This article originally appeared on ThomsonReuter’s Alert Net.
There are no court houses in Kalonge health district, a region home to more than 130,000 people, high in the hills above Lake Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Those seeking justice in Kalonge face a journey of at least 30 miles along poorly maintained roads that turn to muddy rivers during the rainy season. This is one of the reasons why so few women and men affected by sexual or gender-based violence (SGBV) in Kalonge have ever seen the perpetrators of violence punished by the Congolese legal system. Other barriers to securing justice that survivors of SGBV face include a lack of knowledge within the community that legal options are available for survivors; cultural norms that discourage speaking publically about sexual violence or causing trouble in the community; and a lack of sensitivity among legal officials—including police, lawyers and judges—to the unique support SGBV survivors need.
Nonetheless, SGBV survivors’ access to justice in Kalonge and other regions of eastern DRC are rapidly increasing thanks to a unique collaboration between International Medical Corps, the American Bar Association (ABA), the U.S. Agency for International Development and Clifford Chance. The project aims to raise awareness about DRC’s 2006 sexual violence law and legal consequences related to women’s rights and SGBV within the community; train legal officials in sensitive handling of SGBV cases; and, where appropriate, help survivors explore their options and support those who wish to pursue justice for crimes committed against them. International Medical Corps and ABA have also organised mobile courts so that justice can be delivered within the communities without the need for survivors to make the long journey to the nearest permanent courts.
Dr. Picasso Mozusa Mukome, Chief of Kalonge Health Zone at an International Medical Corps- constructed hospital, is all too familiar with the suffering that high rates of SGBV cause in this region. He notes, “Because of this legal project, young men are afraid of justice if they attack women.”
Access to justice in Kalonge will take another step forward this month as construction is completed on a permanent Community Resource Centre (CRC) in the village of Cifunzi. The CRC, made possible by funding from Clifford Chance, will provide a central base for members of the community looking for information or legal services relating to SGBV. The site was chosen after extensive consultation within the local community to identify where it would be most accessible and the CRC has been endorsed by the local Muami, or village chief. Providing a space for trainings as well as a home for SGBV and legal advisors, the CRC is expected to become a hub for the whole community, particularly those in need of legal advice. A second CRC is also close to completion in the neighboring Bunyakiri health zone.
Richard Hoffman, International Medical Corps Chief of Party in Eastern DRC, explains the significance of the project:
“The number of lawyers in this region is very small; understanding of the 2006 law [on sexual and gender violence] is patchy at best and those lawyers and judges that we do have are not trained to be sensitive to needs of SGBV survivors. For there to be a permanent presence of skilled and appropriately trained professionals based in these remote communities is a huge development.”
Since the project began in 2011, eleven cases have been presented to mobile courts in Kalonge, with seven perpetrators convicted. A further 25 cases have been presented in Bunyakiri. Given the complexity of these cases and the barriers that exist to securing justice, this represents a significant achievement for communities in South Kivu.
Last updated January 30, 2013.
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Last updated: November 29, 2022
Welcome to the namati.org website (the “Site”) and the Legal Empowerment Network Forum (the “Forum”) operated by Namati, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Namati”, “we”, “us” or “our”). We share your concern about the protection of your personal information online.
This Policy describes our privacy practices and sets out your obligations and ours with respect to your use of the Site and the Forum. This Policy applies only to the Site and the Forum and does not necessarily apply to our offline collection of information.
Namati may collect and retain two types of information about Site and Forum visitors: (i) personal information that individual visitors voluntarily provide when interacting on the Site or Forum or on certain other occasions (such as via forms or in emails); and (ii) tracking data, which is data that is automatically collected from every Site and Forum visitor as they use and browse the site.
