ActionAid is a global movement of people working together to further human rights and defeat poverty for all.

AU, International Community must act now to save lives in Eastern DRC

The latest developments in the on-going conflict in North Kivu province in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) continue to cause untold humanitarian suffering to thousands of innocent civilians, says ActionAid.

ActionAid International calls on the Africa Union through the current EAC Foreign Affairs Ministers taking place in Kampala, Uganda and the International Community to take leadership and end the fighting and suffering without any further delay.

The conflict particularly impacts poor and marginalised people, especially women, young girls and children, who have the least say in its conduct, and continues to increase poverty and vulnerability, destroying community resources, skills and capabilities. It is distressing to see mothers and children running for shelter and the situation worsening as the humanitarian efforts of aid agencies are becoming severely disrupted. Given the history where rates of violence against women and girls were already among the highest in the world, action must be taken by all parties to avoid a repeat of similar violations.

The absence of government means that access to water, shelter and food is likely to lead to a complex situation leading to high disease burden and deaths. Action Aid’s support to various communities in Goma has had to be halted due to the increasing violence and the displacement of communities.

According to Adelin Ntanonga, the Country Director for ActionAid in DRC (Goma) “ActionAid DRC has carried out numerous interventions linked to peace building, humanitarian relief support to displaced people, distributing non-food items, and agro-inputs including seeds.. We’ve been able to support 17,000 displaced people enabling them to return to their villages in Kamuronza and Rutshuru, and more than 35,000 people have received non-food items and emergency shelter in Walikale Territory. This new conflict escalation risks compromising all our previous efforts”.

ActionAid has confirmed that, the Kanyaruchinya IDP site, which already hosts more than 80,000 people, has received about 4,000 new arrivals since the renewed outbreak of the fighting. This displacement has put extra stress on the already exiting limited supplies and the situation requires immediate intervention to avoid further deterioration. Confirming the development, Mr. Ntanonga (ActionAid DRC Country Director) said the displacements have resulted in loss of property, destruction of public infrastructure and equipment, looting of livestock, increased gender based violence and human rights violation for both the IDP's and host population.

ActionAid condemns any form of violent conflict and calls upon the parties to the conflict, as well as The African Union, The East Africa Community and the International Community to take the following actions now:

  1. 1. EAC Foreign Affairs Ministers to take immediate decision before leaving Kampala
  2. 2. Immediate cessation of conflict and negotiation of a peaceful resolution with justice.
  3. 3. An end to all forms of human rights violations
  4. 4. We demand the protection of innocent civilians. Sexual violence has been a particularly pernicious and explicit tool in this conflict to date, and with its escalation women's protection needs to be prioritized.
  5. 5. Access by the humanitarian actors to the affected populations.
  6. 6. Specific support in the form of material, psychological and medical assistance to women survivors of sexual violence including sexual and reproductive health services.

 

Editors' notes

For more information contact:

 

John Abuya

International Programme Manager

Emergencies & Crises (Africa & The Americas)

ActionAid International

AACC Building, Waiyaki Way

PO Box 554-00606, Nairobi (Kenya)

Phone: +254 (020) 4250000 /4451041 (office)

+254 721734040 (mobile)

Fax: +254 (020) 4450089

Email: John.Abuya@actionaid.org