August 2, 2022, marked the 10th commemoration of the Genocost, a solemn day observed with events held in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as well as in the diaspora.
The Genocost team collaborated with activist groups, civil society members, and individuals from various political backgrounds to coordinate commemorative events throughout the country. Filimbi, la Lucha, and Mouvement des Indigne were amongst the collectives that join their effort to mobilise the masses in the capital.
In Kinshasa, the day’s activities commenced with a meeting held around noon by members of the ECIDE political party. A short mass was conducted to honour those who have passed away. Following this, several speakers emphasized the significance of commemorating this day and sought official recognition of Genocost as a day of remembrance in DR Congo, both nationally and internationally.
Martin Fayulu, the leader of the party, delivered a pivotal speech in which he reiterated the call for the establishment of an International Criminal Tribunal and demanded that the United Nations exhume the DRC mapping report.
In the evening, a large crowd gathered in the former Place des évolués, which has been renamed Place de la Mémoire des Victimes du Genocost. This name change was one of the requests put forth by collective activist groups of civil society in a memorandum addressed to the DRC government and handed over to Fabrice Puela, the Minister of Human Rights.
The gathering in Kinshasa was one of the largest ever witnessed during the commemoration day, with hundreds of people occupying the square. Wooden crosses were arranged on the grass as a tribute to the millions of lives lost in the genocides and war crimes of the Genocost. This commemoration served as a moment of exchange, allowing representatives from all corners of the Congo to share their stories.
Simultaneously, a similar gathering took place in Kivu and Kikwit, where young people gathered, holding Congolese flags, displaying banners, and lighting candles at sunset to pay tribute to the victims.
The evening’s events were followed by a Twitter space hosted by the Genocost team, providing an opportunity for people from around the world to connect and join in the commemoration.
The year 2022 marked a significant milestone for the Genocost campaign, as it garnered the attention and support of acting members of the DRC government. Numerous activist organizations and civil society members collaborated to organize events, and for the first time, officials of the Congolese government participated in the commemoration of the genocide. Fabrice Puela, the Minister of Human Rights, addressed the large crowd, promising to present the memorandum from civil society and activist groups to the government.
Amongst those requests were four key points.
- The recognition of the 2nd of August as a national day of commemoration of the Congolese genocide.
- Bringing an end to the ongoing atrocity and working toward long-lasting peace.
- Justice and reparations for the victims through the creation of a International Criminal Tribunal for the DR Congo.
- The building of Memorials for the victims.
These are the key points on which the coalition will continue to campaign, striving to bring peace and justice to the millions of innocent lives affected in the DR Congo. The governor also pledged to rename locations previously known as Place des Évolués to Place du Genocost. Now, the Congolese in Kinshasa will have an annual gathering place on August 2 each year.
The collective effort of activists from the DRC and London made this possible, and their hard work will continue to drive the movement for peace and justice.
By Sly Bloodcoltan