Kinshasa, 22 November 2012
Online respect, respect
As the world is about to celebrate 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, from November 25th to December 10th, 2012, and following the taking of Goma and Sake, two cities in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo by the M23 rebels, Si Jeunesse Savait (SJS), a young feminist and congolese organisation, is concerned by recent developments in the situation, which echoes through the media.
Indeed, women and children were kidnapped, girls were raped, several people were injured in the panic, and entire families were separated by these incidents. SJS is particularly concerned about women and children displaced within their own country, already living in makeshift camps around Goma and now doubly affected.
In addition, having learned that the TV channels and radio emitting from Kinshasa were cut, SJS, which works for women’s communication rights, including access to information and freedom of expression, strongly condemns these practices restricting our right to information.
Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo is too expensive for women and girls who are the first victims of every armed conflict. We appeal to the parties to these conflicts to work to cease the violence, so that women and girls in the Congo live in peace, without fear of experiencing further violence and abuse.
While recalling the right of everyone to access information and express themselves, we also condemn hate speech on the internet, through social media and via mobile phones.
We implore the authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo to find a lasting solution to the conflict in the east of the country and further protecting civilians, and in particular, women and girls.
Photo: Oxfam International .
The Association for Progressive Communications (APC), the Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA, Philippines), OneWorldsee (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Bytes for All (Pakistan), endorse this statement and call for authorities to find a solution to this situation that is based on the respect of human rights.