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Dr.Zainab Bangura’s week in review

15 October 2016 at 03:12 | 2027 views

My week in review.

By Dr. Zainab Hawa Bangura, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

I had a very good meeting with President Kabila of the DRC. I met him for the first time three years ago and promised him that together we can change the narrative about sexual violence in conflict in the DRC.

He gave me his word and commitment to work with me and to support my work. I signed a Joint Communique with the Prime Minister. Within that three years, I have met him about five or six times including in his meetings with the Secretary General.

He (Kabila) met all his commitments to me including appointing a senior officer of cabinet rank that reports directly to him. Today, I am proud to say DRC which was my worst case is now my most successful story. With his support and help, I have worked with the top leadership and members of both the military and police, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Gender, Information, Interior, various Vice and Deputy Prime Ministers, Senate, Governors, Civil Societies, Religious leaders etc.

I travelled to the country five times. My staff countless times. At least every other month we had a staff here. Spent millions of dollars to provide technical and financial support to various institutions etc. DRC has been my laboratory on what needs to be done to address sexual violence in conflict. We have learnt from new challenges never anticipated. Trained and deployed women magistrates and used a mobile courts system to ensure accountability in communities that have no court systems. It has been an interesting experience for me.

Walking to another meeting in Kinshasha, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

As we evaluate our experience in DRC I took the opportunity to thank the President for taking this leap of faith and agreeing to travel with me during this journey of looking for answers to this global problem.

Breakfast meeting at my hotel with some members of the diplomatic community in Kinshasha.

Of course there are still a lot of remaining challenges, which I discussed with him and he assured me he will do everything possible to address them. Now we know what needs to be done now, how to do that and what to expect.

The President thanked me for being there and for working and supporting his country to address a very difficult part of its history and for changing the narrative of Kinshasa being the capital of rape.