Thursday, August 29, 2013

Congo-Kinshasa: France Calls for UN Security Council Meeting On DRC Violence

Good People,

It is simply ridiculous and unthinkable that M23 cannot be squashed,
gotten rid off and kicked out of Congo sooner than later; more or so
now that its leader Bosco who foamed it is at the ICC Hague. The
M23 persistance and continued stay in Congo is a good reason to get
Kagame to follow Bosco at the ICC Hague and the problem will have
been solved.

It does not make sense that a member of parliament Muhindo Nzangi
is under attack and sentenced for 3 Years for Freedom of Expression,
and Peaceful Assembly. This is unacceptable and ridiculous. Nzangi
should be freed immediately without any conditions as this is Violation
and abuse of rights.   Kabila may be playing double deal and as well,
putting Congolese people's mandate at risk. Kabila must explain why
Nzangi should not be freed and why Nzangi is jailed for expressing his
constitutional rights and interest........otherwise, Democracy in Congo
with socio/economic and political security may be in jeopardy........

It is a fact that Jungle Rule cannot succeed anywhere in the world and
this behaviour must be stopped summarily so life can be of meaning
again and the whole world shall begin to foster harmonious Regulated
Public-Partnership moving forward under Law and Order........

Judy Miriga
Diaspora Spokesperson &
Executive Director for
Confederation Council Foundation for Africa

Congo-Kinshasa: France Calls for UN Security Council Meeting On DRC Violence

29 August 2013

France on Thursday requested an emergency UN Security Council meeting on a surge in fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), envoys in New York told news agencies.
The meeting, which should be held later Thursday, comes after a UN peacekeeper was killed in a clash with M23 rebels near the key eastern city of Goma.
Dossier: DRC elects a president
Fresh fighting flared up in eastern DRC on Thursday, with artillery fire reported around Goma, a day after a Tanzanian soldier with the UN force was killed and three South African troops wounded.
South African snipers hit M23 targets, including a machine-gun post, according to sources, while helicopters from the UN's Monusco force supply lines between Goma and Rwanda.
A Rwandan woman was killed in what Kigali called "deliberate" cross-border shelling.
The UN and the DRC government accuse Rwanda of supporting the M23, a predominantly Tutsi force that accuses Kinshasa of reneging on a 2009 peace deal and an agreement to hold peace talks and has threatened to attack Goma again.
The UN intervention force has an unprecedented mandate to battle armed movements in eastern DRC alongside the DRC army.


Congo-Kinshasa: U.S. Calls On Rwanda and DRC to Avoid War

27 August 2013

Congolese soldiers
Kampala — The United States has called on Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to avoid an escalation in violence that could lead to war in the already conflict-riddled eastern DRC. DRC accuses Rwanda of supporting M23 rebels who are active in eastern part of the country.
The M23 is made up of former Congolese soldiers who broke ranks from the DRC army last year. The rebels are mostly from the Tutsi ethnic group and share historical relations with the Tutsi in Rwanda.
The United Nations has also accused Rwanda of providing support to M23 rebels, allegations which Rwanda denies, saying it has security interests in eastern Congo as the region has for years been used by rebels hostile to Kigali. Violence in the eastern DRC has escalated in the past week, with media reports saying as many as seven people were killed. On Tuesday, AFP quoted an eyewitness, saying he had counted 82 bodies.
The US government has meanwhile called on Rwanda and the DRC to refrain from acts that could cause more harm to the civilian population.
"We urgently call on the DRC and Rwandan governments to exercise restraint to prevent military escalation of the conflict or any action that puts civilians at risk", the US state department said in a statement on Sunday.
The US government also called on Rwanda to immediately stop any support it is providing to M23 rebels.
"We reiterate our call for Rwanda to cease any and all support to the M23 and to respect DRC's territorial integrity, consistent with UN Security Council resolutions and its commitments under the peace, security, and cooperation framework", the statement said.
"We also call on the DRC to take all prudent steps to protect civilians and to take precautions that FARDC [DRC army] shells do not inadvertently land in Rwandan territory", the statement adds.
Fresh fighting broke out in eastern DRC on Wednesday and according to media reports, a UN force created in March comprising of soldiers from Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania for the first time fought alongside the Congolese national army.
"We are using artillery, indirect fire with mortars and our aviation, and at the moment we have troops in the front line alongside [the government forces]", the UN force commander in Congo, Gen. Dos Santos Cruz, said on Saturday.
Three UN troops are reported to have been wounded in the fighting, however, the UN has yet to confirm this.
Inadequate government control from Kinshasa has allowed several militia groups to mushroom in the Eastern DRC region, a large swathe of land rich in mineral resources.


