DRC - ReliefWeb News
Democratic Republic of the Congo: Democratic Republic of the Congo: Humanitarian Snapshot (as 30 April 2016)
453 cases and 45 deaths had been recorded as of 26 April 2016. 42 cases tested positive, of which 37 were linked to the outbreak in neighboring Angola: 30 in Kongo Central and 7 in Kinshasa.
During the first three months of 2016, there were 16 significant security incidents that impacted on humanitarian operations: 11 were attacks on convoys, the 5 others were ransacking of offices. Beyond these specific events, it's humanitarian access that is at risk. The past three months also saw a string of administrative constraints that delayed the delivery of assistance.
A yellow fever outbreak was detected in Angola late in December 2015 and confirmed by the Institut Pasteur Dakar (IP-D) on 20 January 2016. Subsequently, a rapid increase in the number of cases has been observed.
As of 19 May 2016, Angola has reported 2420 suspected cases of yellow fever with 298 deaths. Among those cases, 736 have been laboratory confirmed. Despite vaccination campaigns in Luanda, Huambo and Benguela provinces circulation of the virus in some districts persists.
Three countries have reported confirmed yellow fever cases imported from Angola:
Democratic Republic of The Congo (DRC) (42 cases), Kenya (two cases) and People’s Republic of China (11 cases). This highlights the risk of international spread through nonimmunised travellers.
On 22 March 2016, the Ministry of Health of DRC confirmed cases of yellow fever in connection with Angola. The government officially declared the yellow fever outbreak on 23 April. As of 19 May, DRC has reported five probable cases and 44 laboratory confirmed cases: 42 imported from Angola, reported in Kongo central province and Kinshasa and two autochthonous cases in Ndjili, Kinshasa and in Matadi, Kongo Central province. The possibility of locally acquired infections is under investigation for at least eight nonclassified cases in both Kinshasa and Kongo central provinces.
In Uganda, the Ministry of Health notified yellow fever cases in Masaka district on 9 April 2016. As of 19 May, 60 suspect cases, of which seven are laboratory confirmed, have been reported from three districts: Masaka, Rukungiri and Kalangala. According to sequencing results, those clusters are not epidemiologically linked to Angola.
The virus in Angola and DRC is largely concentrated in main cities. The risk of spread and local transmission to other provinces in Angola, DRC and Uganda remains a serious concern. The risk is high also for potential spread to bordering countries especially those classified as low risks for yellow fever disease (i.e. Namibia, Zambia) where the population, travellers and foreign workers are not vaccinated against yellow fever.
An Emergency Committee (EC) regarding yellow fever was convened by WHO’s Director General under the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) on 19 May 2016. Following the advice of the EC, the Director-General decided that the urban yellow fever outbreaks in Angola and DRC are serious public health events which warrant intensified national action and enhanced international support. The events do not at this time constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The statement can be found on the WHO website.
Democratic Republic of the Congo: Democratic Republic of Congo: Yellow Fever Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation N° MDRCD017
Description of the disaster
In January 2016, a yellow fever outbreak was detected and confirmed in Angola, Southern Africa. Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. There are an estimated 130,000 cases of yellow fever reported yearly, causing 44,000 deaths worldwide each year, with 90 per cent occurring in Africa.1 Following cross-border population movement from Angola into neighbouring countries, exported cases were later reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). On 23 March 2016, the DRC Ministry of Health (MoH) declared an official yellow fever outbreak, with a total of 39 imported cases from Angola reported in Kongo Central and Kinshasa provinces. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some autochthonous transmission cases have been also reported in Ndjili, Kinshasa and in Matadi, Kongo Central province. As of 11 May 2016, a total of 44 yellow fever cases have been confirmed; with 551 suspected cases reported including 167 in Kongo Central and 133 in Kinshasa. Please refer to “Figure 1: Map of yellow fever situation in the region (WHO Sit Rep)”, which provides a visual of the yellow fever situation in the Angola, which is the current epicentre of the outbreak, and the proximity with DRC.
Given the risk of spread to other areas of the DRC as well as to other neighbouring African countries, the MoH of DRC with the support of the international community have decided to undertake an emergency vaccination campaign targeting 1.9 million people in the most at-risk regions. Vaccination is the most important preventive measure against yellow fever.
Summary of the current response
Overview of Host National Society
The Red Cross of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC RC) is a neutral humanitarian organization, auxiliary to the public authorities. At the national HQ, there is an operational management structure including six technical departments and professionals trained as part of the National Disaster Response Team (NDRT). The DRC RC has provincial disaster response intervention teams (PDRT) with 110 members, a national disaster response intervention team (NDRT) with 30 members, and 10 staff members that are regional disaster response team (RDRT) trained. Moreover, the DRC RC has a pool of approximately 120,000 registered volunteers (one of the largest voluntary networks in the world), of which 60,000 are active.
Following the yellow fever outbreak, the DRC RC has carried out the following interventions:
- Identified a resource person who will be based in Kongo Central to support the implementation of activities related to the prevention and response to the yellow fever outbreak.
- Held coordination and preparation meetings related to the upcoming immunization campaign against yellow fever.
- Held volunteer briefings on yellow fever in affected health areas;
- Carried out public outreach on the risks related to the disease and behaviour to be adopted;
- Ran active search for cases within the community and referrals to the nearest health centres;
- Participated in epidemiological surveillance meetings: SURVEPI (DPS, CLUSTER);
- Focused on early detection of cases for immediate care in corresponding health areas.
Since 2014, the National Society has been developing community resilience activities in the Kongo Central province, which has been affected by the yellow fever outbreak, specifically in Nsona-Mpagu and Sekebanza, which supported the training of supervisors and volunteers in the epidemic control for volunteers (ECV) manual. Through community resilience activities, the capacity of the Kongo Central CR DRC committee has also been strengthened through the purchase of logistical assets including bicycles, motorcycles, etc.
Since 2013, Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) operations have been carried out in response to a Population Movement (MDRCD014), an Ebola Virus Disease outbreak (MDRCD015) and Floods (MDRCD016) – as such, the National Society (NS) will ensure that any lessons learned from these operations are applied (as relevant) in the response to the yellow fever outbreak.
