Goma, DR Congo, June 7, 2022– In light of increasing tensions between several countries in the Great Lakes region and a recent uptick in violence in eastern DR Congo, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) urges restraint and diplomacy. Any further escalation risks destabilizing an already fragile context and civilians will pay a heavy price, warns CIVIC.
“Historically, fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo—whether between countries or between countries and armed groups—has had devastating consequences on civilians,” says Daniel Levine-Spound, CIVIC’s DRC-based Peacekeeping Researcher. “We are alarmed by the high level of atrocities and human rights abuses reported in eastern DR Congo in recent months, including reports of targeted killing of civilians and mass displacement. As tensions between Rwanda and DR Congo escalate, an already fragile situation could get worse.”
In recent weeks, Congolese government forces and rebels from the M23 armed group have clashed in DR Congo’s North Kivu province, leading to the displacement of tens of thousands of Congolese civilians. The Rwandan and Congolese governments have exchanged significant accusations about the fighting.
CIVIC urges all actors, including state and non-state armed actors, to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and to take steps to limit the consequences of any armed operations on civilians.
“The clock is ticking and all actions to prioritize diplomacy and dialogue should be taken. DR Congo is already suffering from one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world with conflict and insecurity being the main causes.”
There is still time to prevent the worst from happening in a part of the world that has suffered from decades of armed violence. Therefore, CIVIC urges actors across the region to immediately cease providing support – whether material, economic or logistical – to armed groups operating in eastern DR Congo.
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