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

May 28, 2010

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

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In June, a government and UN Stabilization and Reconstruction (STAREC) Plan for eastern DRC was announced. The plan aims to consolidate security and state authority, assist war-affected populations and relaunch economic activity. A key part of the plan involves progressively deploying police as well as administrative and judicial authorities to replace the FARDC in the east. The plan faced considerable challenges, not least the continuing insecurity in the east and the absence of essential government reform of its armed forces.

Intercommunal violence flared around Dongo, Equateur province in the north-west in November, leaving at least 100 people dead and an estimated 92,000 displaced.

Unlawful killings

Armed groups and government forces were responsible for hundreds of unlawful killings and attacks on humanitarian personnel, committed particularly in the context of Kimia II.

  • In the course of anti-FDLR operations, FARDC soldiers unlawfully killed at least 100 civilians, mostly women and children, in a refugee camp at Shalio, Walikale territory, North-Kivu province, between 27 and 30 April.
  • In apparent retaliation, on 10 May the FDLR unlawfully killed at least 96 civilians in Busurungi, Walikale territory. Some of the victims were burned alive in their homes.

Violence against women and girls

Military operations in eastern DRC were attended by an upsurge in rapes. High levels of rape were also reported in other areas of the country unaffected by conflict, including the cities of Lubumbashi and Kinshasa.

  • In June, an NGO medical centre reported receiving around 60 new cases a month of women and girls who had been raped in southern Lubero territory, North- Kivu, by FARDC, FDLR and other militia forces.

Children's rights

A new Child Protection Code was adopted in January. The law sets out a range of administrative, judicial, educational and health care measures to protect children. It criminalizes, among other things, acts of torture, abduction, trafficking of and sexual violence against children, and the enrolment or use of children in armed forces or groups and the police. Implementation remained weak, however.

In January, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child concluded that the government and armed groups were responsible for wholesale violations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, including recruitment and use of children in armed conflict, abductions, trafficking, torture and other ill-treatment, arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention of children, as well as high levels of sexual violence and economic exploitation. It expressed concern at high rates of infant mortality and low rates of school enrolment, particularly of girls. In November, the UN Children's Fund UNICEF reported that more than 43,000 children were working in mines in the DRC.