Human rights defender
Placide works to defend and promote human rights in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. His work consists of supporting other Human Rights Defenders who are threatened or even assaulted due to their work as well as training them to improve their security. Placide also carries out advocacy work in order to obtain legal progress and policy changes with the aim of improving the protection of Human Rights Defenders and their organisations. Placide is involved in a project which seeks to improve the protection of orphans and children born from sexual violence in South Kivu, where decades of conflict and widespread sexual violence against girls and women have left deep marks on society. Children affected by such crimes are often left unregistered with the civil authorities, unrecognised by their own mother, and rejected by their community.
The resource-rich East of the Democratic Republic of Congo remains torn by conflict between Congolese security forces and various non-state armed groups, both responsible for serious abuses against civilians. The Hutu militia M23 but also many other armed groups have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, including summary executions, rapes, and forced recruitment of children. Across the country, government authorities have sought to silence dissent. Human Rights Defenders, who document exactions and support victims of violations are often perceived as taking sides. Few efforts from the government have been made so far to curb abuses by these armed groups or to investigate, arrest, and prosecute those responsible.
As human rights defender, Placide is directly exposed to danger. Recently, he received direct threats from rebel groups active in the region where he works in response to his work protecting others. The traumatising context of arrests, torture and abductions of human rights defenders in which he has to work led Placide to apply for the Shelter City programme.