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Commission of the Churches on

International Affairs (CCIA)

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON
PEACE AND SECURITY IN
THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC)
27-29 May 2015, Ecumenical Centre, Geneva, Switzerland

COMMUNIQUÉ
AND

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

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COMMUNIQUÉ
of the International Conference on
Peace and Security in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
27-29 May 2015
Preamble
On 27-29 May 2015, 75 participants gathered in Geneva for an international conference on
peace and security in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), at the invitation of the World
Council of Churches (WCC) [Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA)].
Participants represented a wide spectrum of churches and church-related organizations both
from within DRC and from the wider global ecumenical fellowship, as well as partners from
civil society and the UN.
Among the participants were 19 Congolese coming from DRC. 20 others had been expected, but
were denied or did not obtain visas in time to enable them to participate. We greatly regret
that the participation of Congolese young people was especially impeded by the denial of visas.
We gathered at an important moment for the people of the DRC, anticipating provincial and
municipal elections this year and a presidential election in 2016, and at time when recent
violence in Beni and the arrival of refugees from Burundi, have given unsettling signs of
renewed instability in the country and region.
Through worshipping and praying together during this conference we strengthened our
ecumenical fellowship and drew inspiration and courage from the faith we share for the
challenges ahead.
Purposes
The purposes of this conference included raising greater awareness of the current situation in
the DRC, developing a common understanding of the various threats and challenges faced by
the Congolese people, and mobilising partners for on-going international ecumenical
accompaniment of churches and partners in DRC. In the context of this wider ecumenical
accompaniment of churches and partners in DRC, the conference also sought to promote
stronger ecumenical collaboration in preparing for the forthcoming election processes in DRC,
and international ecumenical monitoring and observation of the 2016 presidential election.
Observations and rationale
The DRC has been blessed by an abundance of natural resources. But that abundance has in
many ways become a burden, as human greed drives unjust exploitation of minerals and living
resources, treats other human beings as expendable commodities, and pillages the earth and
rapes its inhabitants. Such sinful attitudes and actions have resulted in pervasive violence and
injustice.
Violence results in the destruction or denial of life. We follow a Lord who brings abundant life,
and we share God’s dream of a world where all human beings live full and generous lives. The
ancient dream includes fullness of life for all humanity and repair of the world’s brokenness.
As people on a pilgrimage of justice and peace, we meet Jesus wherever we travel – in children
who have been forced to serve as soldiers, people who have been raped, who are hungry and
displaced. All are equal members of the body of Christ, and the gift of their lament needs to be
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heard as a rallying cry for all the churches of DRC, and for their partners within and beyond the
country.
We were deeply moved by the voices of the newer generations, who are becoming leaders
yearning for peace. Former child soldiers are serving as peace mentors to younger ones, young
women are finding their voices in support of their abused sisters, and others are prodding
older leaders for justice and right relationship with the rest of creation.
God has also blessed the DRC with an abundance of human resources and relationships of
solidarity. The churches have abundant opportunity to build more effective partnerships to
succor and support the wounded and abused, to advocate for justice that addresses
widespread impunity, and to teach their members about the equal dignity of all human beings,
created in the image of God. In their work of repairing the breach, churches have a deep
responsibility to honour their differing gifts and repent of competitive attitudes and the lack of
love. The people of DRC need their solidarity and leadership toward the vision of the Reign of
God here on earth – a society of peace because there is justice for all.
The churches and their members are meant to be salt of the earth. Mixed with the water of
baptism, salt becomes an agent of solution, cleansing and healing. The wounds that so afflict
the DRC need tender washing – and we pray that the churches, together with other people of
faith, may begin to dissolve the pain and water the seed of new life, resurrection born of death
in Christ.
Churches within and beyond the DRC can and must partner for more effective modeling of the
body of Christ – working together to build up the whole, respecting the dignity of each and
every part, and following Jesus’ vision rather than our own more narrow ends. That vision
heals the wounded, grieves with the dying and their loved ones, feeds the hungry, liberates the
oppressed and sets prisoners free, encourages the poor and frightened, and teaches God’s ways
of justice and peace.
Elections are a tool for progress towards the vision of a society of justice and peace. However,
the process is fundamentally empty without a transcendent vision of a future that is healed and
whole. Elections must serve a vision where all people can live together in communities that
are inclusive and without discrimination. None can be whole unless all are welcomed and
affirmed as daughters and sons of God, equally deserving of the riches of creation and the full
dignity of the One whose image they bear.
Commitments and recommendations
We call for closer collaboration among the churches of the DRC, to address the many issues we
have discussed in this consultation, including environmental protection, management of
natural resources, and better regulation of the extractive sector; human rights and
humanitarian response; sexual and gender-based violence and HIV and AIDS; peacebuilding
and reconstruction; corruption and good governance.
As important means of promoting action on these issues and of moving towards realizing the
vision of the DRC reflected in the provisions of the national Constitution, churches are called to
inform, teach and engage their members in reflection and action, and to work for peaceful
elections – at both provincial and national levels – that can result in political leadership
committed to responding to these challenges with integrity and accountability.

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To this end, we commit to strengthening and widening our ecumenical cooperation for justice
and peace in the DRC, and propose the establishment of a suitable structure or process for the
purpose of sharing and consolidation of existing initiatives by the churches and related
organizations or networks, and in order to consider new ecumenical initiatives on the issues
we have discussed. Given the nature and dimensions of the challenges confronting the DRC, an
effective ecumenical response demands the common prophetic voice and joint action of all
churches in the country. Therefore, through such a structure or process, we will seek
engagement with all church families in the DRC, so that we may speak and act together in
addressing these challenges. The proposed structure or process should facilitate an inclusive
and regular interaction between churches in the DRC and their ecumenical partners nationally
and internationally, in order to help strengthen the prophetic voice of the churches in
addressing the issues that affect the life of the Congolese people and God’s creation.
Through this structure or process, and through the church families and networks participating
in it, we commit to ensuring that the experiences and perspectives of all parts of the country
are shared, including the eastern DRC where many of the problems we have discussed are
concentrated, and that women and youth are full and equal participants.
We commit to especially focussing on the concerns of young people in the DRC, including
education and employment, training in non-violence and peacebuilding, and preventing
gender-based violence and harassment, and to support young people as leaders of social
transformation.
We call on all international partners of the churches of the DRC to participate in and support
stronger and wider ecumenical cooperation for justice and peace in the DRC, including through
the proposed structure or process, in order to promote better coordination and collaboration
in our collective efforts for the purposes we all share, and to avoid fragmentation and
competition that can only weaken our potential impact.
In light of the forthcoming elections in the DRC, we encourage coordination of all church-based
efforts to promote reflection, formation and capacity building in Congolese society in order to
ensure that not only are the election processes peaceful, but that they also produce committed,
empowered and accountable political leadership for justice and peace in the DRC in accordance
with the vision and commitments described in the national Constitution.
We will also work through the Commissions of Integrity and Electoral Mediation (Commission
d’intégrité et médiation électorales) at national and provincial levels to seek closer
collaboration with ecumenical and interfaith partners to this end.
We invite international partners under the leadership of WCC, together with the All Africa
Conference of Churches (AACC), the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in the Great
Lakes and Horn of Africa (FECCLAHA) and the churches of the country, to work together in
undertaking an ecumenical initiative to accompany the churches of the DRC during the period
of the 2016 presidential election, and to support the role of the churches in community
leadership in the post-election period.
Closing word
We the participants in this conference depart from one another with the conviction that the
gospel message and African cultural values impel and empower the churches of the DRC in
their critical prophetic role for justice and peace in DRC. We leave feeling that through the
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encounter, the fellowship, and the sharing of information and insights the Psalm 133 vision
materialized among us. How good it is indeed for sisters and brothers to be together in unity,
for there God sends God’s blessing.

