Saturday, January 20th, 2018

Congolese Annotated Bibliography

PSYCHOLOGICAL

Bartels, S., Scott, J., Leaning, J., Mukwege, D., Lipton, R. & VanRooyen, M. (2010). Surviving sexual violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 11(4), 37-49. Retrieved from http://www.bridgew.edu/soas/jiws/May10/SurvivingSexualViolence.pdf

Since 1996 a deadly conflict has been ongoing in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Within this conflict, sexual violence has been inflicted upon women as a strategic weapon of war. Given the challenges of working in this setting, this sexual violence epidemic has not been well studied. The current work is a retrospective chart review of women presenting to Panzi Hospital in 2006 requesting post-sexual violence care.

The goals were to describe the demographics of sexual violence survivors and to define the physical and psychosocial consequences of sexual violence in Eastern DRC. A total of 1021 patient medical records were reviewed. The mean age was 36 years with an age range of 3.5 years to 80 years. Approximately 90% of sexual violence survivors were either illiterate or had attended only primary school. There were significant delays between the incidents of sexual violence and presentation to Panzi hospital (mean = 16 months, median = 11 months). Physical consequences reported following sexual violence included pelvic pain (22% of women), lumbar pain (11%), abdominal pain (7%) and pregnancy (6%). Thirty six percent of women reported being concerned about their health and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) plus HIV/AIDS were the most commonly singled out health concerns. Six percent of women reported that their husbands had abandoned them after the rape and abandonment was more common after gang rape or if the sexual violence resulted in pregnancy.

Treatment programs for survivors of sexual violence must specifically address the economic hardships faced by victims must meet their time-sensitive medical needs and must provide them with psychological care.

 

Kelly, J.T., Betancourt, T.S., Mukwege, D., Lipton, R., & VanRooyen, M.J. (2011). Experiences of female survivors of sexual violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo: A mixed-methods study. Conflict and Health,5(25). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22047181

Using a mixed-methods approach, the authors surveyed a non-random sample of 255 women attending a referral hospital and two local non-governmental organizations to characterize their experiences of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). The authors then conducted focus groups of 48 women survivors of SGBV to elaborate on survey findings. Quantitative and qualitative data underwent thematic and statistical analysis respectively.

Of the women surveyed, 193 (75.7%) experienced rape. Twenty-nine percent of raped women were rejected by their families and 6% by their communities. Thirteen percent of women had a child from rape. Widowhood, husband abandonment, gang rape, and having a child from rape were significant risk factors for social rejection. Mixed methods findings show rape survivors were seen as “contaminated” with HIV, contributing to their isolation and over 95% could not access prophylactic care in time. Receiving support from their husbands after rape was protective against survivors’ feelings of shame and social isolation.

Rape results not only in physical and psychological trauma, but can destroy family and community structures. Women face significant obstacles in seeking services after rape. Interventions offering long-term solutions for hyper-vulnerable women are vital, but lacking; reintegration programs on SGBV for women, men, and communities are also needed.

 

Kinyanda, E., Musisi, S., Biryabarema, C., Ezati, I., Oboke, H., Ojiambo-Ochieng, R., Were-Oguttu, J., Levin, J., Grosskurth, H., & Walugembe, J. (2010). War related sexual violence and its medical and psychological consequences as seen in Kitgum, Northern Uganda: A cross-sectional study. International Health and Human Rights, 10(28). Retrieved from http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1472-698X-10-28.pdf

The authors argue that in addition to calling for a stop to the mass sexual abuse occurring in the Great Lakes region, there is a need to systematically study the reproductive, surgical and psychological effects of war related sexual violence in the African sociocultural setting.

This paper examines the specific long term health consequences of war related sexual violence among rural women living in two internally displace camps in Kitgum district in war affected Northern Uganda who accessed the services of an Isis-Women’s International Cross Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE) medical intervention  The study employed a purposive cross-sectional study design where 813 respondents were subjected to a structured interview as part of a screening procedure for an emergency medical intervention to identify respondents who required psychological, gynecological and surgical treatment.

The factors that were significantly associated with war related sexual violence were the age group of less than or equal to 44 years, being Catholic, having suffered other war related physical trauma, and having ‘at least one gynecological complaint’. The specific gynecological complaints significantly associated with war related sexual violence were infertility, chronic lower abdominal pain, abnormal vaginal bleeding, and sexual dysfunction. In a multivariate analysis the age group of less than or equal to 44 years, being Catholic and having ‘at least one gynecological complaint’ remained significantly associated with war related sexual violence. The results from this study demonstrate that war related sexual violence is independently associated with the later development of specific gynecological complaints.

