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Living together or being united was the most frequent definition of peace among respondents (49%). Given the perceived deep divisions among the Congolese population along ethnic, political, and social identities,[1]  the survey asked respondents a series of questions regarding their relations with other groups.

Three-quarters of respondents ranked as good or very good their relation with their family (74%), neighbors (77%), and community (77%). Relations with other ethnic groups were less frequently ranked as very good or good (60%), especially in North Kivu (52%).

Respondents in Ituri rated their relations with their neighbors as being very good in response to this question, but at the same time, many Ituri respondents who experienced problems over land cited serious conflicts with their neighbors as the source of conflict (see Land Issues Section, p. 31). This could indicate that Congolese individuals might be able to confine conflicts with their neighbors on certain issues, such as land, and still be able to develop communal relations with them on other fronts.

Table 16: Relations with family and community

Table 16 - Relations with family and community

The survey then asked respondents to rank their level of comfort in a range of situations in the presence of members of any other ethnic group. Results varied depending on the situation, with respondents most frequently comfortable in the presence of members of any other ethnic groups in non-committal situations, such as going to the same church (76%) or to the market (72%), thus merely happening to be together at the same place. They were less comfortable with situations requiring a positive action and acceptance of members of other ethnic groups, such as sharing a drink (51 %), living in the same household (56%), or marrying with family members (47%). In all the situations, the survey reflects a striking difference among respondents in North Kivu who were, on average, markedly less comfortable with other ethnic groups compared to respondents in South Kivu and Ituri, indicating a situation where ethnic relationships are more polarized in the context of ongoing open conflict there.

Table 17: Attitudes toward other ethnic groups

Table 17 - Attitudes toward other ethnic groups

The responses to this question are similar to those expressed for security and sense of fear, where 39 percent of respondents felt safe or very safe meeting strangers and 45 percent felt safe meeting people from another ethnic group. Nevertheless, several respondents said they had feelings of hatred toward other ethnic groups (20%) or wish they could take revenge on them (14%).

About two-thirds said that all ethnic groups from eastern Congo (64%) and Congo as a whole could live together (66%). Overall, only a few respondents answered positively to a question on whether their region should become independent (10%), most of those in Ituri (13%).

Table 18: Unity

Table 18 - Unity


[1] Hans Romkema, “Update on the DRC Transition: The Case of the Kivu Provinces,” Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies (2004); S. Autesserre, “Local Violence, National Peace? Postwar ‘Settlement’ in the Eastern D.R. Congo (2003–2006),” African Studies Review 49/3 (December 2006): 1–29.