Overview of Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in country
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Yaoundé Country Cluster Support Team (CSST) office, and the Africa regional office, which is based in Nairobi, Kenya, have been following the situation in DRC since the declaration of the yellow fever outbreak. On 4 May 2016 an operational strategy call was convened with colleagues from the Yaoundé CCST office, Africa region, and Geneva level. It was agreed that DREF could be considered an appropriate modality to support the DRC RC respond to the yellow fever outbreak, specifically linked to the emergency vaccination campaign planned by the MoH. On 16 May 2016, an alert was issued using the IFRC disaster management information system (DMIS), which confirmed the dates of the immunization campaign (from 26 May 2016 to 4 June 2016.
Partner National Societies (PNS) include the Belgian Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross, Spanish Red Cross and Swedish Red Cross societies. In addition, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also has extensive presence in DRC.
Overview of non-RCRC actors in country Since the outbreak of the yellow fever epidemic, the WHO has undertaken the following actions in the country:
- Since 10 May 2016, a team has been deployed to Matadi to support the local coordination in assessing the level of preparation of the campaign and ensure the support of the WHO sub office in finalizing and validating the micro-plans;
- The National Coordinating Committee arranged a successful immunization campaign in two targeted districts of Kinshasa;
- On 10 May 2016, the WHO headquarters (HQ) focal point for yellow fever arrived in the field (Kinshasa) to support the response;
- Two logisticians from WHO HQ are also expected to arrive in the field on 13 May 2016;
- Two experts from the Higher Institute of Technology (IST), including an epidemiologist and an expert in social mobilization are also being deployed;
- Support has also been provided to various Provincial Health Divisions (DPS) in the needs assessment (vaccines and other inputs), in view of an efficient response to this outbreak.
- Technical and financial support is being provided to the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) through multidisciplinary investigative missions;
- Monitoring and public outreach activities are being strengthened in Kinshasa and Kongo Central provinces.
The International Coordinating Group on Vaccine (ICG) has approved the request of the country for vaccines and operational costs and some 900,000 doses of vaccine arrived in Kinshasa on 13 May 2016. The remaining doses will be sent on 20 May 2016. It is expected that the immunization campaign will begin on 26 May 2016 and to last ten days (until 4 June 2016). Other partners such as Médécins sans Frontières (MSF) Belgium have committed to support epidemic control interventions (including a fight back campaign) in two health areas in Kongo Central (Nzanza and Matadi), as well as in the two health areas of Kinshasa. Save the Children International has equally committed to support the fight back campaign in Boma and Boma Bungu health areas in the Kongo Central province. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) shall be providing support in social mobilization with a focus on border areas.
Angola: Première Réunion du Comité d’urgence du Règlement sanitaire international (2005) concernant la fièvre jaune
**Déclaration de l’OMS **
Un comité d’urgence concernant la fièvre jaune a été convoqué par le Directeur général au titre du Règlement sanitaire international (2005) (RSI (2005)) par téléconférence le 19 mai 2016, de 13 heures à 17 h 15 (heure d’Europe centrale).1
Les États Parties affectés suivants ont participé à la séance d’information de la réunion: Angola et République démocratique du Congo.
Devant le Comité, le Secrétariat de l’OMS a brossé l’historique de l’«Initiative Fièvre jaune» et rappelé son impact; il a fourni des informations sur la flambée urbaine de fièvre jaune à Luanda (Angola) et sa propagation nationale, et internationale vers la République démocratique du Congo, la Chine et le Kenya.
Des informations complémentaires sur l’évolution du risque de fièvre jaune dans les zones urbaines en Afrique et la situation des stocks mondiaux de vaccin antiamaril ont également été présentées au Comité.
Après avoir discuté des informations présentées et avoir délibéré, le Comité a décidé que les flambées urbaines de fièvre jaune en Angola et en République démocratique du Congo constituaient un événement de santé publique grave qui justifiait l’intensification des mesures au niveau national et le renforcement du soutien international. Le Comité a décidé que sur la base des informations fournies, l’événement ne constituait pas à ce stade une urgence de santé publique de portée internationale (USPPI).
Bien qu’ils aient considéré que l’évènement ne constituait pas actuellement une urgence de santé publique de portée internationale, les membres du Comité ont souligné avec force les risques graves que représentaient aux niveaux national et international les flambées urbaines de fièvre jaune et ont formulé des conseils techniques sur les mesures que l’OMS et les États Membres pourraient envisager de prendre immédiatement dans les domaines suivants:
accélération de la surveillance, campagnes de vaccination de masse, communication sur les risques, mobilisation des communautés, lutte antivectorielle et mesures pour la prise en charge des cas en Angola et en République démocratique du Congo; contrôle de la vaccination contre la fièvre jaune de tous les voyageurs, et en particulier des travailleurs migrants, se rendant en Angola et en République démocratique du Congo ou venant de ces pays; intensification de la surveillance et des activités de préparation, y compris vérification de la vaccination antiamarile chez les voyageurs et communication sur les risques, dans les pays à risque et dans les pays ayant des frontières terrestres avec les pays touchés. Le Comité a aussi souligné la nécessité de gérer rapidement toute nouvelle importation de fièvre jaune, d’évaluer de manière approfondie les activités de riposte en cours, et d’élargir rapidement les capacités de diagnostic de la fièvre jaune et de confirmation des cas.
Reconnaissant que les stocks de vaccin antiamaril sont limités au niveau international, le Comité a aussi conseillé d’appliquer immédiatement la politique consistant à administrer une dose unique de vaccin antiamaril pour une protection à vie2 et il a recommandé que le Groupe stratégique consultatif d’experts sur la vaccination (SAGE) évalue rapidement les stratégies visant à économiser des doses de vaccin antiamaril.
Le Comité s’est ensuite dit favorable au projet d’examen et de révision de la stratégie mondiale pour la prévention des flambées urbaines de fièvre jaune, conformément à l’évaluation faite par l’OMS concluant à une augmentation du risque de survenue de tels événements.
Se fondant sur les vues exprimées par le Comité et sur les informations actuellement disponibles, le Directeur général a approuvé l’évaluation présentée par le Comité selon laquelle la situation actuelle concernant la fièvre jaune est grave et très préoccupante et nécessite un renforcement des mesures de lutte mais ne constitue pas à ce stade une urgence de santé publique de portée internationale.
