Recent CPTnet stories

AFRICA GREAT LAKES: Doing peace in our countries

Cliff Kindy with nonviolent workshop participants in DRCIf you fled a war zone for your safety, would you voluntarily choose to return to that zone of violence? A church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) chose to do so. Self-identified as Church of the Brethren (COB) this group of eight congregations and about eight hundred members felt a call to return to their communities as bridge builders and peace makers despite the dangers. The peace churches attracted them because of the emphasis on living alternatives to war and violence. They previously held a trauma care training with the Friends in the Africa Great Lakes Region because trauma is endemic in the DRC, where six million people have been killed since the 1990s.

UGANDA: LGBT activist David Kato murdered

In 2007, members of CPT's Great Lakes team met with David Kato and two of his colleagues at Sexual Minorities Uganda.  His murder on 26 January 2011 is a significant loss to the LGBT community in East Africa.  Kato was an outspoken activist and faced numerous threats to his life, the most recent after he successfully sued a Kampala newspaper for publishing his (and others’) photos with a message that they should be hanged.  His funeral took place on 28 January.  An obituary is available here.

AFRICA GREAT LAKES UPDATE: February 2009

8 February
CPT visited the town of Minova and village of Kashenda for a third time and participated in a meeting with representatives of a newly formed nonviolence committee in Kashenda, as well as with representatives of the Bweremana Peace Committee, which included members from Minova.  Following the meeting, CPTers also met again with "Rebecca" a rape survivor who works tirelessly as wounded healer, assisting and advocating for other survivors of sexual violence.  She is connected to Synergie des Femmes pour les Victimes de Violences Sexuelles (SFVS) and brought the team her ledgers showing the incidents she had documented since the team's prior visit on 11 January 2009.  During that time, she had assisted forty new survivors of rape, aged eleven to over fifty-five.  She showed how she wrote in code to protect herself and the survivors.

AFRICA GREAT LAKES: To Bunia and back

Last November the international press depicted North Kivu, DRC, as a war zone.  Media reported homes burning, people chased by gunfire, the rapes of women, and children taken to be soldiers.  Gunfire and screams filled the TV screen.

On 21 January 2009, Rosemarie Milazzo and Cliff Kindy left in the morning darkness on a bus full of baggage and travelers, eager to get to Butembo on the way north through North Kivu to Bunia.  At the first checkpoint, soldiers laughingly said, "All is well.  The war is over."  The scene was one of movement: CNDP rebel soldiers traveling south towards incorporation into government forces, government soldiers traveling north to replace the rebels.  Further north CPTers saw Rwandan troops.  A passenger explained they had crossed the border under an agreement with the DRC government.

AFRICA GREAT LAKES: Taking the initiative from violent actors

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) recently integrated rebels from the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) into the country's military.  President Kabila also invited the Rwandan military to join an operation against militias of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).  Some FDLR combatants are considered responsible for the Rwandan genocide, and they control many of the mines in South and North Kivu Provinces.  Planners hope this operation stops the conflict engulfing eastern DRC for fifteen years.  But nonviolent activists are seeking to reframe the conflict, so that they, rather than violent actors, hold the initiative.