The ICRC in central and southern Africa – 2005 activities and prospects
As a result of the tragedy that hit Rwanda 11 years ago and the consequence this genocide had not only in Rwanda, but in the entire sub-region, the ICRC is particularly active and committed to its humanitarian work through its delegations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
The ICRC is active in the area of the Great Lakes, southern Africa and the islands of the Indian Ocean.
In the region's countries currently suffering hostilities or the sequel of past conflicts or recently ended violence, the ICRC plays a key role in providing protection and assistance to the local population. In terms of detention for example, the ICRC makes constant efforts to gain and maintain access to people deprived of their freedom. Strengthening dialogue with the authorities responsible for detention is a vital means to this end.
Concerning the civilian population caught up in conflict, the objective of the humanitarian work is two-fold:
to enable people to live in an environment in which the various arms carriers respect them as individuals not taking part in the hostilities.
to give the people the chance of living in a decent and dignified manner, with the possibility of reaching a certain degree of self-sufficiency.
In this regard, the ICRC is pushing for the development of special programmes targeting victims of sexual violence. These plans aim at integrating this aspect into ICRC activities in the fields of prevention, protection and health.
The ICRC will continue to develop its work to re-establish family links in the region. In the Great Lakes, for example, the ICRC has helped reunite thousands of families since 1994, just as it has done in Angola since 2002 . This concerns children separated from their families, many of whom have had to leave their homes, sometimes fleeing their countries to become refugees.
In central and southern Africa, as guardian of international humanitarian law (IHL), the ICRC pays particular attention to its mandate to raise awareness of the law among the members of the armed forces (including those undergoing training), other arm carriers as well as among the members of regional peace-keeping forces.