Human Rights Watch (Washington, DC)

EmailPrint Share

Congo-Kinshasa: Outspoken Lawmaker Gets 3-Year Sentence - Freedom of Expression, Peaceful Assembly Under Attack

29 August 2013
press release
Kinshasa — Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo should immediately drop the apparently politically motivated case against a member of parliament. Muhindo Nzangi was sentenced to three years in prison over comments he made on a radio program in proceedings that did not meet international fair trial standards. His prosecution reflects a broader government crackdown on free expression in the country.
On August 13, 2013, two days after speaking on a radio program in the eastern city of Goma, Nzangi was tried, convicted, and sentenced for endangering internal state security. On August 20, police violently disrupted a peaceful sit-in by dozens of Nzangi supporters outside the North Kivu governor's office in Goma. The police beat several protesters and arrested five, who were threatened with rebellion charges, though all were released by the next day. Nzangi is a member of the Movement for Social Renewal (Mouvement social pour le renouveau, or MSR), one of the largest political parties in the ruling presidential majority (Majorité présidentielle, or MP)coalition.
"A member of parliament was arrested, summarily tried and sent off to prison solely for expressing his views," said Ida Sawyer, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. "This sadly is just the latest attempt by government officials to use the courts to silence dissent."
Congolese authorities should drop their questionable case against Nzangi and end the crackdown against his supporters, Human Rights Watch said.
Human Rights Watch has documented 84 cases since May 2012 in which politicians, political party activists, journalists, and human rights activists were arrested or threatened by the authorities because of their political views or published opinions.
Nzangi, a member of parliament from Goma, participated in a two-and-a-half-hour debate on Radio Kivu 1 on August 11. He and the other participants discussed the crisis concerning the M23, a Rwanda-backed rebel group active in North Kivu province, and the role of civil society.
Nzangi said that the Congolese people should call on the government to end talks with the M23 rebels in Kampala, Uganda and continue military operations against them. He urged people to direct their pressure toward Congolese President Joseph Kabila as well as the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Congo, MONUSCO, by holding "peaceful actions" such as marches and sit-ins. He acknowledged the risk of demonstrations turning violent and said that angry demonstrators may be tempted to throw stones at MONUSCO vehicles, but called for advance measures to be taken to prevent and control such a risk.
Nzangi told Human Rights Watch that shortly after the radio debate he received a call from someone who warned him: "The president is very upset with you. Flee if you can."
Hours later, Nzangi was arrested. He was flown to the capital, Kinshasa, and charged with endangering internal state security, revealing defense secrets, and insulting the president. Because he was allegedly "caught in the act" (flagrante delicto), Nzangi was not protected by parliamentary immunity. His trial before the Supreme Court began immediately, denying him the right to have adequate time to prepare a defense.
The day after Nzangi's conviction, his political party suspended its participation in the ruling coalition and publicly condemned the "parody of justice." Following a meeting between MSR members and Kabila on August 16, the party announced it would resume participation in the coalition.
International law provides that everyone convicted of a crime has a right to appeal their conviction to a higher tribunal. Nzangi was tried by the Supreme Court, yet Congolese law only permits reconsideration of Supreme Court verdicts if there is new evidence and the minister of justice and human rights requests the Supreme Court to reexamine the case.
Following a promise made during his state of the nation address on December 15, 2012, Kabila issued an ordinance in June outlining the organization of national consultations that would bring together all sectors of society to "reflect, exchange and debate, in all liberty and without constraint, the ways and means possible for consolidating national cohesion." The consultations are due to start on September 4.
"If President Kabila is serious about creating open dialogue, a first step should be to let politicians, journalists, activists and others say what they think without risking jail," Sawyer said. "Everyone who is locked up for their peaceful political views should immediately be released and charges dropped."
Government Efforts to Silence Dissenting Voices or Settle Scores
The 84 cases documented by Human Rights Watch since May 2012 involved 68 people who were arbitrarily arrested and 16 others who were allegedly threatened or beaten by state agents. The victims were journalists, human rights activists, political party activists, and political leaders who appear to have been targeted because they participated in demonstrations or publicly expressed views at odds with local, provincial, or national officials. Just over half of those detained were released within 48 hours, often after paying a fine or after a human rights organization intervened. Others were held for several weeks or months.
In many cases, state security forces beat those detained during arrest or while they were in custody, and took their mobile phones, money, and other possessions. In the majority of cases Human Rights Watch documented, those arrested were never brought before a judge or formally charged. In 16 cases, those arrested were tried and convicted in trials that did not appear to meet international fair trial standards.
Twenty-two of the cases examined by Human Rights Watch involved journalists who were threatened, beaten, or detained for reporting on the political opposition or other events that government officials or state agents did not want to be publicized. A female journalist told Human Rights Watch that in November 2012 she was beaten with batons, punched, slapped, and kicked by policemen while reporting on a demonstration in Kinshasa protesting the fall of Goma to M23 rebels. The police accused her of writing in her notebook that the police were threatening the protesters. On March 10, police and Republican Guard soldiers beat or threatened four journalists for covering the opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi's return to Kinshasa from South Africa.
