Democratic Republic of the Congo: Children continue to pay a heavy price for insecurity in the east of the country

In March 2022 alone, the Child Protection Division of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) documented and verified 157 serious human rights violations. A child in the context of armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. According to the United Nations, this is a 39% increase compared to January (113).

Child recruitment became the most common violation, with 61 violations recorded by the UN Children’s Services. This is followed by kidnappings (50), murders and maimings (32), sexual violence (10) and attacks on schools and hospitals (4).

Verified abuses have been attributed to the Mai Mai militia in Apa Na Pali (30), and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels, ADF (26). It was also followed by the FDLR, FDLR FOCA (22); Community group (My Mai) Nyatura (21); militiamen from the Cooperative for the Development of the Congo, CODECO (19), Maï-Maï Mazembe (18); Or My Mai Malaika (4).

© UNICEF / Vincent Tremeau

Conflicts are becoming more complex, fueled by the proliferation of non-state armed groups. In this photo, a 12-year-old former child soldier meets his uncle supported by UNICEF in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

71 violations were verified in North Kivu and 48 in Ituri

Meanwhile, the FARDC is responsible for three violations. According to the United Nations, the Congolese National Police (PNC) is the subject of a violation.

Moreover, no new leader of the armed group signed the roadmap to end recruitment and use of children and prevent sexual violence against children in March 2022. In all, 2,627 children were released.

Overall, 71 violations were verified in North Kivu, 48 in Ituri, 30 in Tanganyika, 6 in South Kivu, and 2 in Maniema.

More broadly, the United Nations believes that civilians continue to pay a very heavy price due to the multifaceted conflicts in the east of the country, leading to forced displacement and violations of international humanitarian law and human rights.

This insecurity “has negative consequences in terms of protection, access to services, food security, nutrition, education, etc.,” Bruno Limárquez, Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared during a press conference in Kinshasa.

For the Humanitarian Coordinator and the United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, protecting civilians, restoring security and stabilizing are essential – and above all the responsibility of the state.

The incidents also targeted aid workers

To meet these humanitarian needs and those of the most vulnerable, there are many challenges, particularly with regard to humanitarian space, humanitarian access, and funding.

“Humanitarians, who are there to alleviate the suffering of those most in need, should also be able to do their work, and they shouldn’t be targets – and you know there have been a very high number of incidents targeting humanitarians, including recently Mr. Lemarquez.

In general, “the human condition is nothing but an indication of the temperature on a thermometer.”

“Humanitarian aid is not the answer, so it is necessary to act collectively on the deep and structural causes, which I call the Gordian knot, which is the source of instability, insecurity and developmental deficits. The Deputy Special Representative concluded, noting the importance of “finding a balance between responding to symptoms and working on structural causes.” “.

The security situation in the east of the country makes the humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo one of the most complex in the world and the longest in the world in decades. The $1.9 billion humanitarian response plan for 2022 was funded to help 8.8 million of the most vulnerable, at 3.9% (73 million).

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