The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Senate has once again extended martial law in two of the country’s eastern provinces, despite increasing criticism of the measure, which has done nothing to stem decades of violence. Since May, civilian officials in North Kivu and Ituri provinces have been replaced by police and military figures. Bintou Keita, head of the UN’s peacekeeping mission in Congo, has thrown her weight behind the measure, even as local rights groups accuse authorities of using the “state of siege” to curtail civil liberties. The non-civilians newly given positions of power have also received little funding and few clear objectives from Kinshasa, according to a recent parliamentary report. And attacks by armed groups have continued at the same rate as before, with at least 1,000 civilians killed since May, according to the Kivu Security Tracker, a conflict-mapping project. More than one million people have been internally displaced in eastern Congo so far this year.
From The New Humanitarian, Nov. 19