Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

3rd Session, 40th Parliament,
Volume 147, Issue 37

Thursday, June 10, 2010
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Democratic Republic of Congo

Rights of Women and Children

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I would like to speak once again about the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I have already talked about the violence, rape and other problems that are an everyday reality for the women of that country. Today I would like to talk about another aspect of this situation, a story of heroism, dedication and solidarity.

I recently had the opportunity to meet with several Congolese women. For the past 15 years, these women have been overcome by guilt, remorse and frustration, and have been extremely concerned about the fate of Congolese women.

One of the Congolese women I met was a model of altruism, compassion and commitment. Her name is Julienne Lusenge. She described herself as an activist, but after hearing her story, I realized that she is much more than that. She is a modern-day hero.

Sitting across from me, she told me about the countless nights she spent far from her family, travelling to remote villages to help victims of violence who, otherwise, would not have received the attention they deserve.


She also talked about the time and money she has spent to ensure that violent incidents are documented and brought to the public’s attention so that justice can be done.

The problem is not a lack of effort or will. Many others like Julienne are ready to set aside their personal well-being to help the most vulnerable.

These people can go to government representatives and do everything in their power to present cases and document them before the courts, but they do not have the means to pay for lawyers to represent the victims.

They do not have any offices to use because existing ones are already overcrowded. Nor do they have access to medicine and other medical supplies to treat the women they are trying to help.

The fact is that Julienne and her colleagues are prepared to wholeheartedly defend their countrywomen, but they need money, resources and a system that will not abandon them.

Honourable senators, together we must take a serious look at the situation in Congo and ensure that the voices of women and children are heard.

Most importantly, we must ensure that women like Julienne have access to the resources they need to keep helping women in Congo.