UNHCR aghast by the attacks against displaced civilians in DRC

Locals said they feel more secure whenever they are visited by MONUSCO patrols in Halungupa, North Kivu Locals said they feel more secure whenever they are visited by MONUSCO patrols in Halungupa, North Kivu MONUSCO

30 June 2020

Given the increasing number of attacks against displaced civilians, the UNHCR urges authorities to strengthen security in eastern DRC

On 30 June 2020, The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) declared itself “appalled” by the increasing violent attacks against displaced civilians in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). 

The UNHCR further requested the local authorities to strengthen the presence of police, military forces and the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO). In addition, the UN Refugee Agency emphasized the perpetrators of the attacks must be held accountable.  

Waves of unrest in DRC internally displaced around five million people between 2017 and 2019. According to the UNHCR, as violence spiked in January 2020, more than one million people have sought safety in neighboring African countries. As Congoleses flee, armed groups strike fear against people in displacement sites and hosting areas, by looting, killing, mutilating and sexually assaulting displaced people.

The UNHCR reported an attack on June 17-18 in Djugu Territory, where two children, two men and women were brutally murdered and over 150 houses were set on fire by an armed group in two hosting villages. More recently, on June 23, ongoing fight between two armed groups in Mweso town forced around 5,000 people to flee their homes.

In addition to the displacement sites, healthcare centers with medicines to treat injured and HIV infected people have also been looted. Moreover, the UNHCR is deeply concerned by the more than 390 cases of sexual violence recorded in Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu provinces over the last month.

The agency confirmed the attacks are worsening an “already complex displacement situation in the eastern DRC and were piling pressure on the areas hosting internal migrants, which were lacking food, water and healthcare services”.

UNHCR continues to provide assistance to displaced people by providing shelter, medical assistance and cash. However, the UN refugee agency reminds its financial needs are huge as it just received 21 percent of the US US$168 million required for the DRC operation.


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Author: Carolina Tellez; Editor: Sara Gorelli

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