The news we see each day chronicles the violence around the world and the pain of war in shattered communities. Sedrick Ntwali gives us hope for a peaceful future. A former refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, he founded Young African Refugees for Integral Development. He is also a strong advocates for refugees and joined LIRS’s 2015 Migrant and Refugee Leadership Academy.
He calls us all to work for peace and focuses on the importance of dignity for victims of violence and persecution.
This year we are reminded that there are more forcibly displaced people than at any other time since World War II. Conflict and war are scattered all over and we have seen an increase in the number of refugees and immigrants in this century.
The most recent issue is the migration of Syrian refugees to Europe who seek peace and stability. However, the world must also recognize the killing of millions of Congolese, Sudanese, and Somalis that led many to flee their countries as refugees as well. Women were raped, children recruited to join armed groups, and war persists.
I was a victim of violence and war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). I was born in the DRC, and I never experienced peace in my country. My generation was born into war, violence, and conflict. Imagine being born in a country where gunshots have become the songs for kids, children’s games are games of war, and they are forced to learn words like rape, kidnapped, refugee, disappeared, burn, dead. No child should be born into this life.
Yet I have not lost hope. I still believe that peace is possible and that now is the time to act.
My recommendation to the United Nations, the United States of America and all the stakeholders in different countries is to stand together to end war and conflicts in affected countries. Welcoming migrants and refugees into our countries is just the beginning. We must create sustainable and durable peace in countries affected by war – it is the only solution to end the current conflict and mass migration of refugees and to create a peaceful world.
Durable peace for me means no fear of persecution or death, peace means security, peace means development and opportunity, peace means justice and equality.
With durable peace in Syria and Afghanistan, millions of people would not have to flee their own country.
With durable peace in the Congo, women and girls would not be raped.
With durable peace in Sudan, there would be no more mass killings.
With durable peace in Central Africa, there would be no killings because of religion or culture.
With durable peace in Somalia, there would be no more El-Shabab or Al-Qaeda.
I believe durable peace is possible and we cannot wait any longer, this is the time.