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RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY 27 MAY
The conference was opened in prayer in the Chapel of the Ecumenical Centre.
Opening Session
MODERATOR: Mr Peter Prove, CCIA Director, World Council of Churches
Mr Prove welcomed all to the consultation, particularly the important and significant
representation from DRC churches and partners recognising the opportunities to learn about
their perspectives and to discern the way that the ecumenical movement can strengthen
accompaniment.
The WCC has had substantial previous involvement with peace and justice issues in DRC and
has issued several minutes, statements and letters of concern as well as made solidarity visits,
notably the living letters visit of 2009 and the visit of the WCC general secretary in April 2014.
DRC is a priority country defined by the WCC 10th assembly and constitutes a station on the
pilgrimage of justice and peace which brings new impetus.
Apologies were conveyed from Agnes Abuom, moderator of WCC central committee who sent
her best wishes. Chatham House rules would be used throughout the proceedings.

OPENING WORDS
Our mandate from Busan Assembly
Rev. Dr Olav F. Tveit, General Secretary, World Council of Churches
Rev. Tveit welcome with joy all participants and reiterated the message of Mr Prove that the
WCC and partners are gathered to listen and learn with a distinct common purpose in a spirit
of service and ministry and to bring reflections into a process of action.
This is a process from many years as partners. This is now a 2nd phase following the mandate
that the assembly gave us, to give strategic leadership in the council-wide context of the
pilgrimage of justice and peace, though three aspects:
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As a common motif in many religions we are called to move together.
With great courage but humbleness we are in a faith movement together, there is a
great demand for participation of FBOs in all aspects of our work, they see we have
something more to contribute, and there is an added value.
Our faith liberates us and is the strength of our fellowship. Faith implies a dimension
of commitment to involvement; this is well recognised in FBOs.

DRC has been a context of much human suffering, conflict, violence and destruction, sometimes
beyond our imagination. But it is also a sign of hope that we are here. We must believe that
some other values will prevail. We are here based on solid information and preparation; we
see the convening role of the WCC and call one another to accountability. We must now bring
our resources together to make this happen. May God give us spirit to work together on this.

A response from Eglise du Christ au Congo
Rev. Milenge Mwenelwata, 2nd Vice President, Eglise du Christ au Congo

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Rev. Mwenelwata delivered the message on behalf of Mgr Marini Bodho who could not be
present.
We are grateful for the hospitality and extend particular thanks to the general secretaries of
WCC and AACC and representatives of the diplomatic missions. We are also grateful for the
presence of all participants and welcome their witness, especially for those who have made the
journey from DRC.
While the process began with Rev. Karamaga when he was a member of WCC staff, we are now
pleased that the work is being carried forward from the 10th assembly in the context of the
pilgrimage of justice and peace.
Our sincere aspiration for this consultation is to be able to understand the prevailing threats
and to construct a road map that gives us hope and allows DRC to undertake the process of its
development in a pacific political environment.

Report from Pre-Conference on Peace and Security in DRC organised in Kinshasa
Ms Marceline Mbingasani Maluavanga, WCC Central Committee member
Forty participants gathered on 18-19 May in order to prepare for the participation in this
consultation.
Speakers motivated participants to take part in the pilgrimage of justice and peace and spoke
about topics they were working on: electoral process, management of natural resources,
democratic process, and responsibility of multinationals in pillage of natural resources in DRC.
Churches spoke about their responses on the humanitarian level. Discussions also took place
on the implementation of the framework agreement of Addis Ababa for peace in DRC.
Deliberations covered challenges that prevent sustainable peace and effective safety, technical
aspects of the electoral process, strategic plan for 2015-2021, sustainable development. Four
working groups concentrated on:



management of natural resources
elections – past and upcoming
emergencies (violent conflict, epidemics, natural disasters)
projects involving
youth (sexual violence, rape, STIs, HIV, malnutrition,
entrepreneurship, capacity building, advocacy)

The objectives were achieved, an outcome document produced, and a road map and strategic
plan have been drafted which can serve for our work here and beyond.
GENERAL ORIENTATION
Ms Semegnish Asfaw Grosjean, Programme Executive, World Council of Churches
The first one and a half days will cover issues from the concept note (electoral process, human
rights and humanitarian situation, environmental protection and management of natural
resources, gender-based violence and HIV and AIDS) with the youth issue being mainstreamed
throughout. WCC’s current priority lies with the electoral process. Yet, most of these issues
being interconnected and inter-related, it is very difficult to discuss elections without
adressing management of natural resources, SGBV and HIV/AIDS, human rights and
emergencies. Hence, these thematic sessions will be an opportunity to hear about the work of
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the Congolese churches, but also to have perspectives from other partners involved with these
same issues.
Thursday afternoon will be spent in working groups. On Friday we will hear back from the
working groups and plans that have been made for the next steps as we embark on this
process.
Documents and presentations are available on https://seafile.ecucenter.org/d/39de54ad44
and all sessions are live screened.
Finally thanks were expressed to all who made financial contributions to enable this
conference become a reality:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.

Anglican Communion,
Bread for the World,
Christian Aid,
FinChurchAid,
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of
Christ,
International Ministries (ABCUSA),
Karibu Foundation,
Mission EineWelt,
Presbyterian Church USA,
United Church of Canada,
United Methodist Women,
United Methodist Church USA,
Kairos Canada,
Republic and Canton of Geneva,
Uniting Church in Sweden,
United Evangelical Mission.

KEYNOTE ADDRESSES
Being Church in the face of interconnected threats and challenges in Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC)
Bishop David Yemba, Methodist Church in DRC, former Moderator of the WCC Commission on
Faith and Order, Vice President of the Commission on Integrity and Electoral Mediation in DRC
Thanks were expressed to WCC on behalf of the member churches in DRC for the resolution of
the last assembly to include DRC as a priority country in the pilgrimage of justice and peace.
Subsequent visits and meetings have greatly encouraged everyone in their ministry. This
conference, as a continuation of these activities, will to assist churches in DRC to help our
people that have been victims of so much suffering.
What is being church in DRC? There are many threats: to people, the population, government;
more than just mere threats, they are systematically organized activities to harm, destroy and
block international development progress. Regarding greed and pillages of natural resources
in mining and wood, transnationals are perpetrators of these acts, some are known and some
are hidden. These are destructive activities for the social fabric of the country that have
resulted in a small rich elite with poverty and misery for the great majority. Other threats are
to integrity of territory, to political strata and the entire civil population.
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These practices disorganize and lead to corruption at all levels, as well as mismanagement in
public and private sectors. Bad governance affects the electoral process. The common
denominator is insecurity of people and goods.
Where the church in all of this situation and what is its role? Being church in face of threats
and challenges is to have a mission that is challenging evil. To act means we need to renew the
message of love which is also a message of judgement and evil. We need to be the body of
Christ looking for unity and live this unity and ensure there is unity for all to be able to hear
prophesies.
The situation is extremely complex however. There is absence of cohesion amongst churches,
some are seen as partners of certain political parties. Because there is no single voice it is very
difficult to speak about the prophetic voice of the church in our country. Additionally, the
issues are extremely vast for a divided church to take them on. We need to find ways to speak
together and carry weight on issues of security and justice.
We are trying to set up a forum of churches and members of the AACC and WCC to be able to
ensure the prophetic voice of churches in DRC is heard. We believe that this idea can help to
consolidate activities and take us on a pilgrimage to find solutions to relieve the suffering of
our people.
Gender-Based Violence in conflict situations and UN Security Council Resolution 1325
Video message from Dr Zainab Hawa Bangur, United Nations Special Representative of the
Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict
Women are largely absent from peace processes depriving their voices of being heard.
Women’s rights don’t end when war begins. Women and girls are disproportionally concerned.
Addressing root causes and responding is critical.
DRC has been referred to as the world capital of rape especially by armed forces. This happens
in impunity without help for victims, but now we see glimmers of hope with authorities
responding to and addressing the issue, with a representative of the president being named to
work on sexual violence and child recruitment in armed forces. Education is key. This
illustrates that where there is political will, solutions can be found.
Still challenges remain; we must enable women to participate in governance and decision
making and facilitate support of victims to live with dignity and hope. Perpetrators must be
held accountable.
Please use your moral authority to speak out and provide assistance to victims. Support DRC
authorities. I look forward to the outcome of your deliberations and to participate in that
which falls within my mandate.

