We Demand Peace from Paris to RDC: High School Students Fight for Justice

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We Demand Peace from Paris to RDC: High School Students Fight for Justice

May 24, 2016

Two high school students, fighting to draw attention to horrific conditions in the violence-torn Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, were at the forefront of last night’s event at the Paris Center. Margot Chesné, from Lycée Camille Sée, and Albane Liebe from Lycée Victor Duruy, used the evening to spotlight their campaign, We Demand Peace from Paris to RDC.

The discussion was a continuation of a February lecture at the Paris Center, “Tu le diras à ma mère : Féminicide au Congo,” in which Professor Joseph E. Mwantuali talked about his novel Tell This to My Mother: A Novel Based on the True Story of Coco Ramazani, A War Rape Victim in relation to the extreme violence against women taking place in the DRC. This discussion, which was part of the center’s lecture series “Reframing Gender-Based Violence,” initiated Margot’s and Albane’s contact with the Paris Center and influenced the structure and focus of their presentation.

Margot and Albane offered some historical background of the situation, shocking the audience with statistics that reveal the gravity of everyday life in the Kivu region: 48 women are raped every hour, the use of child soldiers is common, and deforestation runs rampant in the second-largest reserve in the world. As a result of this social climate, millions of people have been displaced and at least 6 million people have been killed.

The two students showed video clips from the film The Man Who Mends Women, a documentary focusing on Dr. Mukwege, who works to heal thousands of women who have been raped during the 20 years that this conflict has taken place. The excerpts offered graphic depictions of the results of this violence, and displayed conversations with the medical workers and the women they treat.

Maître Hamuli Réty, former President of the Lawyers of the International Criminal Tribunal in Arusha, also participated. Réty has spearheaded a letter-writing campaign to major decision-making bodies for the creation of an International Criminal Court against rape as a weapon of war in armed conflict.

The discussion continued after the formal presentation over refreshments, with friends and family of the two presenters as well as culturally curious and active members of the Reid Hall community taking part. Other events related to the We Demand Peace from Paris to RDC  are planned for the fall semester.

--Contributed by Isabelle Eyman