Security forces have also beaten or detained political party activists during peaceful demonstrations. During the summit of francophone countries in Kinshasa in October 2012, 14 opposition supporters were arrested near Tshisekedi's home as they prepared to accompany his convoy to a meeting he was to have with the French president, François Hollande. Most were badly beaten and detained for several days, without being brought to trial.
Detention of Eugène Diomi Ndongala
Eugène Diomi Ndongala, a former member of parliament and minister, has been detained since April in another apparently politically motivated case to silence dissent. He is awaiting trial.
Diomi is the president of the opposition Christian Democrats (Démocratie chrétienne) political party and a founding member of the Popular Presidential Majority (Majorité présidentielle populaire) - a pro-Tshisekedi political alliance. Diomi was elected to parliament in Kinshasa in 2011, but boycotted parliamentary debates and votes to protest the presidential election that was widely criticized as fraudulent and lacking credibility. Following a request from the attorney general, the parliament voted to lift Diomi's parliamentary immunity on January 8.
On January 18, an arrest warrant was issued, charging Diomi with having repeated sexual relations with two under-age girls in June 2012. Diomi's lawyer told Human Rights Watch that for the next two-and-a-half months, the authorities pressured Diomi to accept a deal in which charges would be dropped if Diomi agreed to take his seat in parliament. When Diomi refused, he was arrested on April 8.
Three days later, government officials held a news conference, accusing Diomi of plotting to assassinate the president and prime minister. They displayed a machete, empty bottles, and gasoline, which they said Diomi and 13 others planned to use to make Molotov cocktails. Diomi was never officially charged with these offenses.
Congolese law specifies that alleged perpetrators of sexual violence should be tried within three months after judicial authorities are notified of the case. More than four months have already passed since Diomi's arrest. Because of his prolonged absence, on June 15 Diomi's mandate as a member of parliament was invalidated.
A year earlier, in June 2012, Diomi disappeared for four months. He reappeared in October and later told Human Rights Watch that he had been held in secret detention centers by Congo's National Intelligence Agency (Agence Nationale de Renseignement) and questioned and threatened about his political activities - a charge the agency denies.
Diomi is in Kinshasa's central prison, despite three court orders from Congo's Supreme Court to hold him under house arrest pending adjudication of his case. The attorney general told Human Rights Watch on August 21 that Diomi is no longer a member of parliament and therefore does not have the right to be placed under house arrest instead of being held in prison. The attorney general also said that he is empowered to decide how to execute Supreme Court orders. He said that Kinshasa's central prison "was the only residence [he] had available" and that he could not allow Diomi to go elsewhere, where he might escape.
Supreme Court officials told Human Rights Watch that there is no legal basis for the attorney general's refusal to execute the court's orders. They said that Diomi should be under house arrest because he was a member of parliament at the time the alleged crime was committed, and that the fact that his status was lifted is irrelevant.
Diomi has suffered from health problems while in detention. His lawyer told Human Rights Watch that Diomi has lost full functioning of his arm because of nerve problems, and that the prison hospital center was unable to provide the necessary treatment. The prison director told Human Rights Watch that he has not allowed Diomi to seek treatment elsewhere because of concerns that Diomi would use the time in a hospital outside of the prison for political activities.
During a Supreme Court hearing on August 26, Diomi's trial was postponed for a third time, until September 16. Diomi's lawyer told Human Rights Watch that Diomi was not provided with transportation to go from the prison to the court for the hearing and had to make his own arrangements. By the time he reached the court, the trial had already been postponed due to his absence.
The attorney general should immediately carry out the Supreme Court's order to allow Diomi to be placed under house arrest, ensure that he has appropriate medical care while in custody, and is quickly brought to trial or the charges dropped.
Imprisonment of 12 Bandundu Association Members
In Congo's western province of Bandundu, 12 members of the Association for the Defense of the Interests of Bandundu City (Association pour la défense des intérêts de la Ville de Bandundu, ADIVB) were arrested and convicted for planning to hold a demonstration, in violation of their right to peaceful assembly. As required under Congolese law, they had informed Bandundu's interim mayor on March 22 that they were planning a demonstration on March 27 to protest alleged bad management by Bandundu's governor.
Three members were arrested on March 25, before the march took place. Nine others who came to their aid were also arrested and detained, accused of trying to help their colleagues escape. On April 12, the 12 were each sentenced to 20 years in prison for "tribalism," attempted escape, and criminal conspiracy.
Human Rights Watch interviewed the 12 in prison in Bandundu in June. All of them, including a 70-year-old man, said they had been beaten by policemen. One had lost a tooth from the beatings, and another needed seven stitches on his head after police beat him with a club.
A member of the group told Human Rights Watch that they believed the charges were brought because they had criticized the governor. The group had conducted audits of provincial government offices at the governor's request, he said. "But when we looked into his own management and asked for explanations, the governor decided to sanction us."
On May 3, 227 Congolese nongovernmental organizations issued a news release condemning the verdict, saying it "followed a speedy trial, characterized by charges of corruption, influence peddling, and manipulation of justice in order to obtain a guilty verdict, at any cost."
Bandundu's court of appeals reduced the sentences to between 5 and 12 months. The appellate court then suspended the chief judge of Bandundu's high court, which had issued the trial verdict, for failing to justify his ruling.
On August 24, three ADIVB members were released after serving their five-month sentences. During a hearing at the Supreme Court on August 26, the prosecutor said he was favorable to the nine other ADIVB members' request for provisional release. They are now awaiting the decision of the Supreme Court judges.

