Obama to Appoint Envoy For Congo ,Campaign , November 2011
September 12, 2011 (Amnesty International )
DRC: From Occasional Outrage to Sustained Response - The Need for the Human Rights Council to Play a Role in Judicial Reform and the Fight Against Impunity