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Republic of the Congo: ICRC activities from October to December 2007

11-01-2008 Operational Update

Visits to persons deprived of their liberty, the restoration of family links, water and habitat, health care, agricultural projects, the promotion of international humanitarian law and support for the Congolese Red Cross were the main focus of the ICRC's work in the Republic of the Congo from October to December 2007

 

Protection 
 

 Protection of people deprived of their liberty  

On the basis of an agreement with the Congolese government signed in 1999, the ICRC visits persons deprived of their liberty in connection with political unrest in places of detention under the authority of the Ministries of Security and Public Order, Justice and Defence. The purpose of these visits is to promote respect for human dignity and to improve conditions of detention where necessary.

The ICRC:

  • conducted three visits to places of detention in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire,

  • delivered two Red Cross messages and collected one.

 Restoring family links  

As part of its efforts to restore family links, the ICRC enables people to write Red Cross messages to family members from whom they have been separated in connection with armed conflict. The ICRC also reunites family members. It does so mainly on behalf of children, who make up the most vulnerable group.

The ICRC:

  • delivered 437 Red Cross messages and delivered 304.

    

 
Prevention 
 

The ICRC promotes knowledge of and compliance with international humanitarian law (IHL) and humanitarian principles in order to limit the suffering caused by armed violence.

 Congolese armed forces  

The ICRC held awareness-raising sessions on IHL and on the ICRC's mandate and activities for the following members of the Congolese armed forces:

  • 73 commissioned and non-commissioned officers from Congolese contingents preparing to take part in international peace-maintenance and peace-monitoring operations in the Central African Republic (under FOMUC) and in Sudan (under AMIS),

  • 56 commissioned and non-commissioned officers preparing to become IHL trainers (two seminars),

  • 25 officers studying at the Marien Ngouabi Military Academy,

  • 186 non-commissioned officers and 32 soldiers from the third military defence region (four sessions),

  • 136 trainee officers from the 336th battalion of the Congolese naval forces (two sessions).

 Police forces  

  • The ICRC held awareness-raising sessions for 400 commissioned and non-commissioned police officers on its activities and on humanitarian principles and human rights law applicable to internal security operations.

    

 Other bearers of weapons  

  • Residents of the Pool Department, including former bearers of weapons, attended 10 theatrical performances on respect for the civilian population and on the ICRC's work.

 Universities and schools  

  • Libraries of universities where IHL is taught (Université Libre du Congo, law faculty of the Marien Ngouabi University, ENAM) received educational materials, including a subscription to the International Review of the Red Cross .

  • Training sessions on IHL, the ICRC and the use of a comic strip on humanitarian principles ( La Bataille des villages ) were held for 28 general and technical secondary-school teachers in the Pool Department. In turn, these teachers taught humanitarian principles to 947 students from 10 secondary schools over a one-month period. Following an assessment of their knowledge, " practice days " were organized to reward the best students.

 
Assistance 
 

ICRC assistance activities in the Republic of the Congo are focused almost exclusively on the Pool Department, the region hardest hit by the country's most recent conflict. One priority is to ensure access to drinking water and basic health care. The ICRC is also helping groups of farmers, including fish farmers, as a means of revitalizing certain sectors of the economy.

    

 Water and habitat  

 Access to drinking water  

 Kinkala water-treatment plant  

  • Repairs were completed on the plant and the facility was handed over to the national water board (SNDE).

The refurbished plant will serve some 10,000 people.

 Kimbédi gravity-fed water-supply system  

Work was completed on:

  • a catchment basin,

  • a pressure-break tank and six tapstands,

  • a water tower and a network of distribution pipes.

The system will serve 2,000 people.

    

 Mindouli gravity-fed water-supply system  

Work was completed on:

  • a catchment basin and a drainage system,

  • tapstands for the neighbourhoods of La Cité and Sans Fils,

  • a water tank and a network of distribution pipes.

The system will serve 4,000 people.

    

 Cooperation between the ICRC and the SNDE  

  • The ICRC trained 10 staff members of the national water board (SNDE) in the maintenance of water-treatment plants and pumping stations.

    

 Health care  

 Hygiene and sanitation awareness-raising programme  

The ICRC held sessions for:

  • 810 people assembled at village tapstands (in Boko, the ICRC helped participants set up a water-management committee),

  • 24 volunteers from Congolese Red Cross branches and water-management committees in five districts, who also received training i n the organization of activities on the theme of water.

 Integrated health centres  

  • The ICRC and the health and sanitation authorities of the Pool Department organized eight days of joint supervision in various integrated health centres (IHCs),

  • Sixteen members of health committees and eight heads of IHCs were taught about communal participation in health-care funding,

  • Waste incinerators were built in the Missafou, Kinkembo and Kimanika IHCs, which serve the health needs of some 12,000 people,

  • Material assistance (medicines and petrol to run refrigerators used for vaccine storage) was provided for eight IHCs serving some 56,000 people – this enabled the IHCs to provide close to 4,000 consultations,

  • Material assistance was provided for the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) in the Pool Department, making it possible to administer 3,800 doses of vaccines to pregnant women and children up to five years of age.

    

 Cassava project  

The ICRC:

  • harvested over 330,000 stems from six varieties of cassava resistant to the mosaic virus disease and distributed them to 100 groups of cassava farmers, encompassing some 1,500 families,

  • distributed 2,400 farming tools and 200 tarpaulins to these groups,

  • imported almost 15,000 stems from four new varieties of mosaic-resistant cassava from the Institut International des Technologies Agricoles in Kinshasa and planted them in preparation for their distribution to 50 groups of farmers in 2008,

  • held five awareness-raising sessions on mosaic virus disease for 115 people and distributed brochures on the topi c.

    

 
Cooperation with the Congolese Red Cross 
 

The ICRC cooperates with the Congolese Red Cross (CRC) to strengthen the operational capacities of the National Society's local branches in Kindamba, Kinkala and Mindouli, in particular by providing financial support for various activities and holding training courses.

  • The ICRC provided financial support for the CRC's sixth General Assembly, at which Mr Christian Sédar Ndinga was elected as the CRC's national president,

  • The building housing the CRC branch office in Kinkala and the Pool Department council was inaugurated after being entirely refurbished by the ICRC,

  • With material and financial support from the ICRC, the national president and the second vice-president of the CRC took part in the 30th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in Geneva.

  • For World AIDS Day, the CRC trained 20 volunteers to organize HIV/AIDS awareness-raising sessions for the general population.