United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Addis Ababa)

EmailPrint Share

Africa: Extractive Sector Is Critical to Africa's Illicit Money Outflows - Mbeki

27 August 2013
press release
Addis Ababa — The extractive industries sector is central to the illicit outflows of money from Africa, noted the Head of the High-level Panel on Illicit Outflows of Money from Africa, South Africa's former President - Thabo Mbeki midway through his team's fact-finding mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) today.
Mr Mbeki's delegation, which is technically supported by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), is in the DRC as part of a continent-wide and global campaign to help stop the huge amounts of money being illegally taken away from Africa - a phenomenon which is helping to delay the continent's socioeconomic transformation.
At the start of the three-day mission, Mr Mbeki and his team met with President Joseph Kabila, Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo and eight other members of the Government of the DRC to discuss the nature of illicit outflows of money from the resource-rich country and learn what the State is doing about it. According Prime Minister Matata Ponyo, there is a direct link between conflict, the exploitation of mineral resources and the illegal transfer of capital from his country.
He noted that the Government of the DRC started efforts to fight the phenomenon of illegal money outflows in 2004 through the regulation of foreign currency exchange, the enactment of laws to reduce the practice while boosting transparency in banking transactions, as well as cooperation with international partners in view of returning illegally transferred capital to the country.
The ECA team manning the Panel's Secretariat has used the visit to explain the modus operandi of the Panel and to depict the faces of illicit monetary outflows.
These include: kickbacks and other forms of corruption involving civil servants; criminal activity such as drug and money trafficking and money laundering; as well as fraudulent commercial transactions such as tax evasion, the distortion of money transfer charges and over-billing (especially by transnational firms).
Mr Mbeki said his team would build on the experience gathered from all countries visited to recommend actions to be taken to halt the illegal transfer of money from Africa and to get illegally transferred funds repatriated to the continent.
The idea of setting up the HLP was hatched in Addis Ababa in March 2011 during the 4th Joint Annual Meeting of the Africa Union Conference of African Ministers of Economy and Finance and Economic Commission for Africa's Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
The two institutions were given the mandate to coordinate the mission of the Panel, which started full-fledged work on 5 February 2012.
The Panel's overall mission, which is to make clear recommendations on curbing illicit financial flows from Africa, is considered crucial given current estimates that the continent now loses at least 50 billion dollars yearly due to illicit financial flows - a figure that exceeds the Official Development Assistance (ODA) it receives.
Issued by:
ECA External Communications and Media Relations Section
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826
E-mail: ecainfo[at]uneca[dot]org


Uganda: Exiled General Accuses Museveni of Murder, as Government Dismisses His Allegations