SESSION 1 – ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND MANAGEMENT OF NATURAL
RESOURCES
MODERATOR: Prof. Christoph Stueckelberger, Executive Director and Founder, Globethics.net
The management of natural resources in DRC
Rev. Mpongo Paul, Representative of the Presbyterian Community in Congo

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There are immense natural resources in DRC so it is a scandal that this potential is so badly
managed. The gap between resources and the misery in which people are living leads to
insecurity and poverty as they cannot benefit from the resources. This mismanagement is the
root cause of violations of human rights, environmental rights and armed conflict. The
responsibility for this illegal exploitation and trade is shared by many actors fighting for their
own interests. Laxity and impunity on the part of DRC does not help but the main cause is
multinationals’ pillaging.
There are many policies, strategies, laws and international agreements on management of
natural resources that provide a framework that is theoretical and feasible. But in practice,
enforcement and dissemination of these tools has been threatened by anarchy and bad
governance that prevails.
Such fraud, corruption and poaching deprives people of the means to survive. Despite this, the
response of the international community remains limited.
The role of the church is to struggle against such human rights violations to promote progress
of the disadvantaged and enable people to progress by themselves in justice and peace for
sustainable development.

Exploitation of raw materials in the DRC: the case of Glencore
Mr François Mercier, Fastenopfer/Action de Carême
Via a powerpoint presentation Mr Mercier elucidated how Glencore is exploiting raw materials
in the DRC.
An 18-month study of the situation was undertaken by Pain Pour le Prochain/Action de
Carême and RAID (Rights and Accountability in Development) covering aspects of:
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Pollution of environment
Exportation of reserves of Basse Kando
Violations of Human Rights.

A copy of the report is available upon request. The findings were that there is lack of
consultation with the local populations; people live in miserable conditions, polluted water, etc.
Tax evasion is practiced at all levels of production and operation.
What needs to be done:
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Training and awareness raising
Improvement of governance of natural resources
Transparency of financial flows
Initiatives for corporate responsibility of multinationals.

These two presentations were followed by a 3-4 minutes’ table discussion: what are the
priorities to fight against?

Development in DRC: how to best use DRC’s rich natural resources
Mr Félicien Malanda, National Director for Development Work, Eglise du Christ au Congo

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DRC is a fragile country in a post conflict situation with tremendous potential but at the same
time an advanced degree of poverty. Resources are coveted by external powers, this leads to
armed conflict while it should bring about the contrary.
The challenge is to have a policy that allows all Congolese to benefit from natural resources
with real income redistribution; currently only 10% of income from natural resources enters
into the state’s budget.
Recommendations:



Reinforce awareness raising
Increase capacity building in churches for members to act as responsible citizens
Promote election monitoring, observatories
Lobbying and advocacy

In conclusion, there is a need to initiate activities to be implemented nationally and work also
at the international community level. We need to revise certain contracts and also withdraw
certain contracts and concessions, although it is difficult due to external pressure. We need to
insist on advocacy and corporate social responsibility. We need external advocacy in strategic
alliances that are being forged at an ecumenical level. The international community needs to
get involved and support the strategic plan for reconstruction and development of churches.
Axes of the plan include:



Agriculture, food security
Economic justice
Participation of the church
Access to services




Sustainable development
Developing partnership
Capacity building
Mobilisation of resources

Increasing collaboration between civil society and the mining sector
Dr Gillian Davidson, Director, Head Mining & Metals, World Economic Forum (WEF)
WEF works on public-private collaboration. In this instance WEF tries to see what the opportunity is of
having an extractive industry in underdeveloped countries and how to best develop that.
There has been huge change in the sector over the last several years reaching a “crisis” point: low
prices, low investment, projects ending, and investment not flowing. Thus there is forced
transformation with emerging internal conversations in the mining community thinking of geo-political
change, society, sharing. The mining sector is beginning to listen and find a way to move forward.
There is huge turmoil, deaths and conflict around environmental issues, health and safety, lack of access
to benefits. Trust is key for all parties. WEF tries to see how to leverage benefits for the different
groups involved. We are in an important phase now: all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
relate to mining issues. For example 540 million persons could be lifted out of poverty with proper
management in this sector.
Civil society must harness this potential and needs a group with influence and trust to play a role.
Companies want guidance and are ready do to things differently and we must leverage that.
Transparency about revenues Is key, corruption, what is paid to governments, but it is hard to
implement.
We need to find shared goals around benefits. Dialogue and trust are critical, the mining sector needs
guidance, and to connect global to local. We need to provide advocacy for the community we represent,
be a watchdog and observe what is going on.
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A question and response session on strategies, recommendations and role of churches brought forth the
following points:
Impunity: we need to address this, persuasion is not sufficient alone. WEF promotes application of
dialogue on what are governance structures, what is transparent and fair for all. The choice is either
enforced power or dialogue. WEF prefer dialogue but sometimes power is needed but dialogue usually
brings best solutions although we do need structures in place.
Tax justice: how do we bring this as a crucial conversation for global financing of development in SDGs?
DRC officials need to assume responsibility for what happens on their territory. Even Congolese
individuals don’t want to pay taxes. Nobody likes to pay taxes but it improves governance and
accountability. For the instance of large multinationals, international pressure is a good lever, if
something comes out in the media they react; improving international regulations is also important.
Role of churches: We need to identify what additional role churches can play globally as some
northerners may have conflicts of interest, e.g. pension funds are with mining companies. There is
corruption at all levels including in northern governments. Churches need to be part and parcel of all
shareholders and need to be in the Great Lakes process and other forums. We need a relay system to
help understand guidelines and transmit them to grassroots organisations.
Natural resources: DRC contributes to destroying its heritage through deforestation. The state has not
given the means for the population to consume energy resources which results in destroying forests
and resultant pollution. There is also a lack of hydrological resources management – fish are dying in
rivers but there is no policy for industrial fishing. Education in churches is needed, the church should
not be aside of these problems, leaders need global vision and environmental vision, not only for
humans.
The moderator concluded the session by highlighting the emerging points of the session as the need for:
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Strategic plans
Governance, contribution of churches
Dialogue (WEF requested to include churches).

SESSION 2 – THE ELECTORAL PROCESS IN DRC
MODERATOR: Ms Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, General Secretary of World Young Women's Christian
Association (World YWCA) and African Union Goodwill Ambassador for the Campaign to End Child
Marriage
The electoral process in DRC: update and analysis
Rev. Milenge Mwenelwata, 2nd Vice President, Eglise du Christ au Congo
There is legitimacy and illegitimacy, instability of authorities which organise elections and a permanent
state of objecting to outcomes. The commitment and testimony of the ecumenical family is very
important to help us overcome this situation.
President Kabila gained power through arms and managed the country illegitimately until his murder
in 2011 when his son took over power and was also an illegitimate leader. Now during the transition
period objectives are to put an end to war and to the illegitimacy of power.
In preparing the forthcoming elections there are challenges and constraints.

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Respect of schedule as everyone has
own agenda
Blackmail of international community
Security, safety
Problem with funding elections
Local elections: urban, municipal – 7
processes in all.

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Poor infrastructure/logistics in such a
large territory.
Generalized poverty.
Corruption in those organizing, etc.
Illiteracy, especially women.

Rev. Mwenelwata concluded by thanking the ecumenical family for all they have done. AACC was able
to help in 2006 when the general secretary went around the world to mobilize shareholders and
partners. In 2011 we were less well accompanied and so exhort our partners to come back for future
elections. The Church of Christ in Congo (CCC) does advocacy and coordinates ecumenical efforts on
the ground and has established a schedule of ecumenical actions to guide us for the involvement of the
ecumenical family for the next 5 years.

