DRC - ReliefWeb News

Syndicate content
ReliefWeb - Updates
Updated: 16 min 40 sec ago

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Tueries de Beni : 34 hommes armés arrêtés à Mbau

25 November 2014 - 5:33pm
Source: Radio Okapi Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Les Forces armées de la RDC (FARDC) ont arrêté, lundi 24 novembre, environ 34 hommes armés et 10 civils, au cours des opérations de ratissage entamées lancées pour dénicher les auteurs des massacres perpétrés dans le territoire de Beni (Nord-Kivu). L’armée a récupéré 24 armes de guerre dans cette contrée en proie aux rebelles ougandais des ADF.

Près de 200 civils ont été tués entre octobre et novembre derniers notamment dans les localités de Mbau, Kamango, Kasindi et tout le long du Semliki, dans le territoire de Beni, selon des sources gouvernementales.

Lire aussi: Nord-Kivu: nouveau massacre de plus 100 personnes à Beni

L’opération militaire de ratissage vise à identifier les présumés auteurs de ces massacres des populations civiles afin de les déférer devant la justice. Les FARDC opèrent de fouilles dans les localités où des témoins ont signalé la présence ou le passage des présumés rebelles ougandais des ADF.

Pour sa part, la Monusco dit mettre tout en œuvre pour mettre fin à ces massacres. Le porte-parole militaire de la mission onusienne, colonel Félix Bass a indiqué que les casques bleus sont sur terrain pour la récolte des informations afin de les mettre à la disposition des FARDC pour une meilleure coordination des opérations.

La Monusco apporte également l’appui logistique à ces opérations menées par les FARDC à Beni. Le ministre congolais des Médias a déclaré lundi que le gouvernement était déterminé à anéantir «par tous les moyens les égorgeurs des femmes et d’enfants dans le territoire de Beni ». «A situation exceptionnelle, mesure exceptionnelle », a affirmé le porte-parole du gouvernement qui a invité ses concitoyens du grand Nord « à faire échec à toute idée d’initiative de justice populaire».

Central African Republic: UNHCR Regional Update #40 - Central African Republic Situation, 8-21 November 2014

25 November 2014 - 10:46am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Central African Republic (CAR): On 20 November, UNHCR was invited by the Representative of President Denis Sassou N'Guesso of the Republic of Congo (RoC), and current mediator to the crisis, to participate in a meeting held in Bangui to discuss the upcoming elections in the country and the feasibility of ensuring the participation of Central African refugees. The meeting was also attended by the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) and UN Resident Coordinator of CAR, Mr. Aurélien Agbenonci, the ambassadors of France, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), RoC and China, and representatives of the European Union and USAID. UNHCR welcomed the Central African authorities’ willingness to hold inclusive elections and reiterated its readiness to assist in discussions between authorities in CAR and countries of asylum.

  • Cameroon: On 5 November, a suspected case of cholera was reported on the site Timangolo. The patient reportedly came from Gado via Gbiti three days before symptoms appeared. UNHCR coordinated an immediate multi-sectoral response with WHO, UNICEF, NGO partners and local authorities, including the mobilization of a WASH task force to carry out communication and raising awareness, ensuring potable water treatment and disinfection.

World: Global Emergency Overview Snapshot 19–25 November

25 November 2014 - 10:29am
Source: Assessment Capacities Project Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen

Pakistan: Drought conditions in Sindh have affected nearly 1.7 million people; nearly 500 have died in Tharparkar, including 296 children. In FATA, the number of people displaced by the military’s operation Khyber One in the Tirah Valley has grown to 440,000 people, adding to 993,000 displaced by operations in North Waziristan.

Liberia: Two million children are thought to be affected by the consequences of the Ebola epidemic. High levels of unemployment are affecting income: 70% of households in a recent survey said they do not have enough money to afford food.

