Since 90s the African Great Lakes Region is experiencing grave violations of Human Rights (HR) and recurrent disrespect of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL). These violations peaked to the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda, innumerable cases of rape and other hateful crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi, and massive child conscription in Lord Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda. While it is worth praising the efforts done by the international community in preventing and punishing these crimes, it is obvious that the principal responsibility in this matter lies on the shoulders of the States where these crimes are committed. In terms of repression, this responsibility involves the enactment of adequate laws, but above all the availability of competent and well-trained judicial personnel. Yet most of universities in the Great Lakes Region do not provide relevant curriculum to address this issue. Only a handful of universities offer some hours for IHL and/or HR law courses. Often students and their lecturers do not have enough time to carry out extensive research or to discuss cases involving violations of humanitarian law and human rights in the region.
The ultimate goal of this project is to bridge this gap. It is within this framework that Initiatives for Peace and Human Rights (iPeace) has been organizing since 2013, on an annual basis, a regional training programme in international humanitarian law and human rights.
The ongoing crisis in Burundi, characterized by massive violations of human rights coupled with the buzzing pre-electoral turmoil in the DR Congo only underscore the relevance and the timeliness of this programme.
This regional programme essentially aims at empowering the academia and university youth with relevant knowledge and skills in international humanitarian law and human rights in order to strengthen peaceful coexistence and stability in Africa’s conflict-torn Great Lakes region by offering to the intellectual class an opportunity to work together.
Implementation Timeframe: 2013 - 2022 (Ongoing)
With four (4) overwhelmingly successful and successive editions, this training has gained regional recognition as evidenced by increasingly high number of universities applying to attend the programme.
This project is financially supported by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the City of Geneva, Paul Reuters Funds, Pro Victimis, and Commune Plan-les-Ouates and Comite pour le Concours Grands Lacs.
Since 2013, 171 students and lecturers from more than 20 public and private universities based in Burundi, DR Congo and Rwanda have benefited from the Great Lakes regional training Programme in International Humanitarian Law and human Rights. Together they form the Great Lakes Human Rights Network (GLNet).
The individual profile of Grandlakistes can be found here.