Reports of grave violations of children in armed conflict from the Democratic Republic of Congo

 

Watchlist partner organization, Ajedi-Ka, based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, submitted a report indicating the presence of a large number of children associated with armed groups in the Mboko and Kabumba territories of South Kivu, Particularly among the “Mupenkenya” Mai Mai militia group, named after its commander Mupekenya. According to Ajedi-ka’s assessment, at least 25% of the identified children were girls, some of whom were taken as “wives” by the soldiers. A local organization, Jeunes Unis pour le Dévelopement des Moyens Plateaux “JUDMP” (translated, Youth United for the Development of Resources), based in Kabondiozo is currently preparing the reintergration of 16 former child soldiers and has also approached Mupekenya to advocacte for the release of the more children currently associated with his armed group.

 Ajedi-Ka was founded in 1988 and is comprised of three key project areas: poverty alleviation, the environment, and child soldiers.  Following the 1998 war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the organization decided to focus its attention on child soldiers, thus creating AJEDI-Ka/PES (Child Soldier Project/Projet Enfants Soldats) that same year. AJEDI-Ka/PES seeks to promote and protect the rights of the child with a particular focus on children affected by armed conflict and child soldiers. Since April 2005, Ajedi-Ka and the Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict began work on a pilot project using cellular phones and internet technology to facilitate existing Village Committees for Child Protection (VCCP) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to monitor and report on child rights violations. Since then, Ajedi-Ka shares detailed information about cases both with the UN-led 1612 team in DRC, and with Watchlist in New York, often within days of the incident.