Empowering women as electors and candidates during the electoral process
Rev. Eulalie Kitenga, Women’s Group, Communauté Prebytérienne de Kinshasa
Organisation of elections is a challenge for our faith. Elections affect entire population so participation
of women needs a lot of attention. Women have the right to vote, equality of rights are stressed, so
there are no legal obstacles.
Women constitute 52% of the electorate, that high percentage of women voting is a strength;
weaknesses are that the choice of female voters can be manipulated, illiteracy, misunderstanding, many
women did not vote for women. Women as candidates have all rights – this is an asset but in 2006 only
13% were elected. Currently only 14% of minsters are women.
We need greater participation and need help for that to be achieved, particularly in the upcoming
elections. Participation in electoral activities is also important: observatories, improvement of process,
observers, officials, activities of CENI (Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante), awareness
raising, training.
Suggestions made on how to reinforce participation include training to understand rights, a political
party of women for women, information days, awareness raising, advocacy with politicians, and
addressing financial empowerment of women. We hope we can build on all these ideas in this
conference.

Lessons learnt from electoral monitoring in other contexts
Rev. Dr André Karamaga, General Secretary, All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC)
Good elections depend not only on the elections themselves but also on a good preparatory processes
and monitoring of the post-election period as well as any objections to the outcome.
We think of democracy imposed without ways of how to guarantee participation of all for the wellbeing
and dignity for all. The current system consists of winners and losers. So when you lose an election,
dynamics dictate that the loser will use all their energy to provoke the winner and it is the country
which is the loser and the people bear the consequences of this process.

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Deep reflection is needed to define which democracy is best for people in the context of multi ethnic
identities so that everyone can benefit from resources, freedom and dignity that are freely guaranteed
by God. Africa needs strong powers but having dictators leads to exploitation. Recently, there is some
change – some powers start to advocate a multi-party system.
As churches and Christians we need to reflect on which democracy can free Africa from exploitation and
humiliation; this needs to be grounded in theology. But are churches well enough placed to advise? Can
we be manipulated? The example of Jesus does not always inspire us and politicians will do whatever
possible to stay in power. We fall also into traps of tribalism and favouritism and we are fragile when
churches are aligned according to political divide.
Churches that want to accompany the electoral process must preach by example. We need to be able
speak with one voice – this gives authority and credibility. But gospel principles are more important.
The church can provide moral, ethical and spiritual ground for democracy.
Despite its weaknesses and challenges, the growing church in Africa is seen as a key player in shaping
the present and future of the continent. The dominant model of democracy is based on principles of
separation of state and religion and competition. This is far from being universally accepted. The
AACC mandate never stopped to remind churches we need to undergo visible change to move towards
loving and growing and promoting the kingdom of God.

Fostering peaceful dialogue among stakeholders
Ms Eve Thompson, Resident Director, National Democratic Institute - DRC
It is good that this conference promotes the moral authority of churches in political processes and that
there is an opportunity for the external community to participate. The National Democratic Institute
(NDI) has been present in DRC since 2001 working on:
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Inter-Congolese dialogue
Democracy resource centres
Linking political parties to electoral the
commission and preparing them for
contesting election

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Political party strengthening, post and
pre-election dialogue
Training of women candidates
Mainstreaming youth

The post 2011 elections situation was highly contentious with challenges to results, limited electoral
dispute resolution capability, results viewed as illegitimate, two persons declared themselves as
presidents.
There was a call for post-election dialogue which included elements of individual consultations, formal
collective interrogation of positions and multi-party assessment of convergence and divergence. The
objectives were to get to the point of being able to collectively define Terms of Reference to present to
leaders to agree on.
Lessons learned from the exercise:
-

One party can derail the whole process
Rules should be clearly articulated and
agreed to
Brief leadership well ahead of time
Sustained contact among actors is key
Create as many opportunities for
empathy as possible

-

Have more briefings
Articulate values
Involvement of marginalised groups
Need real commitment and political will
at all levels.

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It is good for the international faith based community to support this process. We need to begin with
youth, promoting dialogue and helping to build inner peace to serve the world. If we don’t start with
youth the practice will never take hold.
Outcomes from table discussion on what are essentials to be given attention for the next elections:
-

Local and provincial elections
Lack of trust
Can churches be within the system and
help as part of our prophetic work?
Important of churches inside speaking
with common voice – unity
Illiteracy
Need to teach women to value
themselves
Use of this type of dialogue for election
Civic education, defence of populations’
interests
Work of church at centre of nation
Groundwork ahead of time
Participation of youth
Training in diversity
Killings still on-going – a real concern
and obstacle to holding elections

-

-

-

Involvement of citizens in electoral
process
Neutral space gap
Legal framework for electoral process
Choosing observers and helping them,
helping remote villages
Independent
national
electoral
commission (CENI) – is it all it should
be?
Participation of IDPs and refugees
Building sustainable and sustaining
relationships
Need for assistance and solidarity from
international
and
ecumenical
community to uphold honesty and civic
education.
Results of contested 2011 results
decreased trust of population, how can
we regain trust?

The moderator concluded that we need a solid process and mechanism for the next elections in 2016 as
well as a common position on controversial issues. The future of Africa lies with women and youth, we
need their fresh voice. The AU meets next month in summit, churches have been reached out to for
their role as FBCs. We should come out with one or two recommendations for elections to present to
them.

SESSION 3 – HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE
MODERATOR: Ms Wendy Gichuru, Program Coordinator for Africa & the Middle East, United Church of
Canada
Human rights and humanitarian landscape in DRC
Rev. Kakule Molo, President, ECC- Communauté Baptiste au Centre de l'Afrique
Despite the end of the wars peace did not come back because of externally supported rebellions which
have had perverse effects on human rights (HR), especially in the eastern part of the country
In 2006 a new constitution was voted in, adhering to various international charters and declarations
related to HR. Twenty three articles in the constitution are devoted to civil and political rights that
make the basis of HR.
We need to recognize that despite violations noted, the constitution provides for protection but still
situations undermine HRs in the most concerned sectors:
-

Abuses/corruption in judiciary
Weakness of power of state in certain parts of country
Freedom of expression, there are still many arbitrary arrests that do not respect this
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-

Trials against military that violate HR are thwarted due to lack of good administration.

Rebels in the Congolese and neighboring territory is a great danger for people, forming armed groups in
the east, they are root cause of sexual and gender-based violence, trauma for women, rape, etc.
Other important issues include:
-

Pillage and exploitation of natural resources
Powerful actors that act with impunity
Insecurity in rural areas
Displacement of population, constant movement resulting in deprivation of means of
subsistence.
Armed conflicts in rural areas result in people moving to the city = overcrowding, difficulty
to co-exist between ethnic groups, etc.
Local militias
Lack of trust with neighboring countries = tensions, open conflicts

In conclusion, DRC can have a democratic system in place but there are obstacles. Governors and the
population have to understand that democracy exists and HRs can be protected but there is a need to let
go of bad practices. We need to reinforce churches to provide training and education and ensure that
authorities be held accountable.

Refugees and Internally Displaced People in DRC
Ms Monique Sokhan, Senior Legal Advisor for Democratic Republic of Congo, Regional Bureau for Africa,
United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
The two major groups of refugees in DRC at present are from Central African Republic (CAR) and
Burundi. There are also significant numbers from Angola, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sudan and
Uganda. There are different strategies, e.g. for Angolans there is voluntary repatriation, but local
integration for those that want to remain.
There are a total of 2.8 million IDPs spread between North Kivu , South Kivu, Katanga and Province
Orientale. There are also Congolese refugees in Angola, Burundi, CAR, Republic of Congo , Rwanda.
IDP issues:
-

Protracted situation of displaced persons, emergencies because of armed groups
Protection issues – HR abuses, lack of humanitarian access and state presence
UNHCR response – coordination, GBSV and child protection, monitoring camp management,
prevent statelessness in young
Bringing solutions – Being in constant emergency makes it difficult to bring solutions,
returns/re-locations, the challenge is to maintain safety in “safe havens” and that state
authority, legislative and policy framework and community based protection prevail.