Le Directeur général appelle les États Membres à mettre en place l’obligation de vaccination contre la fièvre jaune pour les voyageurs se rendant en Angola et en République démocratique du Congo ou venant de ces pays, conformément au RSI (2005).3
Le Directeur général a remercié le Comité pour ses conseils exhaustifs sur les mesures prioritaires pour les pays touchés et les pays à risque, et sur l’action ultérieure de l’OMS concernant la gestion du risque de fièvre jaune. Le Directeur général a apprécié que le Comité donne son assentiment en vue d’une réunion ultérieure si nécessaire.
Genève, Suisse | AFP | vendredi 20/05/2016 - 07:59 GMT |
L'épidémie de fièvre jaune en Afrique, qui a déjà fait près de 300 morts, est "grave", mais ne constitue pas une "urgence de santé publique de portée internationale", a estimé l'Organisation mondiale de la santé.
L'OMS avait réuni son comité d'urgence, composé d'experts internationaux, afin d'évaluer l'ampleur de l'épidémie qui touche principalement l'Angola et la République démocratique du Congo.
Ce comité est le seul à même de décider si une épidémie constitue une "urgence de santé publique de portée internationale", comme il l'avait fait pour Ebola en Afrique de l'Ouest ou plus récemment pour Zika en Amérique latine, ce qui implique une mobilisation et une action internationales immédiates.
"Le comité a conclu que les pics de fièvre jaune en zone urbaine en Angola et en RD Congo constituent des événements graves de santé publique, (mais) ne constituent pas, à ce stade, une urgence de santé publique de portée internationale", a indiqué jeudi soir un communiqué de l'OMS.
Depuis l'apparition de l'épidémie à Luanda, la capitale angolaise, fin décembre 2015, l'OMS a enregistré 293 décès. Au total, 2.267 cas suspects ont été comptabilisés, mais pour l'instant seuls 696 ont été confirmés en laboratoire.
En RD Congo, 41 cas confirmés ont été enregistrés, essentiellement dans la capitale Kinshasa, mais seuls deux d'entre eux sont des cas locaux, les autres ayant été importés d'Angola.
Une autre épidémie de fièvre jaune touche l'Ouganda, avec 7 cas confirmés, selon l'OMS. Quelques cas importés ont été également notifiés en Chine (11) et au Kenya (2).
Lors d'une conférence de presse, le professeur Oyewale Tomori, qui présidait la réunion du comité d'urgence de l'OMS, a demandé que "tous les voyageurs se rendant en Angola et en RD Congo soient vaccinés".
Bruce Aylward, directeur général adjoint de l'OMS, a reconnu que "la fièvre jaune en zone urbaine crée une situation particulièrement dangereuse en raison du risque de propagation explosive avec une forte mortalité et aussi du risque de contamination à l'étranger".
Mais il a estimé que les doses actuelles de vaccin, qui devraient avoisiner les 7 millions à la fin mai, "devrait être suffisantes pour stopper la transmission que nous connaissons actuellement".
Il a ajouté que 17 à 18 millions de doses devraient être produites d'ici août.
A propos de la Chine, dont beaucoup de ressortissants travaillent en Afrique, M. Aylward a conseillé que "tous les travailleurs migrants soient vaccinés".
11,7 millions de doses vaccinales ont déjà été envoyées en Angola, d'après l'OMS. 700.000 doses sont arrivées en Ouganda où la campagne de vaccination doit démarrer le 19 mai. En RDC, 2,2 millions de personnes doivent être vaccinées.
La Fédération internationale de la Croix-Rouge (FICR) a de son côté mis en garde jeudi contre les risques de propagation de l'épidémie qui pourrait devenir "une crise mondiale".
Dans un communiqué, la directrice du département de la Santé de la Fédération, Julie Lyn Hall, a expliqué que "les stocks limités de vaccins, les systèmes inadéquats de surveillance des maladies, la mauvaise hygiène et les interactions transfrontalières économiques et sociales quotidiennes risquent de transformer une crise nationale en crise mondiale".
La fièvre jaune est une maladie hémorragique virale transmise par le moustique de type Aedes aegypti -- vecteurs de nombreux virus comme le Zika ou la dengue -- qui touche les régions tropicales d'Afrique et d'Amérique amazonienne.
La vaccination est la principale mesure préventive contre cette maladie.
© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse
World: M. Ban Ki-moon appelle à rendre hommage aux Casques bleus dont 120 en moyenne sont tués chaque année
SECRÉTAIRE GÉNÉRAL COMMUNIQUÉS DE PRESSE
Vous trouverez ci-après le message du Secrétaire général de l’ONU à l’occasion de la Journée internationale des Casques bleus des Nations Unies, célébrée le 19 mai:
La croissance massive que connaissent depuis quelques années les opérations de maintien de la paix des Nations Unies, tant par leurs effectifs que par leur complexité, témoigne de la confiance qu’elles inspirent dans le monde. Il y a 15 ans, le personnel militaire et policier des Nations Unies comptait moins de 40 000 membres. Aujourd’hui, plus de 105 000 agents en tenue originaires de 124 pays qui fournissent des contingents ou du personnel de police servent sous les couleurs du drapeau des Nations Unies, aux côtés de 18 000 membres du personnel civil recrutés sur les plans international et national et de Volontaires des Nations Unies. Ils incarnent les aspects les meilleurs de la solidarité mondiale et servent avec courage dans des environnements dangereux pour assurer la sécurité de certaines des populations les plus vulnérables.
Au cours de l’année écoulée, les « Casques bleus » déployés dans 16 opérations de maintien de la paix à travers le monde ont sauvé d’innombrables vies, ont fait progresser la cause de la paix et ont suscité l’espoir. Au Soudan du Sud, plus de 200 000 civils qui craignaient pour leur vie ont trouvé refuge dans les bases des Nations Unies. En République centrafricaine, les Casques bleus ont aidé à organiser des élections présidentielles et législatives d’importance historique qui ont permis à ce pays naguère en proie à de graves troubles de s’engager sur la voie de la paix et de la stabilité. Dans l’est de la République démocratique du Congo, ils ont combattu des groupes armés et ont réussi à convaincre les ex-combattants de déposer les armes. Au Mali, ils ont subi de graves pertes qui ne les ont toutefois pas empêchés d’accomplir leur mission. En Haïti, la Police et des experts civils des Nations Unies ont aidé à endiguer la violence des bandes criminelles. Alors que les craintes liées à l’Ebola se répandaient de par le monde, les Casques bleus en poste au Libéria ont assuré la sécurité des experts internationaux qui s’efforçaient d’enrayer la propagation du virus.
