United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says 25,000 human rights abuses have been recorded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s North Kivu and Ituri.
The UN agency and development partners, it was gathered, recorded more than 1,200 civilian deaths and 1,100 rapes.
More than a million Congolese have been internally displaced in the east of the country in 2021, putting ‘enormous pressure’ on those forced to flee and on host families, which have taken in 94 percent of DRC’s forcibly displaced population.
‘Our teams continue to hear horrific accounts of sexual violence, extortion, and looting’, UNHCR spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov said in Geneva.
It is understood that those displaced are often forced to return to their place of origin due to harsh living conditions and a lack of food, further exposing them to abuse and violence.
Cheshirkov said that 65 percent of the serious human rights abuses recorded by UNHCR and partners have been inflicted on returnees.
He said attacks attributed to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) armed group have increased in brutality since late 2020, and the frequency of killings of civilians has not abated.
Despite government efforts to reduce the abuses of armed groups, ‘our teams continue to hear horrific accounts of sexual violence, extortion, and looting’, he said.
He called for urgent measures to protect civilians, warning that funding for the humanitarian crisis remains critically low.
Source: United Nations
Photo source: UNICEF/UN0381756/LeMoyne