Friday, June 1, 2007

UNDP supports ex-combatants in the DRC

Soldiers returning from combat find it incredibly difficult to reintegrate themselves into a community they have been absent from for several years. This scenario is often played out in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as ex-combatants return to their homes from a decade-long, devastating civil war.

Today, the UNDP launched a pilot DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization and Reinsertion) project to support more than 3,000 ex-combatants from three armed groups in the Ituri district of the DRC. $3 million, including a contribution from the US, has been pledged by the UNDP to implement this initiative, due to begin in a few weeks.

From previous experience, UNDP reckons that more than two thirds of the combatants will chose the option of returning to civilian life. With this option, the participants will receive a once off payment for transport and reintegration of $110. They will then be assigned to high intensity manual labour (HIMO) projects in the district, principally road rehabilitation, for a period of three months.
With renewed opportunities for reintegration into civilian life, many ex-combatants will hopefully find their way back into Congolese society, contributing to the long-term peace and stability of the DRC.