Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Although a peaceful transition of power followed the December 2018 presidential elections in the DRC, at the end of 2020, the overall security situation remained complex, with continued inter-ethnic conflicts and armed attacks, particularly in the eastern provinces of the country. Since 2019 and throughout 2020, increased violence has resulted in the continued internal forced displacement of more than 5.2 million people, according to the 2021 DRC Humanitarian Response Plan. This includes approximately 2.9 million people displaced in 2020 in the eastern provinces (mainly in Ituri, North and South Kivu and Tanganyika). This is the largest IDP situation in Africa and one of the most acute and longstanding humanitarian crises in the world. The country also hosts about half a million refugees, fleeing unrest and persecution in neighbouring countries.
The situation in the DRC was aggravated in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the DRC also continues to fight against successive outbreaks of the Ebola Virus Disease and a measles outbreak. Additionally, in October 2020, OCHA estimated that 15.6 million people are severely food insecure, of which some 4.7 million suffer from severe malnutrition. Although the rate of outflows from the DRC was lower in 2020 than in previous years, tens of thousands of people still fled across borders and have joined refugees from previous waves of violence and insecurity. Refugees continued to flee mostly from eastern areas of North and South Kivu and Ituri Provinces to Uganda, as well as from Haut Katanga and Tanganyika Provinces to Zambia and other countries in Southern Africa. At the same time, some countries reported a net reduction in the Congolese refugee population attributed to spontaneous returns to the DRC, suggesting a general stability in some areas of origin.