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Your Information is stored on Digital Ocean servers in New York, USA, and WPengine servers located in Texas, USA. When you provide personal information to us, we request your consent to transfer that personal information to the USA. The USA does not have an adequacy decision from the European Commission, which means that the Commission has not determined that the laws of the USA provide adequate protection for personal information. Although the laws of the USA do not provide legal protection that is equivalent to the EU GDPR, we safeguard your personal information by treating it in accordance with this Policy. We take appropriate steps to protect your privacy and implement reasonable security measures to protect your personal information in storage. We use secure transmission methods to collect personal data through our website. We also enter into contracts with our data processors that require them to treat personal information in a manner that is consistent with this Policy.
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Namati is concerned about the privacy protection of children who access the Internet and this website is not intended for children and we do not knowingly collect data relating to children. Accordingly, the Site and Forum are not intended for use by anyone under the age of 16, and we do not knowingly collect information from anyone under 16 years of age without the consent of a parent or guardian.
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The section titles in this Policy are for convenience only and have no legal or contractual effect. The Site, the Learning Site, the Forum, and any third-party services they use, may be subject to additional terms and conditions regarding privacy and use of information. Your use of the Site and the Forum is subject to those terms and conditions, which are incorporated into this Policy by reference. In the event of an inconsistency between this Policy and any additional posted conditions, the provisions of the additional conditions shall control.
We may need to change the Policy from time to time in order to address new issues and to reflect changes on the Site or in the law. We reserve the right to revise or make any changes to the Policy, and your continued use of the Site subsequent to any changes to this Policy will mean that you agree to and accept such changes. You can tell if the Policy has been updated by checking the last revised date posted on the top of this page. Historic versions can be obtained by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Namati Data Protection Officer
1616 P Street NW, Suite 101
Washington, DC 20036, USA
It is important that the personal data we hold about you is accurate and current. Please keep us informed if your personal data changes during your relationship with us.
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Request access to your personal data (commonly known as a “data subject access request”). This enables you to receive a copy of the personal data we hold about you and to check that we are lawfully processing it.
Request correction of the personal data that we hold about you. This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate data we hold about you corrected, though we may need to verify the accuracy of the new data you provide to us.
Request erasure of your personal data. This enables you to ask us to delete or remove personal data where there is no good reason for us continuing to process it. You also have the right to ask us to delete or remove your personal data where you have successfully exercised your right to object to processing (see below), where we may have processed your information unlawfully or where we are required to erase your personal data to comply with local law. Note, however, that we may not always be able to comply with your request of erasure for specific legal reasons which will be notified to you, if applicable, at the time of your request.
Object to processing of your personal data where we are relying on a legitimate interest (or those of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on this ground as you feel it has an impact on your fundamental rights and freedoms. You also have the right to object where we are processing your personal data for direct marketing purposes. In some cases, we may demonstrate that we have compelling legitimate grounds to process your information which override your rights and freedoms.
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Withdraw consent at any time where we are relying on consent to process your personal data. However, this will not affect the lawfulness of any processing carried out before you withdraw your consent. If you withdraw your consent, we may not be able to provide certain products or services to you. We will advise you if this is the case at the time you withdraw your consent.
You will not have to pay a fee to access your personal data (or to exercise any of the other rights). However, we may charge a reasonable fee if your request is clearly unfounded, repetitive or excessive. Alternatively, we could refuse to comply with your request in these circumstances.
We may need to request specific information from you to help us confirm your identity and ensure your right to access your personal data (or to exercise any of your other rights). This is a security measure to ensure that personal data is not disclosed to any person who has no right to receive it. We may also contact you to ask you for further information in relation to your request to speed up our response.
We try to respond to all legitimate requests within one month. Occasionally it could take us longer than a month if your request is particularly complex or you have made a number of requests. In this case, we will notify you and keep you updated.
If you live in an EEA Member State, all of which have adopted the EU GDPR and national , you have a right to lodge a complaint with your relevant supervisory authority about this policy and its application. The European Commission has a list of EU national data protection authorities here:
If you live in the United Kingdom, you have a right to lodge a complaint with your relevant supervisory authority, the ICO, about this policy and its application:
The Policy was updated in July 2022 to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations.