Member Sign In
International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
PDF Print E-mail
ENOUGH, the project to end genocide and crimes against humanity, released a press statement along with 82 other NGOs (the Congo Advocacy Coalition) calling for the end of civil war in the Congo and greater humanitarian access to displaced persons. ENOUGH seeks to end international crises through the "3Ps" of Peace, Protection, and Punishment".

Renewed combat in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has caused a drastic deterioration in the humanitarian situation and immense suffering for civilians. (...) The coalition called for urgent action to improve protection of civilians and an immediate increase in assistance to vulnerable populations.

Since August 28, 2008, fighting has resumed between the Congolese army and the forces of a renegade general, Laurent Nkundas National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), as well as other armed groups, breaking a fragile ceasefire that had been in place since the Goma peace agreement was signed on January 23. An estimated 100,000 civilians were forced to flee in the most recent violence, including many who had been displaced by earlier waves of fighting. According to witnesses, some civilians were trapped in combat zones and were killed, wounded, raped or illegally detained by soldiers of the Congolese army and combatants of other armed groups. (...)

Each round of fighting resulted in fresh displacement of civilians. The exact numbers are difficult to estimate as those returning home are frequently forced to flee again, but the UN believes that more than 1.2 million people are now displaced in North and South Kivu.

During the recent fighting, many civilians were wounded or killed in the crossfire, while there are reports that others, including children, were abducted and forcibly recruited into armed service. In Kirotshe, a female worker at the local health center was shot in the stomach on September 11 while the CNDP and soldiers from the Congolese army fought for control of the town. Another woman who fled from Nyamubingwa village said she left behind three women who had been raped by armed combatants. Much of her village was looted. (...)

Roadblocks erected by the Congolese army and militia groups prevented many civilians from escaping to safety. In some cases, civilians fleeing combat were only permitted to pass if they paid fines or handed over their electoral cards (which serve as identification in Congo) and other goods which they managed to carry from their homes.

Even outside of combat zones, Congolese army soldiers, sent to the region in increasing numbers, killed or injured civilians, often in the process of pillaging their property. (...) In some areas, Congolese army soldiers, as well as members of armed groups, are also involved in illicit mining activities in the rich gold and tin mines across the Kivu provinces, systematically extorting from civilians, in particular through the imposition of illegal axes.r
ongolese army officers and leaders of armed groups must take urgent steps to control and discipline their troops, said Anneke Van Woudenberg, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. hey are responsible for keeping their soldiers and combatants from killing, harassing and abusing the population.r
Aid workers have suffered attacks that have forced them to suspend activities in North Kivu and parts of South Kivu, leaving many displaced persons without assistance. Soldiers and combatants from armed groups have looted health centers and hijacked trucks delivering humanitarian assistance, diverting them for military purposes. Crowds have stoned aid workers and refused to allow them to pass roadblocks, confusing their role with that of the UN peacekeeping force, MONUC. The crowds said they were angry about what they saw as MONUCs failure to end the conflict and protect the population.

he signatories to the Goma peace agreement agreed to protect civilians, remove roadblocks and allow humanitarian access to populations in need, yet communities have witnessed them doing precisely the opposite, said Juliette Prodhan, country director for Oxfam GB in DRC. ll parties must live up to their commitments and cease such attacks immediately. (...)

n eastern Congo many of the basic rights of displaced people have been flagrantly violated, said Ulrika Blom Mondlane from the Norwegian Refugee Council. he UNs Guiding Principles should be more than just lofty aspirations. The people of eastern Congo desperately need the protection and basic standards of assistance detailed in this groundbreaking document to become a reality.

The Congo Advocacy Coalition calls on the parties to the Goma peace agreement, international donors, and international facilitators to the peace process (United States, European Union, African Union, and the UN) to redouble efforts to implement the Goma peace agreement and to ensure that the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement are respected in one of the worlds worst humanitarian emergencies.

Specifically, the coalition calls on these actors to:

-Uphold the commitments to civilian protection and respect for human rights set out in the Goma peace agreement and the Nairobi communiqu.
-Appoint a special adviser on human rights for eastern Congo to help ensure that human rights concerns are central to peace discussions.
-Significantly and urgently increase and improve assistance for those displaced from their homes and for the families and communities who host them.
-Sanction those who incite violence against humanitarian and UN workers. Inform the population about the different roles and mandates of MONUC and humanitarian agencies.
-Ensure that MONUCs protection mandate is given priority in the resourcing and management of operations.
-Ensure that the illegal exploitation of natural resources and the economic interests of the parties to the conflict are addressed explicitly in bilateral and international dialogues.

Press Statement and Background Information: www.enoughproject.org/node/1132
 

Browse Documents by Region:

International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
c/o World Federalist Movement - Institute for Global Policy
708 Third Avenue, Suite 1715, New York, NY 10017
Contact