Dans de nombreux pays, le personnel de la lutte antimines des Nations Unies a remis en état des zones dangereuses jonchées de mines et de restes explosifs de guerre, y compris des armes à dispersion, et en a fait des terrains se prêtant à nouveau à la construction d’écoles et d’hôpitaux et à l’agriculture
Si la taille, la complexité et le succès des opérations de maintien de la paix n’ont cessé d’augmenter, il en va malheureusement de même pour les risques qui y sont liés. À l’aube du nouveau millénaire, une trentaine de Casques bleus perdaient la vie chaque année; à l’heure actuelle, ce nombre a grimpé à 120 en moyenne.
L’année dernière, 129 d’entre eux ont péri dans l’exercice de leurs fonctions. Ils venaient de 50 pays différents et étaient issus des rangs de l’armée, de la police, des fonctionnaires internationaux, des Volontaires de l’ONU et du personnel recruté sur le plan national. Leurs parcours étaient d’une grande diversité mais tous avaient en commun leur héroïsme et la conviction que les opérations de maintien de la paix des Nations Unions constituent une force pour le bien à travers le monde et doivent le demeurer.
C’est pourquoi il est essentiel de mettre fin aux cas particulièrement préoccupants d’exploitation et d’atteintes sexuelles commises par les forces internationales déployées dans des régions en proie à des troubles. Je n’ai eu de cesse d’appeler à placer les victimes au cœur de notre action. Je m’efforce activement d’aborder ce grave problème chaque fois que j’en ai la possibilité tout en exhortant les États Membres, seuls habilités à sanctionner leurs soldats, à imposer des mesures sévères afin de faire pleinement justice aux populations touchées et de soulager la douleur qu’elles ressentent.
L’année dernière, j’ai chargé un groupe indépendant de haut niveau d’examiner les moyens de renforcer les opérations de maintien de la paix des Nations Unies pour mieux répondre aux problèmes actuels et à venir. Nous nous employons énergiquement à adapter ces opérations et à y apporter des améliorations bien précises pour qu’elles soient plus rapides, plus réactives et davantage amenées à rendre des comptes aux autorités et, surtout, aux populations des pays que nous sommes chargés de servir.
En cette Journée internationale des Casques bleus, nous rendons hommage à nos héros, plus d’un million d’hommes et de femmes qui ont servi sous les couleurs du drapeau des Nations Unies avec fierté, distinction et courage depuis le premier déploiement de personnel de maintien de la paix en 1948. Nous saluons avec gratitude la mémoire des plus de 3 400 Casques bleus qui depuis cette date ont trouvé la mort dans l’exercice de leurs fonctions.
Nous leur sommes à jamais reconnaissants. Nous nous engageons aujourd’hui à réaliser le plein potentiel des opérations de maintien de la paix des Nations Unies pour faire advenir un monde meilleur.
À l’intention des organes d’information • Document non officiel.
Angola: Meeting of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (2005) concerning Yellow Fever
An Emergency Committee (EC) regarding yellow fever was convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR 2005) by teleconference on 19 May 2016, from 13:00 to 17:15 Central European Time.
The following affected States Parties participated in the information session of the meeting: Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The WHO Secretariat briefed the Committee on the history and impact of the Yellow Fever Initiative, the urban outbreak of yellow fever in Luanda, Angola and its national and international spread to the Democratic Republic of Congo, China and Kenya. The Committee was provided with additional information on the evolving risk of urban yellow fever in Africa and the status of the global stockpile of yellow fever vaccine.
After discussion and deliberation on the information provided, it was the decision of the Committee that the urban yellow fever outbreaks in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a serious public health event which warrants intensified national action and enhanced international support.
The Committee decided that based on the information provided the event does not at this time constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
While not considering the event currently to constitute a PHEIC, Members of the Committee strongly emphasized the serious national and international risks posed by urban yellow fever outbreaks and offered technical advice on immediate actions for the consideration of WHO and Member States in the following areas:
the acceleration of surveillance, mass vaccination, risk communications, community mobilization, vector control and case management measures in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo;
the assurance of yellow fever vaccination of all travellers, and especially migrant workers, to and from Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo;
the intensification of surveillance and preparedness activities, including verification of yellow fever vaccination in travellers and risk communications, in at-risk countries and countries having land borders with the affected countries.
The Committee also emphasized the need to manage rapidly any new yellow fever importations, thoroughly evaluate ongoing response activities, and quickly expand yellow fever diagnostic and confirmatory capacity. Recognizing the limited international supply of yellow fever vaccines, the Committee also advised the immediate application of the policy of 1 lifetime dose of yellow fever vaccine and the rapid evaluation of yellow fever vaccine dose-sparing strategies by the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE).
Going forward, the Committee agreed with the planned review and revision of the global strategy for preventing urban yellow fever outbreaks in keeping with WHO’s assessment that the risk of such events is increasing.
Based on these views and the currently available information, the Director-General accepted the Committee’s assessment that the current yellow fever situation is serious and of great concern and requires intensified control measures, but does not constitute a PHEIC at this time.
The Director-General urges Member States to enforce the yellow fever vaccination requirement for travellers to and from Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in accordance with the IHR (2005).
The Director-General thanked the Committee for its thorough advice on priority actions for affected and at-risk countries, and on further yellow fever risk management work for WHO. The Director-General appreciated the concurrence of the Committee to be reconvened if needed.
WHO Media Team
Democratic Republic of the Congo: The actual state of sexualized violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo
By Lauren Wolfe/Director — May 18, 2016
When the Democratic Republic of Congo was dubbed the “rape capital of the world” in 2010 by Margot Wallström, the former UN special representative on sexual violence in conflict, understandably the government of DRC was not happy. Besides that, putting one country above all others when it comes to violence against women is a debatable move: So many places have horrifying records of rape and impunity for such cases. But Wallström had good reason for aiming her words at what is unambiguously a truly terrible place for women.
As humanitarian actors increasingly operate in situations of internal armed conflict, the importance of negotiating with ANSAs to ensure access has come to the forefront. Yet humanitarians on the ground and the broader international humanitarian community often fail to understand ANSAs’ perspectives and motives and, as a result, struggle to engage with them effectively.