 

Rousseau, C., Rufagari, M., Bagilishya, D., & Measham, T. (2004). Remaking family life: Strategies for re-establishing continuity among Congolese refugees during the family reunification process. Social Science and Medicine, 59(5), 1095-1108.

The restrictive immigration and refugee policies of many Western countries force most refugee families to remain separated for long periods. Although there is much discussion among professionals in the community and the clinical milieu about the problems families encounter after reunification, the strategies employed by refugees to restore family life have not been paid much attention.

This longitudinal study documents the pre- and post-reunification experiences of 12 refugee families from the Democratic Republic of Congo in Montreal. Our results suggest that family separation can be understood as an ambiguous loss, in that the temporary absence of other family members cannot be fully acknowledged because of the perpetual uncertainty and permanent risk to them. Memory work, in the form of shared family memories, attenuates the pain of the absence. Once reunited, family members must re-establish continuity in spite of the many denied rifts between them. The capacity to recall a personal, familial or collective history of previous separation and loss appears to be protective, as if the memory of life’s discontinuities provides an opportunity to recreate a partial sense of continuity out of repeating experiences of chaos.

 

MEDICAL

Bartels, S. A., Scotts, J. A., Mukwege, D., Lipton, R. I., VanRooyen, M. J., & Leaning, J. (2010). Patterns of sexual violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo: Reports from survivors presenting in Panzi Hospital in 2006. Conflict and Health, 4(9). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2883538/

Despite the signing of international peace agreements, a deadly war continues in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and sexual violence is a prominent modus operandi of many military groups operating in the region. The authors conducted a retrospective cohort study of women who presented to Panzi Hospital in 2006 requesting post-sexual violence care. Data was extracted and analyzed to describe the patterns of sexual violence. A total of 1,021 medical records were reviewed. Among sexual violence survivors presenting to Panzi Hospital in 2006, the majority of attacks occurred in women’s own homes, often at night. This represents a pattern of violence that differs from other conflict settings and has important implications regarding protection strategies. Sexual violence in South Kivu was also marked with a predominance of gang rape, thus increasing the risk of serious injury as well as the likelihood of an individual woman contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Sexual slavery was noted to be more common among young, single women and was found to have a high rate of resultant pregnancy.

 

Duroch, F., McRae, M., & Grais, R.F. (2011). Description and consequences of sexual violence in Ituri province, Democratic Republic of Congo. BMC International Health and Human Rights, 11(5). Retrieved from http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-698X/11/5

The war in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has been the subject of numerous studies related to the problem of sexual violence. Historically, such violence is known to be part of strategic war plans to conquer and destroy communities, but it is now unfortunately prevalent in times of relative calm.

We describe the characteristics and consequences of sexual violence in Ituri province of Democratic Republic of Congo through the retrospective analysis of 2,565 patients who received medical care in the Médecins Sans Frontières sexual violence clinic in the capital of Ituri province, Bunia, between September 2005 and December 2006. Using a standardized questionnaire, we report patients’ demographics, number and status of aggressor(s), forced detention and violent threats among other variables for all patients presenting for medical consultation after a sexually violent event during this period.

The characteristics of sexually violent acts in Ituri province during this period cannot be simply explained as a ‘weapon of war’ as described in the literature, meaning the use of sexual violence within a military strategy where it is employed under the orders of a commander to harm a particular community. Whilst the majority of aggressions were by armed men there was an important proportion in which civilian perpetrators were implicated. This type of violence has become part of the general characteristics of violence in this war-torn population. Sometimes, as a means for some military factions to acquire remuneration with impunity and for some civilians, a means to counteract confronting, changing social norms occurring during chronic conflict.

 

Guy, K. M. (2009). Child soldiers as zones of violence in The Democratic Republic of Congo: Three cases of medico-legal evidence of torture. Torture, 19(2), 137-144. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19920331

This article sets medico legal light on torture of three former child soldiers by comparing torture methods, consequences of torture and medical observations. It is focused on these child soldiers as representatives of the many abuses of children as soldiers in armed groups. The three persons were child soldiers during 12 years in The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as members of three different armed groups. They were exposed to armed conflict events, experienced torture, and participated in atrocities, sexual abuse and traditional rituals during their role in armed conflict. They were psychologically distressed with unhealthy physical and mental states. The principles for working with child soldiers are described. The model addresses basic items: The confluence of the dimensions of the items will determine the specifics of medico legal evidence of torture in child soldiers, taking into consideration inputs that are required at the macro, community and individual levels. A primary goal is to prevent violence from occurring in child soldiers. Thus, much more deliberate effort is made to address the underlying causes of recruitment of children in armed groups in DRC and to invest more resources in conflict resolution before there is an outbreak of violence. Peace education tends to be introduced too late and does little to alleviate the use of children in armed conflict in DRC.

