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New initiative to combat violence against women in the Democratic Republic of Congo

European Commission - IP/13/723   23/07/2013

Other available languages: FR DE LV

european commission

press release

Brussels, 23 July 2013

New initiative to combat violence against women in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The European Union has just endorsed an initiative worth 25 million euros to combat violence against women in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Despite more than a decade of joint efforts from the international community and the Congolese Government, such violence remains commonplace. The European Union is very concerned by the continuing gender-based violence in the DRC and has therefore decided to launch a new programme which is innovative and presents a united front.

Mr Andris Piebalgs, Member of the European Commission responsible for Development, is delighted by the launch of this new initiative and states: "This new initiative should make a difference in the lives of women in the DRC. It is unacceptable that so many young girls and women are still victims of violence that goes unpunished and have no access to education. Moreover, any sustainable development is inconceivable without the participation of all stakeholders in our partner countries and we must not forget that women are at the heart of growth in Africa."

To help with the adoption of a new approach to relations between men and women which hopes to create a more harmonious and prosperous society in the DRC, whilst combatting gender-based violence effectively, the project aims to increase the percentage of children with proper access to education to at least 70 % in the provinces of Kinshasa and Bandundu.

The initiative also aims to increase the capacity of the units in the Congolese national police force specialised in combatting violence against young girls and women in Kinshasa, Bandundu and Maniema. This will help to provide a contact point where victims and witnesses of violence can seek guidance, so that the guilty parties can be prosecuted and their violent crimes will not go unpunished. This approach can in future be extended to the rest of the country.

This programme should make it possible to tackle the roots of the problem by encouraging a new perception of the roles of women and men in society. By turning men as well as women into instruments of change, the initiative will have a better chance of success in the long term.

This initiative will be launched together with UNICEF and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, as well as with the support of the Congolese Government.

Background and results so far

Violence affects one third of all women during the course of their lives in developing countries. As the European Union and its twenty-seven Member States were once again the largest donors of aid in 2012, the European Union plays a vital role in encouraging the education and support of young girls and women.

Since 2004, thanks to the aid given by the European Union throughout the world:

  • more than 85 000 additional female students were registered for secondary education;

  • trained health workers were present for more than 4 million births;

  • 10.8 million consultations took place on matters linked to reproductive health.

Current programmes primarily aim to provide medical and psycho-social assistance to victims, in particular in the eastern provinces (Panzi Hospital in Bukavu and Heal Africa in Goma). Other programmes providing support to the police, the justice system, the army, and the health system already fully take into account gender-based violence.

For more information:

To find out more about the EU's work to support women in developing countries, go to:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/what/gender/index_en.htm

The website of Mr Andris Piebalgs, Member of the European Commission responsible for Development:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/piebalgs/index_en.htm

The EuropeAid Development and Cooperation website:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/index_en.htm

Contact people:

Alexandre Polack (+32 2 299 06 77)

Maria Sanchez Aponte (+32 2 298 10 35)


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