In honour of the French national holiday Bastille Day, Julienne Lusenge, one of the leaders of the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict, was made Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) by the Government of France. This is the highest honour that the French Government can bestow on an individual. During a ceremony in Bukuvu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Monday, 8 July 2013, Lusenge received the award from Yamina Benguigui, the French Minister Delegate for the Francophonie, and Valerie Trierweiller, partner of the current French president François Hollande.
Lusenge is president of the Congolese women’s organization Solidarité Féminine pour la Paix et le Développement Intégral (SOFEPADI), which was founded in April 2000 by twenty-four women to promote women’s rights and to campaign for an end to sexual violence in the DRC. SOFEPADI works in regions of the country that have been affected by high levels of armed conflict, such as Ituri and North Kivu. Its programs focus on rehabilitation and reintegration of sexual violence survivors, and the provision of psychological services and job training programs. It also works to increase the number of Congolese women in politics and to train women in conflict resolution and mediation skills.
We congratulate Lusenge for on receiving this honour.
Learn more about SOFEPADI here.