South Sudan: About 10,000 people, mostly women and children, have fled fighting in Southern Kordofan and are in need of humanitarian assistance in Nhialdu, Unity state. A new estimate has put the death toll from the conflict in South Sudan at 50,000 since December 2013.

Updated: 25/11/2014. Next update: 02/12/2014

Global Emergency Overview Web Interface c

Burundi: UNHCR/WFP Mission d'évaluation conjointe, April 2014

25 November 2014 - 8:29am
Source: World Food Programme, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania

La mission conjointe PAM/UNHCR conduite du 3 au 8 avril 2014 dans les 4 camps de réfugiés du Burundi, a mis en exergue le très haut degré de dépendance des réfugiés à l’assistance alimentaire, utilisée comme sources principales de consommation alimentaire et de revenu, par une vaste majorité. Cette situation semble identique à celle décrite par la précédente enquête JAM, conduite en 2010.

Uganda: Uganda - Joint Assessment Mission, October 2014

25 November 2014 - 8:23am
Source: Government of Uganda, World Food Programme, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda

Executive Summary

As of 30 June 2014, Uganda currently hosts 392,088 refugees and asylum seekers. The majority of refugees and asylum seekers’ country of origin are the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (46.2% - 181,240) and the Republic of South Sudan (36.4% - 142,769). Uganda has been experiencing major simultaneous emergencies from DRC since 2011 and South Sudan since February 2012. The restoration of security in North Kivu and Province Orientale of DRC has resulted in limited spontaneous repatriation of the Congolese refugees. However, the situation in South Sudan remains fragile and the potential for future influx due to resumed conflict and food insecurity in parts of South Sudan.

The Joint Assessment Mission (JAM) was conducted by the Office of the Prime Minister’s Refugees Department (OPM), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and World Food Programme (WFP) from 4-14 June 2014. The 2014 JAM aims to enhance knowledge and insight into food security, nutrition, and access to basic needs and essential services in the refugee settlements. The JAM field missions visited 8 refugee settlements of Rhino Camp, Lobule (Koboko), Adjumani, Kiryandongo, Kyangwali, Oruchinga, Nakivale, Rwamwanja and Kyaka II including refugee hosting area of the above settlements. The JAM utilized a mix of quantitative (e.g. Food Security and Nutrition Assessments) and qualitative (e.g. focus group discussions) methods.

Recommendations from the JAM will be used to draft the Joint Plan of Action with OPM, WFP and UNHCR working together on the plan.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Renforcer la réponse de la communauté humanitaire à l’épidémie de choléra

25 November 2014 - 6:46am
Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Bukavu [ACTED News] – Les provinces de l’est de la RDC (Katanga, Sud et Nord Kivu) connaissent depuis deux mois une recrudescence des cas de choléra. Depuis le début de l’année, plus de 18 740 cas ont été recensés, dont plus de 260 mortels.

Pour permettre à la communauté humanitaire de mieux lutter contre l’épidémie, un fond cartographique recensant les points d’eau de ces provinces a été développé afin d’effectuer un suivi de l’évolution de l’épidémie, avec le soutien du département d’Aide humanitaire de la Commission européenne. De plus, un formateur d’ACTED a contribué à renforcer les capacités de réponse au choléra de 25 ONG et autorités locales lors d’une formation organisée par l’UNICEF au mois de novembre 2014.

Uganda: SPRINT Initiative to deliver life-saving SRH aid to refugees in Uganda

25 November 2014 - 3:00am
Source: International Planned Parenthood Federation Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Uganda

24 November – Uganda: Over 40,000 refugees from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo who have fled conflict in their countries to neighbouring Uganda, are in dire need of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. SPRINT will provide with USD 39,220 for life-saving SRH aid to refugees in Uganda.

“In times of crisis, critical SRH services are not prioritized or recognized by key humanitarian responders. SPRINT delivers the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) - a set of priority life-saving interventions to be implemented at the onset of every humanitarian crisis along with other critical priorities,” said Lucien Kouakou, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) Africa Regional Director.