Refugee issues:
-

Asylum, registration and documentation
Civilian and humanitarian character of asylum
Humanitarian access and emergency response
Child protection and GBSV
Protracted situations and solutions (Angolans, Rwandans)
Rwandan refugees: statistics and solutions
DRC refugees in countries of asylum – protracted situation, asylum and solutions
16 | P a g e

Key issues UNCHR works on:
-

Solutions for IDPS and refugees
Laying grounds for return
Breaking the cycle of violence and displacement
On-going emergencies, dwindling budget, donor fatigue, forgotten crisis
UNHCR partnership with faith actors, good practices.

Churches responding to emergencies: the humanitarian situation in DRC
Rev. Dominique Mukanya, National Director for Refugees and Emergencies, Eglise du Christ au Congo
(presented by the moderator in absence of Rev. Mukanya)
Humanitarian needs are multifaceted and are the result of many factors. In 2014 the strategy was
planned based on crises: conflicts with violence, nutritional crisis, epidemics, and natural catastrophes.
There is human devastation and devastation of infrastructure which affects sustainability for the
population.
Structural factors relating to poverty and conflicts contribute to increased vulnerability of affected
populations. There is a high malnutrition rate – this is a silent emergency. There is low access to basic
services in conflict zones, so epidemics break out and spread, especially cholera.
Needs and current challenges
-

New refugees from Burundi
Need for advocacy
Programme for awareness raising
Drinking water
Resilience programme for epidemics

-

Construction
of
resilience
of
communities for natural disasters
Fight against impunity for violation and
protection of HRs
Control of weapons in conflict areas.

The vulnerability of specific groups – women, children, disabled – to armed conflicts in DRC
Rev. Dr Micheline Kamba, WCC Central Committee member (presented by moderator in absence of Dr
Kamba)
I want to present mechanisms for protection of concerned groups: women, children, disabled persons
because they are in all sorts of situations that can lead to precarious security conditions. Notions of
vulnerability are when there is a threat to physical or moral integrity that goes against the right of life,
dignity, and freedom of expression.
Vulnerable categories Identified by the Red Cross include
-

Refugees
Non accompanied children
Single women
Old people

-

Women with disabilities
Disabled persons who are head of a
household.

Vulnerability is caused by precarious living often because of change and intense upheaval.
Manifestations include sexual violence, cultural problems, lack of rights, child malnutrition, abandoned
children, and lack of rights for the disabled and disabled being seen as being evil.
We have mechanisms for rapid action; we try to find emergency solutions, to help with food, jobs,
shelter, and protection from illnesses. This is what should be done.

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We need a programme to uphold social justice. There is a Masters course in social transformation at the
Protestant University of the Congo. This is a unique course that can bring about change of mentality
and break down barriers to benefit development. It covers strategic areas of needs without
discrimination and will have positive effects in our communities and will help with empowerment for
vulnerable people. It has an inter-disciplinary and research action process, there is no discrimination,
and it is of interest to vulnerable people everyone that can be rendered useful in society. In conclusion,
this Masters course will have significant impact and will help ensure progress.
A round of questions and answers brought forth the following points:
Legislation: DRC has beautiful laws but implementation is a problem. The situation we face in the state
sector is also observed in culture. There are laws in the churches but they are not always followed. We
cannot always blame the state. So can we pretend to be the model? But there are some initiatives we
hope can be extended so that churches can show they are moral guardians of laws within society. We
need more impulse within the churches.
Legislative framework is important for IDPs, the Kampala convention was ratified by many states but
we need to domesticate it, this will make it easier to advocate for rights and operationalization.
Churches play an important role in advocating for a legislative framework for IDPs and refuges. If they
do not have the right to move or work it’s difficult to work on self-sufficiency, so more voices will be
better for our advocacy with governments.
Resettlement: This is a last resort when return is not possible. In protracted situations of displacement
for 10 or more years, UNHCR assists with resettlement. A lot depends on resettlement countries too,
e.g. US and Canada have quotas, so we work with that. Not everyone can be resettled. There are almost
500,000 persons in need of resettlement with a capacity for 50,000 at present. Advocating with
governments for more spaces is part of our work.
Donor fatigue: We hear it from many quarters, it is a struggle but we should never be tired until justice
and peace are achieved; people need to be held accountable for tiredness. Still donors say they don’t
see any progress in certain situations and are ready to respond more to new emerging priorities.
Participants were encouraged to raise this issue when meeting with embassies.
Churches’ role: When there is a wave of refugees, churches are the first affected as most schools and
medical facilities belong to churches. So even before international agencies arrive the church has done
something. It is getting difficult to be more open and you wonder will more problems come, but in
general churches act first. Some international communities see what churches have done; they use our
diakonia departments as an agent for refugees and IDPs. Churches are most of the time in the forefront
of assistance in both areas of departure and hosting. Their role should not be underestimated.
Host communities: Most IDPs are not in camps, so it is more difficult for agencies to reach them but they
try to introduce community-based support. Churches assist those communities. The main challenge is
to reach these communities.
Dialogue between churches and how to try to find solutions: One measure is to bridge communities that
have been separated by conflict and to work on peaceful coexistence. Conflict over land and identity
have led to having IDPs. Some communities are not considered as Congolese but as Rwandan. So
identity is very much an issue. They want to return but don’t have their land and their communities
consider them as strangers. So dialogue should address that; through the church we need to reconcile
some communities.

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18:00 – 19:30
RECEPTION WITH DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS IN GENEVA
THURSDAY 28 MAY
Morning prayer (on “Thursdays in Black” campaign)
SESSION 4 – SEXUAL AND GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE (SGBV) AND HIV AND AIDS
MODERATOR: PROF. ISABEL A. PHIRI, Associate General Secretary for Public Witness and Diakonia, World
Council of Churches
Perspective of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and
consequences, on the intersection between HIV/AIDS and violence against women
Ms Rashida Manjoo, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women – message delivered
by Ms Nathalie Stadelmann, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
(presented by a colleague from OHCHR)
Gender base violence (GBV) is a serious global human rights (HRs) concern and a significant driver for
HIV/AIDS. It is rooted in multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and inequalities, and is
strongly linked to the social and economic situation of women and violence against women.
Violence cuts across gender, race, class, geographical location, religion or belief, educational attainment,
ability and sexuality. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises GBV as a major public health
problem that can result in a wide range of physical, mental, sexual, reproductive and maternal health
problems. It can even be fatal.
Rape and sexual assault takes away women’s control over how, with whom and how they have sex.
There is stigma and rejection by family and community members and risk of sexually transmitted
infections (STIs). Programmes for prevention and treatment must include challenging unequal power
structures governing relationships between women and men.
For HIV, sexual education is important as is non-discriminatory training for those helping. Testing,
treatment and counselling should be ensured with privacy and access to affordable drugs should be
provided worldwide.
In DRC GBV is rampant in the whole country, not only in conflict zones. Rapists infect with HIV and STIs
and there is inadequate access to prophylaxis after rape. Victims are ostracised and husbands desert
women who have been raped. Impunity for rape is massive. It is not only perpetrated by the military
but also civilians, there has been a kind of normalising of it. Victims suffer stigma and destitution, have
to struggle for survival, and are denied compensation. Now there is a call for zero tolerance, for an end
to impunity, and for sanctions especially for the military. Training is needed and women must have
access to medical and psychological care.
These serious HR violations by state and non-state actors were reported in 2011 to the Human Rights
Council but there unfortunately has been no positive response to date.

From stigma to resilience: the role of churches in empowering women victims of SGBV
Rev. Berthe Nzeba – Executive Secretary for Gender and Families, Eglise du Christ au Congo
The church has many roles to play:
a) Spiritual role

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It is essential to pray and implore grace to support victims of rape to heal internal wounds and
minimise trauma. Compassion of churches is needed for victims to help to comfort and relieve and lift
them out of distress and show the Lord’s love and spirit of forgiveness. But churches must also
denounce evil at its roots and point the finger at perpetrators and help governing authorities to find
solutions.

b) Churches and health care
Churches have set up health care departments in hospitals or created hospitals devoted to sexual
violence (SV) victims, particularly for those:
-

who have lost their femininity
are infected by STIs and HIV
who have become pregnant with unwanted children.

