Héritiers de la Justice was founded in 1991 following the repressive Mobutu Sese Seku regime in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The organization is dedicated to advancing peace, seeking justice for survivors and training generations of human rights defenders.
Héritiers de la Justice is located in Bukavu, Eastern Congo and is particularly focused on ending sexual violence and government impunity. The organization successfully advocated for the creation of “Police de Famille” in Bukavu. This special branch was trained by Héritiers de la Justice in gender-based justice to ensure officers could fully support survivors of sexual violence. Héritiers de la Justice also emphasizes legal recourse for rape survivors, providing free legal services and support for survivors.
Héritiers de la Justice uses peace huts to initiate conversations around sexual violence and create safe spaces for marginalized women to share their experiences. These conversations are crucial for changing community stigma and taboos against rape and providing support for survivors.
Héritiers de la Justice is focused on grassroots, community change. The organization works with 9 women’s shelters in the area and has developed special human rights curriculum for 40 schools. With a clear focus on long-term and multi-generational peace in the region, the organization has founded “Peace Clubs” in over 1000 primary and secondary schools. In these clubs, both teachers and students discuss how achieving peace is possible and what each individual can do to commit to peacework.
The organization’s strong dedication to advancing peace – especially for women and children – does come at a price. Many employees have received death threats or have been imprisoned due to their work. Héritiers de la Justice continues to commemorate the life and death of former director Pascal Kabungulu. Pascal was murdered in his home in 2005 for speaking out against military violence and documenting illicit mining activities – including the exploitation of women in mines.
Despite intense persecution and threats to their work, Héritiers de la Justice remain committed to achieving peace in the region.
Check out the Héritiers de la Justice website