On 23-24 May 2016—following a two-year consultation process that involved people affected by humanitarian crises, governments, civil society, humanitarian organizations, and other key stakeholders—the United Nations Secretary-General will convene the first World Humanitarian Summit (WHS). The purpose of the WHS is to set an agenda for humanitarian action to collectively address today’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. However,
ANSAs—which play an integral role in allowing or hindering humanitarian operations in conflicts from Syria and Somalia to Colombia and the Central African Republic—were not consulted in this endeavour. This study aims to address this gap and contribute to a better understanding of ANSAs’ perceptions on humanitarian action.
Between June 2015 and February 2016, Geneva Call consulted 19 ANSAs (and several relief organizations affiliated with these groups) in 11 countries. The ANSAs participating in this survey were selected by Geneva Call. The research approach is described in the methodology section, and a list of the ANSAs consulted is provided in Annex B.
Understandings of humanitarian action:
Despite the diversity of the ANSAs consulted, there is a high degree of uniformity in many of the views expressed on a range of issues related to humanitarian action and access.2 Many of the ANSAs consulted see humanitarian action, in broad terms, as alleviating suffering or providing relief to those affected by armed conflict or natural disaster. Very often, they only refer to assistance; the protection of civilians, or related protection issues, is rarely mentioned. Additionally, the ANSAs consulted see a direct link between the integrity and quality of assistance, on the one hand, and the humanitarian agency’s adherence to the principles of neutrality, impartiality, and independence on the other.
Knowledge and acceptance of humanitarian principles:
The ANSAs consulted are broadly familiar with the core humanitarian principles. Though the two principles are sometimes conflated, neutrality and impartiality are integral to the acceptance of aid work by these groups.
Independence is important as well, but ANSAs recognize that geopolitical concerns, funding, and other factors challenge the ability of humanitarian actors to be independent in practice. With all of the principles, the focus is on observed behaviour (rather than, for example, where an agency’s funding comes from). Although, at times,
ANSAs have sought to co-opt humanitarian aid or undermine humanitarian principles (much like States sometimes do), there is also a strong expectation that humanitarians should keep to their principles.
Acceptance of IHL:
The ANSAs consulted express overwhelmingly positive attitudes towards IHL, including humanitarian access. This is true even among those with only notional understandings of IHL and documented histories of violations. Additionally, several ANSAs offer nuanced critiques of international law in direct relation to how it affects them or their concerns. They express frustration that they are largely excluded from the development of IHL and that States are rarely held accountable for arbitrary denial of access or other violations.
Lack of knowledge of the rules of IHL relating to humanitarian access:
Although the ANSAs consulted express support for IHL, their comprehension of relevant rules on humanitarian access is limited and significantly influenced by whether humanitarian agencies have directly engaged with them on these issues. Consequently, there is greater expressed acceptance of IHL where there has been long-term humanitarian engagement. This underscores the importance of donors supporting and humanitarian agencies conducting a sustained dialogue with ANSAs. This should include repeated dissemination of IHL at all levels, including rules about access.
Support for humanitarian action:
The ANSAs consulted overwhelmingly claim to allow humanitarian access and want aid agencies to operate in areas they influence or control. Every single movement surveyed has relationships with humanitarian actors other than Geneva Call. These range from Hamas coordinating with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza on the evacuation of the wounded, to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and UNICEF agreeing to an action plan to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers, and the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army-Minni Minawi faction (SLM/A-MM) participation in a humanitarian-facilitated prisoner exchange.
Regulation of humanitarian access:
All of the ANSAs consulted feel entitled to regulate and control humanitarian access. Many have some form of policy governing access and have created structures to coordinate, facilitate, and monitor humanitarian action.
Access is, without exception, tied to specific conditions. Some of these conditions are consistent with IHL as many ANSAs emphasize the importance of humanitarians behaving in accordance with the principles of neutrality, impartiality, and independence. Many also consider themselves responsible for the security of aid workers in their areas. However, it is important to note that the degree to which ANSAs’ “rules” are applied in practice is not examined in this study, and there are documented instances of the arbitrary denial of humanitarian access, aid diversion, and attacks on aid workers by some of the ANSAs consulted.
Expulsion of and attacks on aid workers:
Failure to secure consent for aid activities or follow “the rules” imposed by the ANSAs interviewed are seen as the most likely factors to lead to the expulsion or harm of aid workers and their property. Some ANSAs consulted admitted to having expelled specific aid agencies that they believed were spying. Few, if any, ban specific types of humanitarian actors in general terms. The exception is Sudan, where ANSAs perceive the country’s own humanitarian organizations, particularly those associated with the government, to be neither neutral, impartial, nor independent. Many ANSAs elsewhere are circumspect about denial of access and reluctant to elaborate on examples where aid workers have been either deliberately or mistakenly attacked.
Perceived responsibilities towards civilians:
The ANSAs consulted often differ on what they see as their responsibilities toward civilians. This is influenced by their degree of territorial control and objectives, the broader context (i.e. what assistance the government, other ANSAs, and aid agencies already provide), the conflict dynamics, and other factors. Many ANSAs feel responsible for the physical protection of civilians and express concern for their wellbeing. Some have established their own relief departments and report a broad list of services which they provide to civilians, including food distribution and medical care. Others, however, mention simply first aid or small, localized relief activities. Though only a few examples exist in practice, many ANSAs claim that they would be open to entering into humanitarian agreements with their enemy.
In Their Words
This study’s central conclusion is that more principled and consistent engagement with ANSAs on IHL is urgently needed. The fact that the ANSAs consulted understand the spirit of the core humanitarian principles and support humanitarian action is positive. However, several important issues demand action from the humanitarian community. First, there is still confusion about the rules of IHL concerning humanitarian access. ANSAs cannot comply with rules that they neither know about nor understand. Second, several ANSAs feel that humanitarians have not engaged with them proactively or impartially. Non-engagement or fragmented, ad hoc engagement ultimately hinders compliance with IHL and contributes to access constraints. Third, ANSAs’ acceptance of humanitarian principles leads to high expectations that humanitarians will also adhere to those principles. It is critical that humanitarians be well versed in the principles and act accordingly. Perceptions that humanitarians are not sticking to their principles have dangerous consequences, ranging from denial of access to attacks on aid workers.
Finally, the WHS’s exclusion of ANSAs is not unique. It is symptomatic of a more widespread failure among the humanitarian community to engage with ANSAs in international normative and policy processes. This is ultimately counterproductive to the goal of securing safe humanitarian access in conflicts worldwide. ANSAs’ compliance with IHL is likely to improve if they are more actively consulted about the creation and implementation of the rules they are expected to abide by, as well as during broader discussions around access and humanitarian action.
