Democratic Republic of Congo: A Mai Mai armed movement changes its code of war following recommendations from Geneva Call
22nd January 2016 |
|After several meetings with Geneva Call, and dialogue in the Masisi region, the leaders of the Alliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign Congo (APCLS) have amended their code of war and code of conduct in order to improve compliance with current humanitarian norms.||
« I will treat everyone fairly and respect their rights and dignity at all times without looking at race, ethnicity, gender, culture, religion and language »
Translated excerpt from the APCLS code of conduct
After several meetings with Geneva Call, and dialogue in the Masisi region, the leaders of the Alliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign Congo (APCLS) have amended their code of war and code of conduct in order to improve compliance with current humanitarian norms.
Both these documents are intended to guide the actions of the hundreds of fighters who constitute the ACPLS, which is considered to be one of the most active and well structured Mai Mai groups in North Kivu. The main change concerns the age of recruitment for combatants, which has been raised to 18 years old. In recent years, several allegations of child recruitment have been made against the APCLS, so these new rules constitute a positive signal for the protection of children.
Nevertheless, this first step, although necessary, does not ensure compliance by all the combatants in the movement. Thus, Geneva Call’s mission will now be to support and encourage APCLS’s leaders to systematically disseminate these rules throughout the ranks and put in place mechanisms for monitoring and implementation. The APCLS will also have to implement sanctions for non-compliance, in accordance with international standards.
Geneva Call will also continue to train APCLS members on humanitarian standards and the protection of children, and it hopes that all the conditions for the APCLS to formally sign the Deed of Commitment on the protection of children in armed conflict will soon be met.