We raise the alarm and ask for the help and solidarity of all partner churches with capacity building in
medical training to help these victims find an alternative to their otherwise bleak future.
c) Financial empowerment
Victims become very vulnerable because they are rejected and have no means of subsistence, so the
church has organised practical training to lead to jobs and income in sectors such as agriculture, soap
production, wicker work, sewing, manufacture, etc.
The CCC women and family unit encourages victims to work in cooperatives to mutually help each other
and ensure sustainability. Churches need to grant micro credit loans to avoid begging or constant
dependence. The victims need help to feel that they are women of value and to commit to social
transformation for justice.

d) Churches and advocacy
Innocent people should not suffer for wars they are not responsible for. WCC must lead advocacy
initiatives when peace is threatened so that we can reach the point where we can speak about the
reconstruction of the DRC.

Raising the voice of young women in DRC
Ms Olga Kangaj Tshiwewe, Methodist Church in DRC
Young women encounter challenges every day. Apart from sharing their communities’ struggles many
systematically face discrimination simply by being female. This includes physical and sexual violence,
being kept out of school, disproportionate vulnerability to HIV infection and lack of access to property
and other rights.
There are many cases of unspoken violence; it is present country-wide even in peaceful areas.
Communities and churches remain silent and young women lose hope. There are no safe spaces. We
are all called to action. There is no excuse for the cruelty of those who torture and rape women and
girls on a regular basis.
We have to be the victim’s voice and raise awareness. Actions can include:
-

Trainings

-

Creating safe spaces
20 | P a g e

-

Preaching the gospel of justice of peace
Promote women’s rights
Education for all
Organise dialogues

-

Empower women to lead the change
and be independent
Have role models

There is hope but women need a helping hand to realise their potential for creating a better world. We
need to stand together to fight this violence to create a culture of gender justice and peace without rape
and violence.

Young men's masculinities and HIV prevention in DRC
Mr Hendrew Lusey, Regional Coordinator for Central Africa, Ecumenical HIV and Aids Initiatives and
Advocacy (WCC/EHAIA)
There is a huge prevalence of HIV in DRC, some 1.2 million in total are affected; younger boys and older
women are the most commonly affected populations. 70% of health structures belong to the churches,
but dealing with HIV is carried out from many different perceptions: e.g. sin, silence, as an epidemic; so
consequently the responses are also very varied.
Masculinity studies is a new area and there are lots of misperceptions and misconceptions, such as
beliefs that boys need sex, and girls want to do it for money. There is ambivalence about using
condoms. That said, church morality is a valid choice for some and those who follow that path question
current models of masculinity.
In conclusion young people are aware of churches’ teaching but do not always put it into action, many
have sex with several partners. But those who adhere to church guidance believe in and promote
gender equality and mutual respect.

Silent No More: mobilising church leaders and communities for gender justice in DRC
Ms Helen Hollands, Programme Manager, Tearfund DRC
The presentation began with a video of a rape victim and a plan for community action.
There is stigma and violence related to rape but we must speak with a united voice. Tearfund’s vision is
to see and restore dignity to fellow human beings, the most vulnerable, and to rebuild society with
partners to have communities that can access their human rights.
Although there is a high incidence rate of sexual violence, it is not always reported even although it is a
part of daily life. Often victims knows their perpetrator, in 2011 3 million persons reported being
victims of intimate partner violence.
Tearfund is working on a pilot project in partnership with the Anglican Church (although the project is
for all church families), the approach includes:
-

Transforming leadership: mobilising faith leaders of all denominations
Church as a safe space: equipping the church
Supporting survivors: community action groups
Positive masculinities: empowering men and boys to be positive role models.

There is a will to speak out as a coalition committed to the end of sexual violence. The We Will Speak
Out partnership supports faith groups to speak out and provide safe spaces. The presentation
concluded by participants saying together:
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We will speak out.
We will be silent no more.
We stand together in solidarity with the most vulnerable.
We dedicate ourselves to finding lasting solutions; mobilising leadership at all levels.
We will promote laws that model, protect and promote justice, enable healthy relationships
and challenge those that don’t.
We will work to ensure that these laws are enforced.
We commit to take action together to see all girls, women, boys and men freed from the threat
and impact of sexual violence across the world.
www.tearfund.org/sexualviolence www.wewillspeakout.org
Participants then reflected on

what they had learned today that they did not know before and
what would be the most powerful action for the churches to take together to end SGBV and HIV
in DRC.

Brief feedback included:
-

-

-

-

-

We must raise awareness and exert pressure on public authorities and follow trials and rulings
that are issued and no longer make the victim seem guilty when they come for solace. Rape
victims should no longer have to hide a situation of rape by their father or brother.
There is a problem with sexual education and this could be given by churches, the We Will Speak
out Campaign is very important.
We would have liked to be able to ask questions to the special rapporteur or the person who
read the message. The speakers did not speak about foreign perpetrators in UN missions,
bringing them to justice can help victims.
Churches need to adopt a strategy to respond to the young generation, to breaking the silence.
Efforts like the Tamar Campaign and Contextual Bible Study should be used. Unfortunately it is
perceived as a woman’s tool, this should not be the case.
Advocacy is important, we have legal frameworks but have we tried to engage with
implementation? The Great Lakes Region protocol launched a zero tolerance campaign for
GBSV but we do not fast track cases for justice and prevent impunity. We need to follow up on
these commitments.
Reducing the amount of SBGV is not only a moral problem but a governmental one too. Full
impunity prevails for those who commit SV. We have a problem with governance impunity. We
should think together what churches can do to change the governance system in the Congo.
We should encourage parents and churches. Parents have to teach their children and tell them
about the dangers so that they can understand the risks. Training sessions and awareness
raising of the dangers of SV are also important.

SESSION 5 – INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION FOR PEACEBUILDING AND RECONSTRUCTION IN
DRC
MODERATOR: THE MOST REVD DR KATHARINE JEFFERTS SCHORI, Presiding Bishop, The Episcopal Church
From conflict to sustainable peace: perspectives from a former child soldier
Mr Junior Nzita Nsuami, former child soldier, Founder and President of Paix pour l’enfance (PPE)
War is part of daily history, I lived through it, I want to tell you how we all have to be committed to fight
against this scourge of violence in Africa against children.

22 | P a g e

After primary school in Goma in 1996 I was sent to boarding school but was kidnapped to be made a
child soldier to be used as cannon fodder and to avoid expenses for the forces that captured and used
us. We were in a school of violence, not a military academy. Then we were abandoned in Kinshasa, left
hurt and crazy from mental illnesses. Allies went back to their own countries, peace came back and
demobilisation started, I benefitted from that programme, having spent 10 years of my life as a child
soldier from the age of 12 to 22.
Thanks to religion I could change my life in a positive way and become useful and helpful for other
members of society. The importance of churches in rehabilitation is vital; religion made me who I am
today. I help the UN with child issues and orphans in DRC and take care of 92 children. I try to
reconstruct society and help others to become good citizens, we have trainings on nonviolence; only
this way can we ensure peace be guaranteed. This violence will continue if we do not get education.

International cooperation in view of the electoral process in DRC
Bishop David Yemba, Methodist Church in DRC, Vice President of the Commission on Integrity and
Electoral Mediation in DRC
As Vice-President of the Committee for Mediation and Integrity in the Electoral Process in the DRC, I
have carried this responsibility since 2011 and have experience in this area. International cooperation
amongst states is carried out in many fields such as politics, aid, diplomacy, economics, military, social,
humanitarian, UN work to relieve suffering.
International cooperation for elections has varied over the years, 2006 was the first experience when
we received financial aid to hold elections, we received more than for the 2011 elections. The
international community is working with institutions in DRC, with finance from individual countries as
well as from various groups of countries. The contributions can be in cash or kind (equipment,
supplies) or services.
We have learned that international cooperation brings certain questions like the role of international
observers, relationships with the electoral committee CENI and announcement of results of elections –
we need clarification from the international community on this.
There is the question of ethics of international cooperation and national sovereignty. We await results
from CENI but sometimes you hear other sources of information saying the elections were not free and
fair. There is responsibility in partnerships; solidarity and commitment must also be demonstrated.
The country must be certain that their commitments are respected. The real question is: does
international cooperation have a place? It has raised a multitude of ethical issues for both parties. We
must decide what the specific role of the international community is – this is essential so that there be
no prejudice to national sovereignty. DRC must also respect commitments to international cooperation.