States are likely to resist such participation, but identifying creative ways to stimulate dialogue with ANSAs and enhance their buy-in to these processes deserves greater attention than it has been given to date.
Geneva, 19 May 2016: Fears are growing that a deadly yellow fever outbreak in Angola – which has already spread to Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya and China - will continue to spread internationally without immediate action to prevent it, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned today.
The disease is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is also responsible for spreading the Zika virus, dengue and chikungunya.
Dr Julie Lyn Hall, the IFRC’s Director of Health, said that limited vaccine supplies, inadequate disease surveillance systems, poor sanitation and everyday cross-border economic and social interaction could turn a national outbreak into a global crisis, if no immediate community-based action is taken.
“Unvaccinated travellers could transform this outbreak into a regional or international crisis if we don’t move quickly to protect vulnerable populations and help communities to reduce their risk of infection,” she said.
Yellow fever has killed 293 people in Angola since the beginning of the outbreak in December 2015, and a further 2,267 people are believed to have been infected. The IFRC released 50,672 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 24 February to support Angolan Red Cross work to support the vaccination of 90,000 people, and conducting community mobilization activities with 60,000 others. A further DREF allocation in support of the Red Cross of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be issued today.
The Angolan outbreak has resulted in cases being imported to Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya, and has been confirmed as the source of 11 infections in the People’s Republic of China. A separate yellow fever outbreak has been confirmed in Uganda, with more than 50 suspected cases in three districts.
There are growing concerns that the outbreak could easily spread to neighbouring countries such as Namibia and Zambia, where the population is not vaccinated against the disease.
Volunteers and staff of the National Red Cross Societies in Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda are hard at work in communities across the affected areas, identifying and eliminating mosquito breeding grounds, and helping people to reduce their risks of infection.
“Vaccination campaigns are the first lines of response, but we need to prioritise community engagement as a vital tool to prevent the spread of yellow fever,” said Dr Hall. “The continued rapid spread of the disease in the Angolan capital Luanda – where some 7 million people have already been vaccinated – underlines the importance of community engagement, surveillance and improving environmental sanitation.”
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 million people each year through its 190 member National Societies. Together, the IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit www.ifrc.org. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.
For further information, please contact:
Benoit Carpentier, IFRC team leader, public communications Mobile: +41 79 213 2413 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @BenoistC
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In South Africa:
Katherine Mueller, IFRC communications manager, Africa Mobile: +254 731 688 613 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @IFRCAfrica
This blog post was written by Jason Stearns and Yolande Bouka, the Co-Directors of Studies for the Rift Valley Institute’s Great Lakes Field Course, which will be taking place in Entebbe, Uganda from 11–17 June 2016. Jason and Yolande will be joined by a team of regional and international specialists to explore the contemporary complexities of the region as well as the gamut of social, economic, political and security trends, drawing on deep history and local knowledge to inform debate and discussion. The courses are designed for policy-makers, diplomats, investors, development workers, researchers, activists and journalists—for new arrivals to the region and those already working there who wish to deepen their understanding. For more information on the Great Lakes Course and RVI's two other Field Courses—Sudan & South Sudan and the Horn of Africa—and to apply, please visit RVI Field Courses.
Electoral season has hit the Great Lakes region and has brought with it an increase in contentious politics, open conflict and uncertainty. Last year, a violent crisis gripped Burundi after the ruling party announced that President Pierre Nkurunziza would run for a third term, despite arguments by the opposition that the bid was in violation of both the constitution and the Arusha Peace Agreement. The Ugandan electoral process earlier this year was also not without controversy as social media were blocked and prominent opposition figures were put under house arrest for the duration of the polls. Meanwhile, while President Paul Kagame has paved the way to remain in power by successfully changing the constitution late last year, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), there are increasing concerns and discontent about President Joseph Kabila staying on after the end of his constitutional mandate, which is supposed to end on December 19, 2016.
We could witness the first democratic handover of executive power in the DRC’s history or an erosion of the democratic institutions set up during the peace process and a return to widespread instability. The election commission says it will take until mid-2017 just to revise the voting register, and the government still wants to hold local elections before national elections. The government is also attempting to engage opposition parties in a national dialogue, under the facilitation of the African Union, which many assume could be an attempt to co-opt part of the opposition into a transitional government. These attempts are likely to provoke unrest and resistance––a large part of the Congolese political elite, from political parties to the Catholic Church and NGOs, oppose an extension of Kabila’s mandate, as do most foreign donors. Who will come out on top in this tug-of-war?
In the meantime, conflict dynamics in the eastern DRC are also in a state of flux and fragmentation. Since the end of the M23 rebellion in 2013, there is no longer an overarching organizing principle to conflict dynamics. There are around 70 armed groups active in North and South Kivu alone, with varying sources of support, and most of which have fewer than 300 soldiers under their command. While there are still several large foreign armed groups active in this region—the Ugandan Alliance for Democratic Forces (ADF) and the Forces démocratiques pour la liberation du Rwanda (FDLR, Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) are the most important ones—the regional aspects of the Congolese conflict have declined dramatically in the past five years. International peacebuilding and humanitarian actors have struggled to devise an approach to grapple with these dynamics. The biggest challenge, in addition to the sheer number of armed actors, has been the weakness and lack of engagement by the Congolese state in the reform process. The demobilization process is moribund, security sector reform has stalled and the government has done little to rein in the involvement of its own officers and politicians in armed groups.
The ongoing crisis in Burundi has escalated to violent repressions by the government and attacks from rebels based in the neighboring DRC. As such, Burundi is facing the most serious crisis since the end of the transition in 2005, as over 250,000 Burundians have fled to neighboring countries and almost 500 have been killed, including prominent political and military figures. While there have been international concerns that ethnicization of the crisis could lead to genocide, there remain important intra-ethnic divisions within the CNDD-FDD and the army that warrant further considerations.
On the surface, Rwanda projects optimism and stability. Economic growth continues apace, foreign criticism of the government has abated since the demise of the M23 rebellion in the DRC and the ruling RPF appears to have total dominance over the political scene. Beneath this veneer, however, lie complex political dynamics. The RPF has been unable to prepare a leader to succeed President Kagame and as such has changed the constitution to ensure that he remains in power. Few of the top military officers who seized power in 1994 have escaped arrest, exile or assassination, although the opposition—which exists almost entirely in exile—has not been able to capitalize on this. Moreover, Rwanda finds itself once again under the scrutiny of the international community for its alleged support of armed groups in Burundi.