The refugees who are currently in eight settlement camps in Northern and Western Uganda are predominantly women of reproductive age as well as a very high population of adolescents. These settlements include Adjumani, Kiryandongo and Arua in Northern Uganda that host South Sudanese refugees while Kyaka, Rwamwanja, Kyangwali, Nakivale and Orukinga settlements in Western Uganda mainly Congolese refugees.

Women and adolescents need behaviour change and sensitization towards family planning, antenatal care and safe delivery under skilled services. To meet their critical sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs, the SPRINT Initiative will deliver life-saving SRH services through IPPF Member Association - Reproductive Health of Uganda (RHU).

“Access to comprehensive SRH services especially family planning is very limited in these refugee settlements,” said RHU Executive Director, Jackson Chekweko. “Human resources to support the delivery of reproductive health services and commodities are also inadequate.”

The SPRINT Initiative is a Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) programme in crisis and post crisis settings which aims to improve access to essential SRH services for women, men and children. SPRINT programme is an Australian Government funded initiative and managed by IPPF.

Chekweko added that RHU kicked off the SPRINT’s response in October 2014, providing comprehensive integrated SRH and HIV services through outreach and these services will target an estimated 20,000 women of reproductive age, 500 pregnant women, 600 lactating women, 10,000 men, 1,000 adolescent boys and 1,500 adolescent girls.

“We will provide antenatal, safe delivery, post natal care to the pregnant and lactating women, care for the new-borns, and will cater for all the family planning needs of women and men of reproductive age,” explained Denis Bakomeza , the RHU Coordinator for SRH/HIV and SPRINT.

RHU will also ensure that all pregnant women are provided with Elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (eMTCT) services so that no child is born with HIV in the settlements. Bakomeza explained that RHU will manage sexually transmitted infections, offer HIV counselling and testing and all other SRH services.

SPRINT will also provide medical services and psychosocial support to the survivors of sexual and gender based violence as well as basic healthcare for common ailments and build awareness about its services within the settlements. According to Bakomeza, RHU will collaborate with all key stakeholders and partners in each refugee settlement to have these services well delivered and sustained.

In 2013, the SPRINT delivered SRH and HIV outreach services to Congolese refugees in Nyakabande Transit Centre and Rwamwanja refugee settlement in South West Uganda.

“SPRINT represents IPPF’s commitment to increasing access to SRH services for crisis-affected populations, who are the most vulnerable and marginalized people in the world,” said Mr Kouakou.

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Sabarina Ibrahim, SPRINT Communications Officer. T: +60 3 4256 6122. E: sabarina@ippfeseaor.org

Democratic Republic of the Congo: RDC: des déplacés de guerre brossent le portrait-robot de leurs agresseurs

25 November 2014 - 2:47am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Kipeto, RD Congo | AFP | mardi 25/11/2014 - 07:35 GMT |

par Habibou BANGRÉ

De la farine sur le visage, des gris-gris attachés au corps, des flèches et des armes à feux, le goût du sang et du feu: les déplacés qui ont fui les miliciens Bakata-Katanga, dans le sud-est de la République démocratique du Congo, dressent un portrait sombre de leurs agresseurs.

"On les voyait arriver avec des flèches et des armes", raconte Kalongo Musonda, 46 ans, dans le camp de Kipeto, dans la province du Katanga. "Ils venaient en chantant", mime-t-il en tapant sur sa bouche par intermittence, laissant échappant un son aigu.

"Ils avaient des culottes déchirées et avaient poudré leur visage avec de la farine. Ils avaient des cordes sur le bras où étaient attachées des fétiches", renchérit Ghislaine Kibombe, une déplacée de 37 ans qui enseigne dans l'école du camp de Kipeto (à cinquante kilomètres au nord-ouest de Pweto), où étudient 150 enfants, dont 62 déplacés.