By Moses Odokonyero, 28 August 2013
Kampala — A renegade Ugandan General who fled to the United Kingdom after accusing president Yoweri Museveni of having a plot to have his son succeed him as the next president has in a stinging letter accused the Ugandan leader of murder.
General David Sejusa, a legislator in Uganda's parliament and until recently the Coordinator of Intelligence Services and a member of the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) high command fled to London last April after writing a letter requesting the intelligence services to investigate allegations that those opposed to "Project Muhoozi" - a reference to an alleged plot by Museveni to have his son succeed him- were at the risk of being murdered.
Museveni's son, Brig Muhoozi Kainerguga has rapidly risen in ranks from a junior army officer to a one star general in the last decade which has also seen him attend elite military colleges in Britain and the United States, among others. This has led to speculation in Uganda that he is being groomed by his father to be President.
Last month a Ugandan soldier serving in Somalia was arrested after he asked Muhoozi, who was on a visit to the war-torn country, to explain why some soldiers remain on the same rank for a long period of time while other are "fast tracked".
Muhoozi is the commander of the elite special forces which is tasked with protecting the president and Uganda's strategic assets such as the oil fields.
In a letter released through his lawyer on Sunday, Sejusa alleges that the Museveni had a role in the deaths of a former minister in the late 1980's and more recently of Major General James Kazini, a former military commander of the Ugandan Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF).
Kazini was killed in November 2009. His mistress, Lydia Draru in whose house the soldier was hit on the head with a blunt object, confessed to the murder and is serving a 14 year jail term.
But Gen. Sejusa in his letter says Draru was not the killer. He claims Museveni had a role in the death of Kazini for allegedly sending money meant to help topple him to elements within the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).
"Actually Museveni did the same with Maj. Gen James Kazini when he accused him that he was sending money to elements in Southern Sudan (SPLA) and West Nile veterans to topple him. That's when Museveni ordered his execution by procuring the services of a 6-foot 6-inches man to murder Gen Kazini. Forget that trash of [Lydia] Draru", Sejusa says in his letter that has been widely discussed on-line in Uganda and published by some newspapers.
But in a furious response on Tuesday, Ofwono Opondo, the Director of the Uganda Media Centre and the government spokesperson dismissed Sejusa as being "high on drugs".
"The most incredulous is that president Museveni could have had a hand in the death of Gen Kazini who died in the hands of his girlfriend Lydia Draru who confessed before a court of law", he told the media in Kampala on Tuesday.
"Sejusa has gone into a sewer pipe or else we think he could be high on drugs", added the government spokesman.
In a separate interview with Sudan Tribune on Wednesday, Ofwono Opondo said the renegade general is telling lies.
"Sejusa has run out of his mind. No reasonable person can believe him particularly in the case of Kazini where his girlfriend confessed of murdering him. Does Sejusa want to say that the courts of law relied on hearsay?" he asked.
"Sejusa has gone down the sewer line. He is collapsing and he wants everyone to collapse with him", Ofwono said.
The Ugandan government spokesperson further said that Sejusa is engaged in a smear campaign against Uganda aimed at enabling him get asylum in the United Kingdom.
The most recent letter from London by the army officer was prompted by an article published in a Ugandan newspaper which claimed that US $8 million was transferred to him in the UK using a Kampala forex bureau. Sejusa denies he received such an amount of money.
"First of all, I don't know of any close relative who runs a forex bureau. Who indeed would have access to US $8 million."
Last week, Paddy Ankunda, a spokesperson for the Uganda military said Gen Sejusa could be charged with treason.
Asked whether there are any plans by Uganda to extradite the renegade General from the UK, spokesman Ofwono Opondo said "we have not reached that level yet. We haven't even bothered to ask for extradition."


Voice of America (Washington, DC)

