Thursday, August 21, 2008

Living With Fear: A Survey of the People of Congo

The International Center for Transitional Justice, the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley and the Payson Center for International Development at Tulane University conducted a survey of 2,620 Congolese between September and December 2007. The study focused North and South Kivu, Ituri, Kinshasa, and Kisangani. The results of the survey were predictable but shocking nonetheless. A summary of the survey revealed:

• 80 percent of respondents said they had been displaced at least three times in the last 15 years
• 75 percent said their cattle or livestock had been stolen
• 66 percent said their home had been destroyed or confiscated
• 61 percent of those polled in the east said they witnessed the violent death of a family member or friend
• 60 percent said one more of their household members had disappeared
• 34 percent said they themselves had been abducted for more than a week
• 53 percent reported being forced to work or being enslaved by armed groups
• 31 percent said they had been wounded in fighting
• 35 percent said they had been tortured
• 46 percent had been threatened with death
• 23 percent had witnessed sexual violence
• 16 percent had been sexually violated and 12 percent multiple times
• 85 percent of people polled believe "those responsible for the violence should be held accountable"

In North Kivu, at the epicenter of the violence, responses to the question "who protects you" were quite revealing. Respondents answered God (44 percent), the army (25 percent), the police (8 percent), nobody (7 percent), U.N. peacekeepers (6 percent).

Click here to read complete 60 page study.


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