DR Congo war in focus at seminar in Swedish Parliament
Life & Peace Institute was one of the contributors to a well attended seminar on the war in DR Congo and related sexual violence. The seminar with some 250 participants was arranged by PMU, Läkarmissionen, Kristdemokraterna och Socialdemokraterna in the Swedish Parliament on December 5. The keynote speaker was Dr Denis Mukwege, who received the Right Livelihood Award the same week. In addition, several speakers including the minister for Development Hillevi Engström, parliamentarians Désirée Pethrus and Carina Hägg, former UN special Representative Margot Wallström, and representatives from Swedish civil society gave presentations and discussed the on-going conflict in DRC. A common message from the speakers was that support to the Congolese people is essential and that “enough is enough”. The international community and the Congolese government must put an end to the war, with roots back as far as 50 years or more.
Jenny Svanberg, Programme Director at LPI, spoke about the importance of supporting the Congolese civil society in practical conflict transformation processes. “It is important to not just treat the symptoms but also work for a cure by addressing the root causes”, said Jenny Svanberg and underlined that this will take time. And we need patience. She encouraged all forces, international and Congolese to join hands and coordinate their work for a just and lasting peace. LPI’s ongoing participatory action research projects with local Congolese partners in Eastern DRC is one fruitful way of engaging all parties and sides locally in the conflict analysis and work for solutions.
The representatives from civil society challenged the Swedish government to act more decisively and contribute to a solution of the DRC conflict. Two of the speakers, Lena Ag from Kvinna till Kvinna and Bo Forsberg, Diakonia, took upon themselves to invite to another meeting where the Swedish ministers for foreign affairs, trade, development and defence would be invited as the beginning of joint action between the Swedish state, civil society and business to support peace in DRC and a stop for the ongoing atrocities and sexual violence.
Photos: Noomi Lind, PMU
For more information about this event in Swedish visit: The PMU website