Les gris-gris, Kasongo Tshombe n'y croit guère. "Ils portent des gris-gris pour faire semblant: quand la mort a sonné, les médicaments ne sont pas une parade", explique ce relais communautaire de 49 ans travaillant dans le camp de Mwashi, à une trentaine de kilomètres au nord-ouest de Pweto.

Les maï-maï Bakata Katanga demandent l'indépendance du Katanga tout en réclamant une meilleure répartition des richesses entre le nord, déshérité, de la province et le sud, poumon économique du pays avec ses grandes mines de cuivre.

Depuis 2012, ces rebelles sèment la désolation dans le "Triangle de la mort", vaste territoire dont Pweto est l'un des sommets et où, selon l'ONU, ils multiplient meurtres, viols, pillages et incendies d'habitations ou de villages entiers.

Ghislaine ne comprend pas comment "un groupe de civils pas lourdement armés" aient pu les "dépouiller de tout" ce qu'ils avaient, et que l'armée - qui n'avait pas de position proche à l'époque - soit venue "en retard, après qu'ils avaient tout détruit".

"Nous avons vu des scènes atroces: j'ai vu mon beau-frère abattu et on l'a décapité, comme ça!", raconte M. Tshombe, encore très choqué.

'On va vous brûler!'

Sur la route de Kakolona, à une quinzaine de kilomètres au nord-est de Pweto, on croise quelques villages avec des ruines de maisons en briques incendiées par les rebelles. A Kakolona même, à côté de restes de maisons, des déplacés rentrés d'exil se sont réinstallés.

"Entre janvier et octobre, 75 villages et 4.690 maisons ont été incendiés dans le territoire de Pweto. (...) Il y a un groupe qui ne fait que les vols et les extorsions, les autres ne font que les incendies", déclare Jean-Pierre Ruti Mutembera, un des responsables de l'ONG International Emergency and Development Aid à Pweto.

"Ils arrivent brusquement. Ils vous disent: +Vous ne voulez pas adhérer à notre mouvement? On va vous brûler!+. Les Bakata ont brûlé les maisons et frappé les hommes, et les enfants aussi. Ils ont brûlé le dispensaire, le poste de santé, les écoles", raconte Marie-Louise Ngoy, maîtresse de l'école du camp de Mwashi.

Qui sont ces miliciens? "Ce sont nos frères, nos oncles, nos cousins qui n'ont pas été à l'école et qui sont partis s'enrôler", estime M. Tshombe, qui a créé une association pour prévenir une telle dérive, alors que de nombreux déplacés ne peuvent payer les deux dollars mensuels de frais de scolarité par enfant.

A Kakolona, les militaires ont une petite position. Si la situation reste calme, explique le lieutenant, il est possible que la hiérarchie leur demande de partir.

Cette perspective inquiète les déplacés. "S'ils demandent aux soldats de partir, dit Kadjiba Katombo, les maï-maï sauront qu'il n'y a plus de militaires et ça retombera sur nos têtes..."

hab/mj/de

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Fearless Voices: speaking up for peace, equality and justice in the DRC

25 November 2014 - 1:28am
Source: Caritas Australia Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Caritas Australia calls for end to rape and sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

On this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Caritas Australia is releasing a new report on sexual violence and conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and calling for an end to impunity in this war on women.

The report Fearless Voices: speaking up for peace, equality and justice in the DRC documents the state of law, war and justice in the DRC highlighting the scourge of rape and sexual violence in a country known as the most dangerous place to be a women.

Through the first-hand accounts of women and girl survivors in the war-torn North Kivu Province, Fearless Voices calls for an end to systemic rape and violence perpetrated against women within a culture of silence, impunity and corruption.

The report comes just over a decade since the end of the Second Congo War and six years since thousands of Catholics joined Caritas Australia to break the silence on desecration and plunder in the DRC following the launch of the 2008 Forsaken Voices report.

Caritas Australia’s Program Coordinator for the DRC, says the new report highlights important progress towards peace, equality and justice in the DRC but captures the urgent need to end impunity for violence against the nation’s strongest agents for change.