 

Hanlon, H. (2008). Implications for healthcare practice and improved policies for victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 10(2), 64-72. Retrieved from http://www.bridgew.edu/soas/jiws/nov08/RapeCongo.pdf

As violent conflict ravages the Democratic Republic of Congo, thousands of women and girls are victims of sexual violence. Unfortunately, there are few services available to this population. While the exact number of victims is uncertain, the available data indicate the large scale of women and girls affected by sexual violence, and the urgent need for aid, services, and better policies to improve care. This humanitarian crisis is slowly gaining Western attention, but the current demand for humanitarian action and improved policies is greatest in the following three categories which will be addressed in the body of the work below: (1) an increase in humanitarian aid, (2) medical assistance, and (3) social support.

 

Kelly, J.T., Betancourt, T.S., Mukwege, D., Lipton, R., & VanRooyen, M.J. (2011). Experiences of female survivors of sexual violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo: A mixed-methods study. Conflict and Health, 5(25). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22047181

Using a mixed-methods approach, the authors surveyed a non-random sample of 255 women attending a referral hospital and two local non-governmental organizations to characterize their experiences of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). The authors then conducted focus groups of 48 women survivors of SGBV to elaborate on survey findings. Quantitative and qualitative data underwent thematic and statistical analysis respectively.

Of the women surveyed, 193 (75.7%) experienced rape. Twenty-nine percent of raped women were rejected by their families and 6% by their communities. Thirteen percent of women had a child from rape. Widowhood, husband abandonment, gang rape, and having a child from rape were significant risk factors for social rejection. Mixed methods findings show rape survivors were seen as “contaminated” with HIV, contributing to their isolation and over 95% could not access prophylactic care in time. Receiving support from their husbands after rape was protective against survivors’ feelings of shame and social isolation.

Rape results not only in physical and psychological trauma, but can destroy family and community structures. Women face significant obstacles in seeking services after rape. Interventions offering long-term solutions for hyper-vulnerable women are vital, but lacking; reintegration programs on SGBV for women, men, and communities are also needed.

 

LEGAL

Amnesty International. (2011). Democratic Republic of Congo: The time for justice is now: New   strategy needed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Amnesty International. Retrieved from http://www.amnesty.org/fr/library/info/AFR62/007/2011/en

The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been beset by violence and human rights abuses for two decades. Crimes under international law – including mass rapes and killings – have been committed in almost every corner of the country and are still being committed with alarming frequency. Amnesty International believes that the DRC government should prioritize the development of a comprehensive, long-term justice strategy aimed at reforming the criminal justice system.

 

Amnesty International. (2012). Democratic Republic of Congo: “If you resist, we’ll shot you”: The Democratic Republic of the Congo and the case for an effective arms trade treaty. Amnesty International. Retrieved from http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR62/007/2012/en

In July 2012 UN Member States are to agree the final text of a comprehensive Arms Trade Treaty. The experience of arms proliferation and abuse in the Democratic Republic of the Congo should help to persuade States to establish strict rules consistent with States’ existing responsibilities under international law. This report focuses on several cases that illustrate the scale of crimes under international law committed by Congolese security forces and armed groups using a range of weaponry, munitions and other equipment.

 

Guy, K. M. (2009). Child soldiers as zones of violence in The Democratic Republic of Congo: Three cases of medico-legal evidence of torture. Torture, 19(2), 137-144. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19920331

This article sets medico legal light on torture of three former child soldiers by comparing torture methods, consequences of torture and medical observations. It is focused on these child soldiers as representatives of the many abuses of children as soldiers in armed groups. The three persons were child soldiers during 12 years in The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as members of three different armed groups. They were exposed to armed conflict events, experienced torture, and participated in atrocities, sexual abuse and traditional rituals during their role in armed conflict. They were psychologically distressed with unhealthy physical and mental states. The principles for working with child soldiers are described. The model addresses basic items: The confluence of the dimensions of the items will determine the specifics of medico legal evidence of torture in child soldiers, taking into consideration inputs that are required at the macro, community and individual levels. A primary goal is to prevent violence from occurring in child soldiers. Thus, much more deliberate effort is made to address the underlying causes of recruitment of children in armed groups in DRC and to invest more resources in conflict resolution before there is an outbreak of violence. Peace education tends to be introduced too late and does little to alleviate the use of children in armed conflict in DRC.

 

Human Rights Watch. (2010). Always on the run: The vicious cycle of displacement in eastern Congo. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved from http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/drc0910webwcover.pdf

In the 2010 report, Always on the Run: The Vicious Cycle of Displacement in Eastern Congo, Human Rights Watch performed in-depth interviews of 146 IDPs and conducted interview with 57 staff from UN agencies, national and international NGOs, donors, and local administrative authorities in Eastern Congo from April 2009 to April 2010.