When taking power in 1986, Museveni lamented the reluctance of African strongmen to relinquish power, but over the past decade he has demonstrated the same unwillingness to foster democratic transition and peaceful transfer of power. Now a strongman himself, his approach to the recent elections has revealed his discomfort with the increased discontent with his leadership, as long-time National Resistance Movement insiders such as former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi have joined long-standing opposition members to challenge Museveni. Repeated arrests of political opponents and the closing of the political space suggest that the regime feels it needs to counter its loss of popularity with more repressive measures. Interestingly enough, through the recent political turmoil, Western donors have been unwilling to withdraw their support for Museveni.
Camp closures ignore the innocent homeless
By Habibou Bangré
People already made homeless by the conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo are once more at risk, threatened by the closure of camps in North Kivu Province by politicians and the military who regard them as sanctuaries for rebel fighters.
Read the full article on IRIN
Angola As of 15 May 2016 the Angola Ministry of Health has reported 2 420 suspected cases with 298 deaths and 736 laboratory confirmed cases in 14 of the 18 provinces.
Democratic Republic of Congo
As of 11 May, DRC has reported 551 suspected cases with 55 deaths and 43 confirmed cases 41 imported from Angola and two autochthonous.
On 28 April the Ministry of Health of Namibia reported one suspected case of yellow fever, imported from Angola. This case was reported to be negative on 6 May.
As of 11 May, Kenya as reported two confirmed cases imported from Angola.
As of 11 May, China as reported 11 confirmed cases imported from Angola.
European Medical Corps Mission in Angola
- Deployment: 10-20 May
- Experts from the European Commission, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and from Germany, Portugal, Belgium.
- Aim: develop a better understanding of the outbreak, examine what further expert support is needed by the country, and assess the implications for Europe and for Europeans travelling in the region.
- Close cooperation with the Ministry of Health, WHO and other international organisations.
- Field visits in the Luanda, Huila and Huambo provinces.
Today, 75 million children and adolescents aged 3-18 have had their education directly affected by emergencies and protracted crises. Of those identified as refugees or internally displaced persons by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), only 50 percent are enrolled in primary school, 25 percent in lower secondary school, and very few have access to pre-primary or tertiary education. The severity of this education gap has garnered a new groundswell of support for investing in education in conflict and crisis settings. The magnitude of the need also calls for an opportunity to re-think the way that educational programs are developed and funded.
Given that the average length of displacement for a refugee is 17 years, it is impractical to consider emergency assistance and long-term development as separate endeavors. Rather, the longevity of these problems require us to creatively approach new partnerships and new models of funding. Likewise, protracted conflicts are changing the long-term options for those who are displaced. They must be given the opportunity to forge a future for themselves and their families.
This paper details the work of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), a Catholic, nongovernmental organization working with refugees and other forcibly displaced persons in over 40 countries. In the past 35 years, JRS has placed an emphasis on ensuring that the most vulnerable have access to an education, regardless of their circumstances. Working both in newer emergencies, like Syria, and in protracted displacement settings including Chad, Ethiopia and Kenya, JRS is poised to offer substantive, thoughtful insight on providing effective, quality education programs for the forcibly displaced.
JRS aims to employ the following critical strategies to increase access to a quality education for the forcibly displaced:
•Parental Involvement to Ensure Access and Retention
•A Holistic Approach that Meets All Student Needs
•Complementary Programs for Parents and Families
•Investment in Teacher Training and Tertiary Education
•Emphasis on Language Skills and Remedial Education
•Youth Programming Focused on Life Skills & Leadership Training
Access to schools and quality education is an urgent priority for all refugee children and youth. It is a basic human right and is fundamental to a better future for their communities. For these reasons, JRS advocates for the basic right to emergency and long-term educational opportunities and urges better access to formal, informal and skill-building and vocational training programs for refugee children, youth and adults. To improve the quality of, and access to, education in emergencies and protracted crises, JRS recommends the following:
•Prioritization of access to education in all stages of humanitarian response and through development initiatives.
•Adequate and sustainable funding for the education of all refugees and other forcibly displaced persons, both in emergency and protracted crisis settings.
•Better coordination of education programs between host countries and humanitarian agencies and alignment of programs with country plans and systems.
•Effective transition from humanitarian response programming to long-term education development, through coordinated planning between humanitarian and development actors.
•Improved quality of education for the displaced, with a focus on special needs and equal access across genders and the prioritization of language training, long-term livelihoods development, and the use of technology.
•Integration of refugees into host communities, as appropriate, including integration of children into local school systems, access to employment opportunities and equitable compensation for the displaced.
•Assurance that schools remain safe and secure places free from armed groups, forcible military conscription, sexual violence, and discrimination.
•Academic instituitions accept international certificates, diplomas and degrees and explore the possibility of mainstreaming the accreditation process across countries and school systems.
•A diverse group of partners mobilize support for education in emergencies and protracted crises and support new efforts – including Education Cannot Wait: A Fund for Education in Emergencies – to address this critical issue.
Past investments in educational progress are in jeopardy as we face a record number of long-standing conflicts and resulting global displacement.
Donors, governments and the humanitarian and development communities must take action and seize an historic opportunity to grow, and leverage, the political will to address the lack of access to education for the forcibly displaced.
Central African Republic: Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre: Aperçu humanitaire hebdomadaire (10 - 16 mai 2016)
BAISSE DES CAS DE MENINGITE
Après que le seuil de la méningite a été dépassé en mars dans les villes de Kabo et Batangafo, moins de cas sont maintenant signalés dans la province nord-ouest de l’Ouham. L'OMS et les acteurs sanitaires luttent contre l'épidémie en surveillant la région qui est sujette de façon saisonnière à l’épidémie de méningite et en renforçant la mobilisation sociale. Une campagne nationale de lutte contre la maladie est prévue en octobre dans le cadre de mesures préventives dans les pays de la ceinture de la méningite en Afrique.
PRES DE 300 ABRIS DETRUITS SUR LE SITE DE RAPATRIES DE GAOUI
Après que la pluie et le vent ont balayé la ville de N'Djamena et ses alentours le 11 mai, le site de déplacés de Gaoui, au nord-est de la capitale et où vivent 5 200 retournés tchadiens de la RCA, a été sévèrement touché. Trois personnes ont été blessées et près de 300 abris - près de la moitié du site - ont été entièrement détruits. Jusqu'à ce qu'une solution durable soit trouvée, une aide d'urgence est nécessaire pour renouveler les abris avant que la saison des pluies ne s’installe.
