Annual Report: Congo (Dem. Rep. of) 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Congo (Dem. Rep. of) 2010

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Head of state Joseph Kabila
Head of government Adolphe Muzito
Death penalty retentionist
Population 66 million
Life expectancy 47.6 years
Under-5 mortality (m /f) 209/187 per 1,000
Adult literacy 67.2 per cent

Serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law were committed in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by armed groups and the national army, notably in the context of government military operations against the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) armed group. Government military, intelligence and police services were responsible for serious and sometimes politically motivated human rights violations across the country, including frequent arbitrary arrests, acts of torture and other illtreatment, and sexual violence. Scores of people were sentenced to death; no executions were reported. There were growing official restrictions on the freedom of the press and a number of threats or attacks against human rights defenders. Relations between the DRC and Angola deteriorated, culminating in a reciprocal arbitrary mass expulsion of migrants and refugees in September.

Armed conflict

In January, Congolese and Rwandan government forces launched a joint military offensive against the FDLR in North-Kivu province. Rwandan forces withdrew in February. A second offensive against the FDLR, known as Kimia II, was launched by the national army (FARDC) in March, with the support of the UN peacekeeping mission to the DRC, MONUC. Kimia II was extended to South-Kivu province in July and continued in both provinces at the end of the year. In October, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions described military operations against the FDLR as "catastrophic" from a human rights perspective.

The military operations followed a rapprochement between the governments of the DRC and Rwanda and a peace deal in early 2009 to end the rebellion by the Rwanda-backed National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) armed group in North- Kivu. As part of the peace deal, large numbers of CNDP and other armed group fighters were hurriedly integrated into the FARDC and took a leading role in anti-FDLR operations. The government failed to vet, train or properly pay these newly integrated forces. Former armed group chains of command were left intact. Lack of effective government control over these forces contributed to poor respect for human rights by the FARDC.

MONUC's support of Kimia II, although authorized by UN Security Council resolution, was criticized because of war crimes and other serious human rights violations committed by the FARDC and, in retaliation, by the FDLR. MONUC's strength at the end of the year stood at around 20,000 personnel, concentrated in eastern DRC.

FARDC military operations, supported by Ugandan government forces and MONUC, continued against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in north-eastern DRC. The LRA was responsible for violations of international humanitarian law, including the killing and abduction of civilians.