After more than 15 years of war, almost two million people in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo remain displaced after fleeing or being forced from their homes and land by a myriad of armed groups. These groups subject civilians to a range of abuses, including burning and pillaging their property, rape, beatings, robbery, and forced labor.

Fearing for their lives, internally displaced people (IDPs) often first move to forests close to their fields where they try to survive for as long as possible. Ongoing violence and destitution often force them to move on. Most seek out “host families” in towns and villages, which are themselves often stretched to capacity. Even here, IDPs face economic hardship, hunger, and disease and have little or no access to health care and education. Many risk life and limb by returning to dangerous home areas to find food for their families.

Despite official statements asserting that security has improved in the region, many IDPs remain unconvinced. Most still face numerous obstacles to returning home permanently, such as a lack of security, property destruction, and land disputes.

This report focuses on the volatile provinces of North and South Kivu in eastern Congo, and documents abuses that civilians face during all phases of displacement: as they flee, in places of temporary residence, and even after returning home. It is based on interviews with 146 persons displaced from their homes, as well as government officials and humanitarian workers.

Human Rights Watch calls on Congo’s government and the United Nations peacekeeping mission to increase protection of IDPs in the region, to ensure that humanitarian programs are prioritized, and to encourage IDPs to return home only when it is safe to do so.

 

Human Rights Watch. (2010). Trail of death: LRA atrocities in Northeastern Congo. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved from http://www.hrw.org/reports/2010/03/28/trail-death

This 67-page report is the first detailed documentation of the Makombo massacre and other atrocities by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Congo in 2009 and early 2010. The report, based on a Human Rights Watch fact-finding mission to the massacre area in February, documents the brutal killings during the well-planned LRA attack from December 14 to 17 in the remote Makombo area of Haute Uele district.

 

SOCIAL

Duroch, F., McRae, M., & Grais, R.F. (2011). Description and consequences of sexual violence in Ituri province, Democratic Republic of Congo. BMC International Health and Human Rights, 11(5). Retrieved from http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-698X/11/5

The war in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has been the subject of numerous studies related to the problem of sexual violence. Historically, such violence is known to be part of strategic war plans to conquer and destroy communities, but it is now unfortunately prevalent in times of relative calm.

We describe the characteristics and consequences of sexual violence in Ituri province of Democratic Republic of Congo through the retrospective analysis of 2,565 patients who received medical care in the Médecins Sans Frontières sexual violence clinic in the capital of Ituri province, Bunia, between September 2005 and December 2006. Using a standardized questionnaire, we report patients’ demographics, number and status of aggressor(s), forced detention and violent threats among other variables for all patients presenting for medical consultation after a sexually violent event during this period.

The characteristics of sexually violent acts in Ituri province during this period cannot be simply explained as a ‘weapon of war’ as described in the literature, meaning the use of sexual violence within a military strategy where it is employed under the orders of a commander to harm a particular community. Whilst the majority of aggressions were by armed men there was an important proportion in which civilian perpetrators were implicated. This type of violence has become part of the general characteristics of violence in this war-torn population. Sometimes, as a means for some military factions to acquire remuneration with impunity and for some civilians, a means to counteract confronting, changing social norms occurring during chronic conflict.

 

Guy, K. M. (2009). The political and cultural background for using child soldiers. Torture, 19(2), 132-136.

The author analyzes the political and cultural background of using children as soldiers.  In addition, he explains how children are physically affected by their use in war. The author also examines the sociocultural factors that contribute to former child soldiers’ ability to cope with stress and violence.

 

EDUCATION

Clark-Kazak, C. (2010). The politics of formal schooling in refugee contexts: Education, class, and decision making among Congolese in Uganda. Refugee, 27(2), 57-64. Retrieved from http://pi.library.yorku.ca/ojs/index.php/refuge/article/viewFile/34722/31552

Based on ethnographic research with over four hundred Congolese refugees in Kampala and Kyaka II refugee settlement, Uganda, this article interrogates the politics of education—both historically in the Democratic Republic of Congo and currently in migration contexts in Uganda. Formal education was an aspiration for all young people in the study, irrespective of current educational level. Moreover, it is a priority for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and many other organizations working with refugees. Drawing on the experiences and views of Congolese young people, this article analyzes the sociopolitical importance they accord to formal schooling. It then analyzes the degree to which these political aspects of education are manifested in daily decision-making processes in families, households, communities, and high-level politics. The author concludes with some reflections on how researchers and practitioners working in migration contexts can recognize and take into account the politicized nature of education.

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