EmailPrint Share

Congo-Kinshasa: DRC Civilians At Risk - UNHCR

By Joe DeCapua, 27 August 2013

Congolese soldiers
U.N. agencies say civilians have been victims of the latest violence in the eastern DRC. Fighting between government forces and two rebel groups -- as well as local, ethnic violence -- is also causing more displacement.
Heavy fighting last weekend between the Congolese army and M23 rebels resulted in heavy casualties on both sides. But the fighting near the North Kivu provincial capital of Goma also put civilians in the line of fire.
"At least three people were killed, five others wounded, on Saturday morning when a shell landed in Ndosho. That's a suburb of Goma. And Goma at the moment is apparently packed with civilians because more than 150,000 people have been displaced towards and around the city since the fighting started in 2012," said Daniel MacIsaac, spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR.
Others at a nearby displacement camp were also at risk.
"Another shell fell Saturday near the Mugunga 3 camp. And that shelters 14,000 internally displaced people. -- Congolese that had to flee their homes because of fighting. Meanwhile, two days before this, on Thursday, again we've got reports numerous shells landed in a residential area of Goma killing at least four people and wounding 15. And all of those were civilians, too," he said.
UNHCR and other agencies are warning warring parties that indiscriminate or deliberate attacks against civilians are war crimes.
The Goma area is not the only conflict zone in the eastern Congo. Further north, the Congolese army is fighting the Ugandan rebel group ADF, or Allied Democratic Forces. About 50,000 people fled the area in mid-July and crossed the border into western Uganda. The UNHCR has set-up a transit center at Bubukwanga. It has a capacity to handle up to 12,000 people. The problem is there are as many as 20,000 refugees there.
"So it's been a strain on the local communities. People were staying in schools for a while - the refugees on school grounds," said MacIsaac.
The U.N. agency has so far transferred about 3,000 of the DRC refugees to the Kyangwali Refugee Settlement further from the border.
"One of the many good things about Uganda hosting so many refugees is that they don't necessarily just live in camps there, like you envision a refugee camp with tents. They actually are quite open and have freedom of movement in Uganda and they have refugee settlements. They don't look so different from a typical rural village in Uganda," he said.
Besides the two current conflict zones in North Kivu Province, there's also been a flare-up of local disputes over land and other issues in the Ruzizi Plain. That's on the border of South Kivu Province and Burundi.
MacIsaac said, "Over the last 12 days or so, we're seeing 1,500 Congolese asylum seekers fleeing into their neighboring country, in this case, Burundi. This is more low-level ethnic fighting. And what they're telling us, the people who are coming across, was that unidentified armed people killed about eight people and seriously wounded many more and again in the last two weeks."
The UNHCR said that the asylum seekers are staying temporarily at the Cishemere Transit Center in Burundi's western province of Cibitoke. Some have been transferred to a refugee camp.


United Nations World Food Programme (Rome)

EmailPrint Share

Congo-Kinshasa: Statement By the Humanitarian Coordinator and Agencies of the United Nations

24 August 2013

Congolese soldiers
The Humanitarian Coordinator, Moustapha Soumare, UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP and OCHA condemn the killings of innocent civilians in the fighting in North Kivu
The Humanitarian Coordinator, along with United Nations humanitarian agencies including the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Program (WFP) and the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) strongly condemn the killing of innocent civilians by military strikes during the fighting between the Congolese Army (FARDC) and M23 rebel group.
At least three people were killed and at five others wounded this morning when a shell landed in Ndosho, a suburb of the city of Goma, capital of North Kivu.
Another shell fell on the same day near the Mugunga 3 IDP camp, home to more than 10,000 displaced. On August 22, numerous shells landed in residential areas of Goma, killing at least four people and wounding 15 - all civilians.
"I condemn all attacks causing deaths and injuries among the civilian population, and remind all parties to the conflict that the indiscriminate or deliberate attack against civilians is a war crime", said the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in DRC, Moustapha Soumare.
"The parties to the conflict must respect the inalienable rights of men, women and children to life. Civilians should not be targeted," said Barbara Bentein, UNICEF Representative in the DRC. "All forces and armed groups involved in the conflict in the DRC must take care to protect the lives of all civilians in their entirety," said Bentein.
"More than150,000 people have been displaced towards Goma since 2012. Goma is a place of refuge where the safety of civilians must absolutely be protected by the parties to the conflict," said Stefano Severe, UNHCR Regional Representative. "International humanitarian law requires parties to the conflict to take all precautions to avoid exposing the civilians."
"We are concerned about the humanitarian consequences of the fighting and call on the warring parties not only to spare civilians, but also to allow humanitarian access to populations in need," said Martin Ohlsen, WFP Representative in the DRC.
In light of several UN resolutions including resolution 1612 (2005) on children and armed conflict and resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security, UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP and OCHA remind all warring parties that they must protect civilians.
For more information, please contact:
Elena Locatelli, head (OIC) of UNICEF Eastern Zonal Office, Goma - +243 (0)818305915
Faffa Attidzah Olivier, Chief Sub Delegation UNHCR Goma - +243 (0)822560471
Caroline Peguet, OCHA Head of Office, Goma - +243 (0)97000376
Fabienne Pompey, Head of Communication, WFP - +243 (0)970000292

No comments: