Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
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DRC’s civil war officially came to an end in 2003 and the first democratic elections since independence were held in July 2006. Despite this, there is continued insecurity in the east of the country through out the provinces of North and South Kivu and Ituri.
Overview of past and present security situation
The civil war was exacerbated by the interference of neighbouring countries, such as Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Chadi and Sudan. Intense international and South African pressure pushed for power-sharing arrangements for a transitional government, which was eventually formed in July 2003.
The 2006 election process was extremely drawn out mostly due to the size of DRC (it is the size of Western Europe) and lack of infrastructure. The Government continues to suffer from weakness and a high level of official corruption. According to International Alert, DRC will continue to face enormous challenges through out its transition from war to peace, especially as progress of army integration and reform has been slow and uncertain, with mutinies and desertion on a major scale in the east.
Society and women
There are huge disparities in estimated figures for both dead and displaced - roughly 3.5 million deaths and displacement hovers around the 3.4 million. In Eastern DRC, levels of sexual violence have reached endemic levels. In October 2004, Amnesty International highlighted a minimum of 40,000 reported cases of rape for the previous six years, the majority occurring in South Kivu. The numbers continue to rise today.
Women have been almost totally excluded from the national level peace process and have made few gains in terms of advancing gender equality or women’s rights. Some women from political parties were involved in the Sun City Inter-Congolese Dialogue in 2002, however, civil society was only allowed to observe the proceedings.