Displacement crisis in eastern DRC —again

DRC displaced

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, is voicing alarm over the worsening situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s eastern Beni Territory, North Kivu province, where violence has forced more than a hundred thousand civilians from their homes over the past two months. Attacks by armed groups since December on a number of towns and villages in the Watalinga Chiefdom, near the border with Uganda, have displaced residents to the town of Nobili and surrounding areas. Many were displaced previously and had only just returned to their villages in November last year, after fleeing violence in April. They remain in dire need of assistance. Violence in the region have been rising since the launch of a government-led military operation in December against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). Civilians, including those displaced in November and December, are among those targeted by armed groups, including the ADF. An estimated 252 civilians are reported to have been killed in Beni Territory since December. Many people told UNHCR staff that they now live in fear, after witnessing killings, sexual violence and abductions at home and during flight. (Reliefweb)

Photo: UNHCR

  1. OHCHR sees crimes against humanity in DR Congo

    The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said in a report on Feb. 2 that attacks against civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) may amount to crimes against humanity.

    The declaration comes after numerous civilian attacks were described in a report by the UN Joint Human Rights Office in the DRC. The report found that in 2020, no fewer than 849 civilians were killed in attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), with a further 62 people injured and four women sexually abused. In the latter half of 2020, 534 civilians were kidnapped by the ADF, with a large majority still missing. The report also found human rights violations by the DRC’s security and defense forces, with 47 civilians killed and 49 women and children sexually abused. At the beginning of this year, the Twa community in Walese Vonkutu, Irumu territory, were attacked by an unknown group of men with 14 civilians killed.

    In a subsequent press briefing, Marta Hurtado, a spokesperson for the OHCHR, declared that some of the attacks are potential crimes against humanity. (Jurist)