PLUS DE 700 PERSONNES DEPLACEES RENTRENT DU GHANA SUITE A DES VIOLENCES
Selon le HCR, 738 personnes déplacées au Ghana sont retournées en Côte d'Ivoire, tandis que 2 614 personnes déplacées actuellement à Bouna sont hébergées dans sept sites différents. Au Burkina Faso, 2 004 retournés sont toujours situés à Kpuéré et Batié où les tensions avec la population locale restent élevées. Après des affrontements dans la ville du nord-est de Bouna, Côte d'Ivoire, entre les communautés Lobi et Peuls fin mars, les partenaires en Côte d'Ivoire, au Ghana et au Burkina Faso ont apporté une assistance aux personnes touchées par la violence.
TROIS TRAVAILLEURS HUMANITAIRES DU CICR LIBERES
Trois travailleurs humanitaires du CICR qui avaient été enlevés le 3 mai dans la province du Nord-Kivu ont été libérés le 13 mai. Les trois membres du personnel faisaient partie d'un convoi qui se rendait en direction de la ville de Kyaghala où ils allaient distribuer des vivres et des articles ménagers essentiels à environ 8 000 personnes touchées par le conflit.
LE CSNU EXIGE QUE BOKO HARAM METTE FIN A TOUTE VIOLENCE DANS LE BASSIN DU LAC TCHAD
A la veille du Sommet sur la sécurité régionale tenu à Abuja du 12 au 14 mai, le Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies le 11 mai a exigé que Boko Haram "cesse immédiatement et sans équivoque toute violence et toutes les violations des droits de l'homme et du droit international humanitaire". Via une déclaration présidentielle le Conseil a également exigé la libération immédiate et inconditionnelle de toutes les personnes enlevées qui restent en captivité, y compris 219 écolières enlevées à Chibok en avril 2014.
Central African Republic: West and Central Africa: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (10 - 16 May 2016)
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
DECREASE IN MENINGITIS CASES
After the meningitis threshold was exceeded in March in the towns of Kabo and Batangafo, fewer cases are now being reported in the north-western Ouham province. WHO and health actors are curbing the outbreak by monitoring the seasonal meningitis-prone region and by strengthening social mobilization. A national campaign against the disease is planned in October as part of the preventive measure in the meningitis belt in Africa.
NEARLY 300 SHELTERS DESTROYED IN GAOUI RETURNEE SITE
Following the rain and wind that swept over and around N'Djamena on 11 May, the Gaoui IDP site, north-east from the capital, where 5,200 Chadian returnees from CAR live, was severely affected. Three people were injured and nearly 300 shelters – almost half of the site – were entirely destroyed. Until a durable solution is found, urgent assistance is required to renew the shelters before the rainy season sets in.
RETURNS FROM GHANA OF OVER 700 DISPLACED PERSONS
According to the UNHCR, 738 displaced persons in Ghana have returned to Côte d’Ivoire. In Burkina Faso, while 2,004 returnees are still located in Kpuéré and Batié where tension with the local population remains high. 2,614 people remain internally displaced, hosted in seven different IDP sites. Clashes in the north-eastern town of Bouna, Côte d’Ivoire, between the Lobi and Fulani communities had triggered the displacements at the end of March. Partners in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Burkina Faso continue to assist the affected people.
THREE ICRC AID WORKERS RELEASED
Three aid workers of the ICRC who were abducted on 3 May in the North Kivu Province were released on 13 May. The three staff members were part of a convoy heading to the town of Kyaghala where they were going to distribute food and essential household items to around 8,000 people affected by the conflict.
UNSC DEMANDS BOKO HARAM ‘IMMEDIATELY’ END ALL VIOLENCE IN LAKE CHAD BASIN
At the eve of the Abuja Regional Security Summit held between 12 and 14 May, the United Nations Security Council on 11 May demanded that Boko Haram “immediately and unequivocally cease all violence and all abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law”. Through a Presidential Statement the Council also demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all those abducted who remain in captivity, including 219 schoolgirls abducted in Chibok in April 2014.
Depuis 2013, la République centrafricaine fait face à une crise humanitaire majeure. Plus de 2,3 millions de personnes ont besoin d'aide. Environ 418.638 personnes sont toujours déplacées dont 52.633 à Bangui. Cette crise a contraint environ 467.468 personnes à se réfugier au Cameroun, au Tchad, en République démocratique du Congo et en République du Congo.
Democratic Republic of the Congo: Abducted children and youth in Lord’s Resistance Army in Northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): mechanisms of indoctrination and control
Jocelyn TD KellyEmail author, Lindsay Branham and Michele R. Decker
Conflict and Health 201610:11 DOI: 10.1186/s13031-016-0078-5© Kelly et al. 2016
Globally, an estimated 300,000 children under the age of 18 participate in combat situations; those in armed groups in particular suffer prolonged exposure to psychological and physical abuse. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is a rebel movement known for its widespread conscription of children; yet little is known about this process once the group moved beyond northern Uganda. In this paper, we describe the processes related to abduction and indoctrination of youth by the LRA in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo ( DRC).
In-depth interviews were conducted with formerly abducted children, their family members, community leaders, and service providers (total n = 34) in four communities in LRA-affected areas of northeastern DRC. Inductive coding of transcripts was undertaken to identify salient themes.
Informants articulated a range of practices by the LRA to exert high levels of control over new recruits, including strict social isolation from recent abductees; control of communication; promoting new identity formation; and compelling children to act out strictly defined gendered roles. Witchcraft and secrecy are used to intimidate recruits and to magnify perception of the group’s power. These methods promote de-identification with one’s civilian and family life; and eventually the assimilation of a new language and identity.
Indoctrination of newly abducted children into the LRA occurs via a complex system of control. This study provides one of the first detailed explorations of social and psychological mechanisms through which this is achieved, and focuses particularly on the gendered differences in the indoctrination process. Results support past findings that the LRA is a strategic and well-organized organization in its approach to enlisting child soldiers. Understanding some of the ways in which the LRA controls its recruits and the psychological impact of indoctrination enables reintegration programs to more effectively address these issues and serve the complex needs of formerly abducted children.