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Supporting Civil Society and Community Structures to Prevent Atrocities Against Civilians in the DRC

Large portions of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are remote and lack immediate access to government services. Time and distance often prevent rapid response to a community’s safety concerns, and scarce resources can result in little assistance to survivors. ABA ROLI's DRL-funded, Atrocity Prevention (AP) project reduces the risk of atrocities against civilians in eastern DRC by supporting the operation and management of the Early Warning and Response System and by strengthening community structures to mediate conflicts and promote reconciliation in four provinces of eastern DRC—North Kivu, South Kivu, Tanganyika and Ituri. The AP project builds on the strength of long-standing relationships with communities in eastern DRC in areas affected by violence and atrocities, strengthening a proven and operational early warning and response system in areas at high risk of atrocities, and further developing extensive networks of community paralegals for grievance and conflict mediation.

In 2023, ABA ROLI trained 78 anonymous community observers to identify and report potential atrocities through the early warning system, resulting in more than 1,200 alerts received through the system. These alerts prevented more than 300 attacks in villages where the system is operational. ABA ROLI has provided training on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to civil society partners and community leaders—including training for two legal interns in our Goma office, Alice Renzaho Neema and Christian Fazili Mulinga. The students participated in their first mission to Bukavu, DRC in June 2023 to support ADR efforts and further enrich their knowledge in the subject. Additionally, through partnerships with civil society, 12 community paralegal networks are now operational in eastern DRC, providing conflict mediation to 244 communities.