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Living With Fear: A Population-Based Survey on Attitudes about Peace, Justice, and Social Reconstruction in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • Author(s): Vinck, Patrick
  • Pham, Phuong
  • Baldo, Suliman
  • Shigekane, Rachel
  • et al.
Abstract

Two years after the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) held its first elections since independence, the country is at a crossroads. Among the key challenges facing the DRC today is the question of how the country will address the massive human rights atrocities of its recent past to establish a foundation for peace and security, the rule of law, and respect for human rights to prevail in the future. The 2006 elections capped an era of international armed conflict and massive violence in the DRC that began with Laurent Desire Kabila’s 1996–97 campaign to liberate Congo from decades of repressive rule under Mobutu Sese Seko. The advent of an elected government sets the stage for state-building initiatives focusing on governance and critical long-term institutional reform in the security and justice sectors. Yet armed conflict and mass violence continue to plague eastern DRC.

This report presents the results of a population survey undertaken by the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley, the Payson Center at Tulane University, and the International Center for Transitional Justice. Focusing on areas most affected by conflict in eastern DRC, surveys were conducted from September to December 2007 among a sample population of 2,620 individuals in the Ituri district in Oriental province and the provinces of North and South Kivu. The report concentrates its analysis on the survey results in eastern DRC, but comparative interviews were also conducted among a sample population of 1,133 individuals in Kinshasa and Kisangani. The survey sought to assess exposure to violence among the population, understand the priorities and needs of Congolese civilians affected by the conflicts, and capture attitudes about peace, social reconstruction, and transitional justice mechanisms.

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