Women Lawyers’ Movement

Women Lawyers’ Movement

Determined to challenge the culture of impunity surrounding sexual and gender-based violence in eastern Congo, a group of female lawyers who all went to law school together founded La Dynamique de Femmes Juristes in 2001 to provide legal support to women victims of rights abuses, including inheritance rights and sexual violence.

The seven full-time lawyers and handful of volunteers put themselves at risk to protect the rights of women. In 2014 DFJ prosecuted more than 200 cases in court, with a 37% success rate, remarkable in a country whose justice system is extremely weak.

DFJ trains paralegals in rural areas who receive complaints from the community and either call both parties for mediation or refer the case to DFJ for prosecution. This system plays a crucial role to ensure that rural women have access to justice.

Dynamic of Women Lawyers also identifies strong female community leaders and encourages them to run for office in provincial elections, all the while advocating for laws strengthening women’s participation in Congo’s political life.

Maître Claudine, who leads DFJ, dreams of a Congo where justice is accessible to everyone without any discrimination and where women without a voice in society can obtain justice.

Despite the enormous challenges of her work, Maître Claudine is encouraged by the positive changes she brings to marginalized members of the community: “What keeps me going is the realization of these women that they can take charge of their lives and have a better future.”

Read Maître Claudine’s story to find out more about DFJ’s history and work.

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