Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has raised the alarm over possible crimes against humanity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The UN agency raised the alarm following a spike in attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) armed group in two provinces in the east of the country.

Reports say at least 849 civilians were killed in ADF attacks last year in Irumu and Mambasa territory, and in Beni territory in North Kivu province.

The group is also accused of injuring 62 civilians and sexually abusing four women in the second part of the year.

Congolese security and defence forces were also found to have committed violations in operations against the ADF in 2020, according to the report by the UN Joint Human Rights Office in the country (UNJHRO).

The report noted that some 47 civilians were killed, and 27 women and 22 children were sexually abused, while 126 people were arbitrarily arrested.

‘Given the widespread and systematic nature of the attack directed against the civilian population, some of the documented human rights abuses may amount to crimes against humanity’, OHCHR spokesperson Marta Hurtado said.

‘The violence takes place in a context of impunity, where few human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law are duly investigated and prosecuted.

‘An ADF attack on Beni prison in October 2020 – that led to the escape of 1,300 inmates escaped – was a blow to accountability in the country’.

The UN agency called on authorities in DRC to work with neighbouring countries, particularly Uganda, to ensure perpetrators affiliated with the ADF who seek refuge in their territories are found and brought to justice.

Source: UN News

Photo source: EPA EFE/Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

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