Ecumenical advocacy for peace, security and reconstruction in DRC
Ms Ellen Gutler, Desk Officer for DR Congo, Rwanda and Burund, Brot für die Welt
Since the 1990s ecumenical organisations working in DRC and the Great Lakes Region (GLR) have seen
how people are suffering in Rwanda and Congo. We started working to join various networks but there
was tension so we decided to have one organisation: EURAC which has 46 non-governmental members,
from 12 European countries, with its office in Brussels, with 2 staff: www.eurac-network.org. The

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mission is to do advocacy for human rights (HR) in the GLR, including Congo; it publishes information
and organises consultations between members for a regional approach to peace.
In Germany we have The Ecumenical Network for Central Africa (ÖNZ) made up from members AGEH,
BfdW, Misereor, UEM and Pax Christi located in Berlin. The mission is to advocate for policy for
observation of HRs, security and peace building.
ÖNZ talks with the German authorities at all levels, collaborates with EURAC, and in relevant countries
works with church partners and resource organisations. The aims are to explain, inform and motivate
players in Germany to find solutions for issues like impunity, security, HR violations, protection,
democracy, commitment, pillaging of natural resources.

Role of Humanitarian Action in DRC: Perspectives from ACT Alliance
Ms Sarah Kambarami, ACT Alliance Head of Programmes, ACT Alliance
ACT’s strategy is to work for full life and dignity for all through
-

Human dignity
Community resilience
Environmental sustainability

There are 13 members in the DRC mostly in north and south Kivu working on humanitarian response,
emergency preparedness and joint capacity building in areas such as water, sanitation, food, hygiene,
nutrition, education.
For human dignity there is awareness raising on HIV/AIDS, GBSV and HRs. For resilience we distribute
seeds and tools for food security, training in agricultural practices, help with the formation of farmers
associations. The role of humanitarian action comprises responding to needs in practical ways,
Working in an alliance is what our humanitarian action needs to be about.

Feedback from table discussions included:
Churches and politics: The church should be more interested in what is happening regarding public
order, and not have such a big gap. The church works with the government on many issues for the
wellbeing of people but it should not work with distinct political parties.
DRC is a secular state and the government is doing its work but there is a problem of good governance.
There is government controlled by parliament and provincial level but who are the MPs? They are
Christian citizens we can speak to and they can get governments to react, they have the power to make
the government listen.
We need to reinforce existing tools and networks and open up with the secular world. The main task
and role of the church is to teach nonviolence, this is the only way we can overcome conflict.

Militarisation and arms trafficking: The military industrial machinery has not been contested by
churches; they try to avoid this issue. We often think about conflict but this is really about war/justified
violence and we need to denounce and address it.

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Electoral process: We expect this meeting to deploy an electoral observation team for 2016, so we need
to respond on how this theme will work related to national election observers or in international
electoral missions. What will be the role of the churches? It is not necessarily expensive if they get
together, using people already available in DRC. We are mainly Protestants here but the Roman
Catholic Church is very influential in DRC so we should be around the same table. The church should
stay away from politics but it is not always easy.
It is sensitive but we do need observers within churches in Congo as well as from outside but we need
to establish rules, if they are not followed observers risk creating even more problems, especially when
it comes to results. CENI have clear instructions as to the organisation of elections and observers’ roles
and it is our role to work with CENI and with the government to tell them about the existing laws and
that everyone has to respect them. There are key rules at international level for national and
international observers, 24 pages of them. We need to train observers and ensure they come one or
two days in advance for training in the field.

A message from the young people in Kinshasa (following the conference through livestreaming)
Young people have a very big role in peacebuilding and elections. They are often used to promote
violence and the education system is inadequate to develop their country, so there are lots of problems
but we need to be involved. We have noticed high rates of illiteracy, 85% are unemployed so have no
activity and can be vulnerable to dubious propositions, so we must involve them in peacebuilding in
nonviolent ways especially in the elections. The adult-youth relationship is broken, trust has to be
rebuilt.

SESSION 6 AND 7 – WORKING GROUPS AND MEETINGS WITH DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS IN GENEVA
- Working Groups meetings to prepare concrete action plans on the 4 thematic areas (elections, natural
resources, gender-based violence, human rights and humanitarian situation)
- Synthesizing ideas and concrete plans for future joint advocacy efforts
FRIDAY 29 MAY
The day’s sessions began with prayer in the Chapel of the Ecumenical Centre.
SESSION 8 – REPORTS FROM WORKING GROUPS (PLENARY)
MODERATOR: Hendrew Lusey, Regional Coordinator for Central Africa, Ecumenical HIV and Aids
Initiatives and Advocacy (WCC/EHAIA)
Sexual Violence and gender specific violence
Challenges faced include:
- Incomprehension of GBV by the
churches, they cannot understand why
it is being committed
- Ensuring safe spaces and confidentiality
- Corrective measures
Actions/activities the church has to undertake include:
- Use the Tamar Campaign as a model
- Follow the We Will Speak Out campaign

-

Establishment of procedures
Counselling
Impunity
Violence exacerbated by wars

-

Issue joint messages to be published
and disseminated from churches
25 | P a g e

-

Raise awareness
Legal provisions
Avoid victimization
Help at prosecution processes
Use human resources available and
cooperate with those who have
expertise
Free legal aid
Work on domestic violence
Education
Respect
Masculinity
Fight against discrimination
Pray

-

Identify multinationals
Healthcare
Holistic treatment of victims
Reintegration of families of survivors
Capacity
building
of
health
professionals
Ensure survivors approval before taking
any actions
Theological teaching on responsible
behaviour
Break the taboo
WCC to mediate for social peace and
reconciliation.

Natural resources
The group started with mapping of its members who were mostly from the eastern DRC working on
agriculture, forest, land access, but mostly mining (conflicts, taxes/financing, social corporate
responsibility)
There is a predominance of mineral conflicts more than of other natural resources, although water
could be the new emerging source of conflict. In general there is a lack of reliable maps of resources.
Conflict of authority exists; there is no one entity that rules over the different parts of the land. So
governance is the issue.

Actions:
International - lobbying at EU, get involved with EURAC, at UN international structures and processes in
Geneva and New York, lobby for mining to go on international agenda. Work on transparency and
accountability, there should be an international legally binding instrument to bring people to justice if
necessary.
National and local (these often overlap) - corruption is cross-cutting at every level from bottom to top.
Taxes should be collected in villages locally and nationally. A strong basis is civic education. A national
observatory for natural resources and economy should be established.
Churches should have an analytical capacity to understand the depth of the problem and include it in
what they do in relation to development.

Recommendations for WCC
Gather and share information, who does what where, mapping, international processes
Establish links with other global campaigns
Include locally gathered information to ensure ownership at the local level

Recommendations for churches in DRC
Raise awareness to reach the highest number of people possible
Ensure that the theological message is also conveyed
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Everything will require financial resources; perhaps WCC should help churches in DRC to get in touch
with those who could finance such processes. Lobbying could be tightened up, we need to see how we
can influence actors, e.g. in the US, Canada, Australia who have concessions in the DRC.

