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DRC at the 30th Human Rights Council

5 October 2015

Despite certain recent progress made by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government to enhance human rights protection and mechanisms, the situation in the DRC remains dire. During the 30th session of the Human Rights Council, WILPF has thus been actively advocating for the human rights situation in the DRC to remain on the international community’s agenda.

19th Session of the Human Rights Council


Raising awareness on the current human rights situation in the DRC

In collaboration with Franciscans International, FIDH and World Council of Churches, WILPF organised and hosted an event at the 30th session of the Human Rights Council concerning the current human rights situation in the DRC. Even though the government of DRC wanted to avoid scrutiny of the UN system, we believe that only continued international pressure can lead to sustainable peace and improvement of the human rights situation. Several critical issues have been raised during the event such as repression on freedom of expression and of assembly ahead of the 2016 elections, persisting sexual violence and uncontrolled flows of weapons, threats and reprisals faced by human rights defenders and the impact of the mining industry in fueling the conflict. Read our latest blog to learn more about these discussions.

Pushing for a resolution that tackles root causes of the conflict

In coordination with WILPF DRC and in particular with its President, Ms. Annie Matundu Mbambi, WILPF made a statement calling on the Human Rights Council resolution to take into account that there are multiple and complex factors contributing to the perpetuation of sexual violence and of conflict in the DRC.

Apart from the context of conflict, the socio-economic exclusion of women and generalised discrimination against women, gender stereotypes and the uncontrolled flow of small arms are all factors contributing to the scourge of sexual violence in the country. Further, central factors to the conflict such as the illegal exploitation and trade of natural resources by multinational companies and the uncontrolled flows of small arms are often ignored by multilateral bodies such as the UN for geo-strategical interests. WILPF of course called for a change and detailed why these factors are central.

In addition, WILPF called the government of the DRC to live up to its commitment to implement Security Council Resolution 1325 and to effectively include women and a gender perspective in its laws and policies. WILPF also called on the government of the DRC to deliver in due time its report on the implementation of CEDAW.

In its response, the Government of the DRC insisted that major improvements have recently been made in the human rights situation in the country and that the conflict is coming to an end.

The final resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council on the DRC mainly encourages the DRC in continuing its efforts but falls short of expectations: reference to sexual violence only acknowledges an obligation for the State to provide indemnification regardless of the need for other types of support (psychological, medical, etc.) and overlooks the root causes of this phenomenon.

The nomination of the Personal Representative of the Head of State on Sexual Violence is a welcome step and national prosecutions against perpetrators have increased. However, justice and fight against impunity is still far from being a reality for victims of sexual violence as further evidenced in a new report by Human Rights Watch which calls on the DRC to urgently reform the country’s justice system to better prosecute atrocities. In addition, despite strong calls from civil society to acknowledge the role of illicit extraction and trade of natural resources in fueling the conflict, no reference is made to this root cause of war in the Human Rights Council resolution.

WILPF will continue alongside its WILPF section in DRC to monitor the situation and to actively advocate at national and international level on these key issues.



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Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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