GCR2P 2021/10/06 20:53

Atrocity Alert is a weekly publication by the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect highlighting situations where populations are at risk of, or are enduring, mass atrocity crimes.

“On 30 September the UN Joint Human Rights Office in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reported that there were 739 documented human rights violations and abuses across the country during August – a 50 percent increase as compared to July.  Summary killings also significantly increased, resulting in the deaths of at least 293 civilians.  While state agents perpetrated the majority of human rights violations and abuses, armed groups were responsible for the majority of civilian deaths.

Ninety-four percent of the documented human rights violations occurred in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, in the east of the country, where civilians continue to be threatened by armed groups and recurring inter-communal violence.  More than 1,200 civilians have been killed in the eastern DRC so far this year.

A “state of siege” declared by the government on 30 April in order to combat armed groups in North Kivu and Ituri has done little to improve the security situation.  According to the UN Refugee Agency, the response of some armed groups has been to increase violent reprisals against villages they suspect of supporting the government.  On 5 October the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Nada Al-Nashif, also told the Human Rights Council that, “though considerable efforts have been made by the Government to improve the behaviour of the State security forces involved in military operations against armed groups, human rights violations continue to pose serious concerns.”

Amongst the armed groups operating in the eastern DRC, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) – which has previously been responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes – was responsible for the most documented violations during August.  A UNJHRO fact-finding mission in Irumu territory documented killings, ill-treatment and kidnappings committed by the ADF against civilians.  On 1 September alleged ADF fighters ambushed a civilian convoy escorted by the government’s armed forces (FARDC) and UN peacekeepers, killing at least four people near Komanda, Ituri province.  Two days later, suspected ADF members also shot or hacked to death 30 people in the village of Makutano in Ituri.

The government, working with the UN peacekeeping force in the DRC (MONUSCO), needs to strengthen civilian protection in North Kivu and Ituri provinces.  While attempting to combat the ongoing threat posed by the ADF and other armed groups, the FARDC must uphold their obligations under International Humanitarian Law. The DRC authorities, with assistance from MONUSCO, should vigorously investigate and prosecute any alleged human rights violations and abuses perpetrated by state agents.”

The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (GCR2P) is an independent organisation that focuses on conducting research, analysis and advocacy in relation to mass atrocity.

The GI ADVISORY is a security and research firm whose primary purpose is to contribute to world order and stability.

In the DRC’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces, violent conflicts are rising rather than decreasing. Various researchers have expressed varying opinions about the persecution of minority populations and the broader conflict situation in the DRC. According to one of the Freedom House reports, ethnic prejudice against several indigenous Pygmy tribes and Congolese Banyamulenge Tutsis is widespread among the country’s ethnic groupings. Despite the country’s commitment to follow international humanitarian law, the situation remains unchanged.

While nation-states have the right to control their own affairs, the R2P Principle emphasizes that they also have a fundamental obligation to protect the people living inside their borders. When a state fails to safeguard its citizens – whether due to a lack of ability or a lack of willingness – the responsibility for protecting human lives falls to the international community. Despite this principle and numerous other international accords, the international community has yet to secure peace in the DRC.

Lunga Dweba

Defusing conflict with intellect

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