Human rights and the humanitarian situation
The group addressed 6 challenges and possible actions for the 2015-2017 period:
1. Reducing the gap between legislative power and reality. Set up a Christian council and have
influence on what happens when church misbehaves; action should be taken
2. How to help refugees and war victims. Regarding exclusion of refugees from elections, all who
were 18 after 2011 should be able to vote, young people should not be excluded; organise a
permanent support to refugees and IDPs when there are humanitarian crises.
3. Arms trade and child soldiers – participate in the combat against violent struggle, it is a culture
we have to develop, we should be aware about expenses disbursed for arms rather than
investing in education.
4. Document human rights violations
5. Promote the right to work, support professional schools to ensure entrepreneurship.
6. What can we do as churches - look at what we have done so far, auto-evaluation, responsible
leadership.
Reactions to the presentations and responses from the presenters were summed up by the moderator
to encompass to main thrusts:
-

Corruption is gangrene and common in all areas we discussed, this needs to be addressed as a
priority.
Church is at the heart of all these issues, God’s people must also be role models, practice what
we preach
We need a theology for treatment of perpetrators for transformation
Youth must know positive masculinities that respect women and men.

The session was concluded with a first reading of the consultation Communiqué which elucidated
feedback on the content, nature and tone of the document for the drafting group to take into
consideration.

SESSION 9 – THE WAY FORWARD: PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN 2016
MODERATOR: Mr Peter Prove, CCIA Director, World Council of Churches
- Report from Working Groups on elections
Report of the Electoral Process Working Group
Challenges faced include:
-

Promoting dialogue, also among
young
Rise above political conflict
Sovereignty

-

Interests in natural resources
(external and internal)
Governance and transparency
Mistrust, lack of information
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-

Youth participation
Insecurity

-

Representation of women

-

Formation of youth
Promote representation of women
in power and process
Church as role model
Promote dialogue
Previous events and lessons learned

-

Advocacy
Observation 2016
Post-election engagement

-

Voice of the churches, not from
individuals from the church.

There are several elements that have to be taken into account
-

50% of voters are women
65% are less than 34 years old
450 + political parties
Logistics
Legal framework
Education at all levels
National reconciliation

Benchmarks comprise:
-

Clarify commitment of ecumenical
movement and WCC
Moral imperative for the electoral
process
Roadmap

The role of the churches is essential for all aspects through:
-

Moral authority
Prophetic voice

Electoral supervision and monitoring under the aegis of international Agencies
Prof. Sigg, Consultant
We have to be careful with the terms we use, for example monitoring in English is not the same as
observation in French.
Even although we have elections as the norm, democracy is increasingly called in to question. While
elections can be declared fair, they can still be very violent. It’s not because we observe that we can
avoid this.
There are various scenarios of elections with varying inclusion of peace, human security,
transformation, conflict, fraud. This shows that observation can be needed even before elections,
particularly to avoid post-election conflict. The winners and losers model excludes people. The truth
and reconciliation commission born in South Africa has been on exemplary model on peace
consolidation.
Discussion on the questions “How can we as an ecumenical community engage constructively in the
forthcoming electoral processes?” elucidated the following points:
-

-

We must encourage people of high integrity to become candidates and need a mechanism to
deal with those that are elected that are not trustworthy. Elected persons need to be
accountable for their mandate.
We need a framework to aim for what we really want.
We could gather learning from EAPPI and do something similar for election observations
Put elections in the larger vision of the Congo we want. We need to mobilise citizens to work
towards this. Civic education is essential.
Keep the regional link; do not bypass it straight to the international level.
The faith community needs to define what profile it wants to project.
The church has role of praying first and foremost.
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-

The image of the UN has diminished. Churches need to give a different image and stress the
pilgrimage of justice and peace and help parishioners.

Concluding words from the panel comprised:
We want the Congo of the constitution and need to put the constitution back into the hands of
Congolese as a tool for accountability. We need to take into consideration the laws of the country
within the history of the country born out of a specific context.
The church has a role in civil society for its added value, to bring new breath, be there where the UN has
failed, to provide new impetus. The ability to pray in Congo with all faiths is a valuable asset of
tolerance. Civic educations, debates, training, are roles for the church in disseminating good practices.
We must listen to one another.

SESSION 10 – THE WAY FORWARD: AN ECUMENICAL FORUM ON DRC?
MODERATOR: Mr Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, WCC New York Liaison Office, World Council of Churches
Plenary discussion on framework for international ecumenical cooperation for DRC
Brief feedback from meetings with missions
Sweden – the visiting group focussed on issues where there could be leverage to influence:




Natural resources
Elections
Decentralisation situation and need for international support , problematic role of government
Importance of correct and efficient UN presence
Shrinking space for civil society

There was a positive reception to ideas, the mission staff were enthusiastic and will bring the message
to their foreign ministry and international institutions.

Canada - The meeting was a good opportunity for the representative to hear of reality first hand, issues
discussed these last few days were lifted up: SGBV, resource extraction, poverty and elections. The
mission is focusing on violence against women and early and forced marriages. Women’s participation
in elections was also discussed. The group asked that the Canadian government be made aware of
Canadian companies’ practices and the effects they have. The group committed to continue to lift up the
voice in advocacy in Canada and encouraged the representative to visit Congo. There was talk of a
possible exchange between Canadian and Congolese church leaders.

Finland - Members met with the Councilor of Finland who suggests WCC and partners raise visibility on
DRC at the UN Human Rights Council September 2015 session by organizing a side event.

Framework for international ecumenical cooperation for DRC
The WCC and the wider ecumenical community have a lot of experience in peace negotiations and we
have learned we must be more focused. A recent meeting in Sigtuna, Sweden on advocacy for peace led
to work on a framework of advocacy for peace (document currently available in draft form in English
and Spanish) and the creation of an Ecumenical Peace Advocacy Network (EPAN) currently working on
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humanitarian disarmament and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), especially No. 16 on peaceful
societies.
Four of the SDGs have particular relevance for the Congolese questions in hand:
-

Ending poverty
Gender quality, empowering women
Protecting and restoring natural resources
Promoting peaceful societies

The international ecumenical cooperation for DRC should not have a formal structure but rather it
should strengthen existing initiatives and projects, and encourage collaboration through dialogue,
cooperation and mutual trust. It is essential to affirm existing projects/activities, build on them to make
issues global. We must also relate to the UN HRC in Geneva and the Security Council in New York to
which WCC has access. The narrative of the people is what makes UN people act and take decisions.
Some questions/suggestions were raised from the floor on:
-

WCC ecumenical envoy to the Congo
Extend ambit of the discussions to the Great Lakes Region
Include the UN system and economic actors in the discussions
Ecumenical cooperation should be owned in Congo and supported internationally
Regional involvement of AACC, also through African Union its liaison office, is important;
Sub-regional linkages, for instance with FECLAHA, are also beneficial to this ecumenical
cooperation.

Everyone was thanked for their input, the suggestions would be given due attention and a first draft of
how the structure could work would be prepared and shared with participants
Then ensued a second reading of the communiqué, it was stressed that this was to be used in
conjunction with reports from working groups as the main outcome of the consultation.
Several suggestions came from the floor were incorporated into the document via live-editing on
screen. Of particular note was the proposal to refer to the forum as a “suitable structure” to strengthen
ecumenical cooperation, instead of a formal structure.
With these amendments the conference unanimously adopted the second draft of the communiqué.
Thanks were extended to members of drafting group.
The WCC general secretary gave closing greetings thanking everyone for their contributions and sincere
commitment to continue the ecumenical journey, in the spirit of the Pilgrimage, in the hope that it will
give the people of Congo what they need.
Peter Prove and Segma Asfaw gave closing remarks with thanks for the inspiration and guidance for the
work that we are to do together, greatly appreciating the outcome achieved. A message was also
conveyed from the youth movement in Kinshasa who had been following the conference by video
streaming.
Expression of gratitude from the Congolese participants was also conveyed to WCC for having
organized this first such conference, which encourages churches and communities to know they are not
alone in the problems they are facing. They hope for and look forward to a new spirit of cooperation to
strengthen ecumenical relationships between the churches in DRC and our partners worldwide.
The conference was closed by His Beatitude Patriarch II Jean Baudouin Kayuwa Mikenyi, with praise
and thanks to our Lord, recitation of the Lord’s Prayer (each in their own language) and a benediction.
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