Small-scale conflicts are part of life. When people are in need of justice – to claim their rights or seek mediation – they primarily resort to trusted local authorities. These can be traditional authorities, religious leaders, or state officials like police officers or local court functionaries. In many contexts, people have personalized connections with such authorities. For displaced people in fragile and conflict affected settings, this is much less likely and seeking security in these contexts is highly problematic.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, displaced people, including internally displaced, refugees and urban migrants, often compete over scarce resources (such as land) and livelihoods with other residents, which is often a cause of dispute. Displaced people, who are often disconnected from their own authorities, find it difficult to settle their disputes through the mediation of existing mechanisms.
This action research aims to contribute to the objectives of the call by strengthening justice mechanisms in three regions of DRC (South-Kivu, Haut-Uele and Equateur) through interactive research; enhancing justice initiatives of governmental and non-governmental actors; and inter-regional learning. The research focuses on displaced people’s justice needs, their strategies to obtain justice and their actual experiences with different types of authorities, including the police, justice apparatus and traditional authorities.