Long standing violence in DR Congo and the high price paid by children

Child standing outside a tent in displacement site nearby Bunia (Kasenyi) Child standing outside a tent in displacement site nearby Bunia (Kasenyi) UNHCR/John Wessels

6 June 2020

UNICEF strong condemnation of the attack on 3 June in the Ituri province causing casualties among minors

On 6 June, Edouard Beigbeder, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Representative in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), denounced the attack stroke on 3 June in the Eastern Congolese Ituri province, which killed 16 people, five of which were young girls under the age of 15.

Fightings are going on in the Eastern part of Congo since the refugees crisis dating back to 1994, when Hutu groups from Rwanda fled to DR Congo and formed armed groups. From that moment on, the situation became more and more insecure and degenerated in the Second Congo War (1998-2003). Even when the war formally ended, atrocities against civilians did not stop, while new rebel groups rose with a disruptive effect in terms of stability and security. The mineral wealth of the country adds fuel to the fire, since it is a source of funding for the armed groups. 

Currently, violence in Ituri province continues to claim victims, which since the beginning of the year amounts to 300 people, according to UNICEF. This situation has an enormous impact on children as, on the one hand, they are forced to flee and to seek shelter in the already overcrowded areas nearby Bunia: since the beginning of 2020, over 200,000 people fled from Djugu, Mahagi and Irumu areas, the majority of them being minors, according to data provided by UNICEF. On the other hand, UNICEF collected several denunciations of acute violations of children’s rights, including maiming, killing and rapes. Considering that these abuses happened in a background context featured by attacks to health and educational institutions, the situation is very serious and children are at risk more than anyone else.

This is the reason why last month UNICEF shed a light about the dangers connected to the unstable situation and called the international community as well as the DR Congo government to prevent further deterioration of a crisis that is likely to further endanger children’s rights. 


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Author: Giulia Azzarone

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