“My country has been ravaged by more than a century of exploitation and almost two decades of war. One of the greatest tragedies of this conflict is relentless, calculated and brutal violence against women and girls. In the DRC, it’s more dangerous to be a woman than a solider,” says Ms. Mitshabu.

“A recent study found that 48 women are raped in the DRC every hour. And yet stigma, discrimination and persistent impunity for sexual violence and other grave human rights violations remains the norm.

“When women’s bodies are a battleground and rape is used as a weapon of war, it is time for solidarity and action. Confronted with such injustice, we must be the Good Samaritans, we cannot look away.”

In Fearless Voices, Caritas calls on the Australian Government, the Australian mining industry and the Australian community to sound their voice against the corruption and inequality that pervades Congolese communities and perpetuates conflict, instability and intolerable violence.

“Twenty-five years ago, I fled my home in Zaire (now the DRC) with my babies in my arms and all that I could carry on my back. My country would not tolerate a woman speaking out for truth and justice.

“Today, with your prayers and support, Congolese women and men are sounding their fearless voices for peace, equality and justice in their vibrant communities. For the survivors of rape and sexual violence, fear has no place in their future.

Caritas Australia has been working in the DRC since 2001. In partnership with Caritas Goma, our programs promote peace building and sustainable livelihoods, support men and local leaders to be champions for justice, and provide psychosocial and medical support for thousands of woman and girl survivors of sexual violence. During times of crisis, Caritas Australia provides urgent humanitarian assistance to communities uprooted by war. Learn more about Caritas Australia’s work in the DRC.

Media contact

Nicole Clements
0408 869 833
NicoleC@caritas.org.au

Democratic Republic of the Congo: The quest for clean water comes closer to home

25 November 2014 - 1:07am
Source: Mercy Corps Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Clean water is essential to survival, but getting it is a constant challenge for millions of people around the world. It’s common for women and children to spend hours every day just traveling to find water, keeping kids from school and often putting mothers in dangerous situations.

Before Mercy Corps stepped in to help, this was the case in the the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo city, Goma — home to more than 750,000 residents.

Decades of conflict here have forced people to flee their homes time and time again, and many of those families eventually end up in Goma seeking safety. But the city sits at the base of a volcano, which erupted in 2002 and destroyed most of the local water system — leaving hundreds of thousands of people with little or no access to clean water.

The newest arrivals live at the edges of the city, usually atop old lava flows and miles away from the nearby lake that acts as the main water source. The daily journey is long to get water that isn't even clean and the work it takes to haul it back home is backbreaking. The hours it takes require women to set off in the dark early morning hours, which makes them a prime target for attacks.

In 2008, Mercy Corps set out to change this. Partnering with the local government and hiring local workers, we undertook the largest construction project in our history — rebuilding Goma’s water network to connect hundreds of thousands of residents to this vital resource.

Rehabilitating Goma’s water system took years of construction and innovative thinking from Mercy Corps’ engineers. Because they were working in extremely hard lava rock, jackhammers had to be replaced with hand tools. The new system pumps water from Lake Kivu to several enormous reservoirs that store and treat the water. To get the water to Goma's residents, our team repaired and constructed miles of pipeline in the lava rock and built tap stands throughout the city's neighborhoods.

Now, there are 57 water points — each with four taps — located throughout Goma. For local families, this means the difficult chore of gathering water now takes minutes instead of hours.

Tabu, 48, describes how her life has improved since the Mercy Corps water points opened:

“Before Mercy Corps brought water here, I used to get water from the Lake Kivu. My two sons and I had to wake up at night (between 3:00 and 4:00 AM) and walk three hours there and back. The quantity of water we brought home was not sufficient to cook, clean the house, do laundry and wash.

In my area, we developed a system of borrowing water from neighbors — sometimes I just went to the lake to give back water I borrowed from them. Life was really tough."

"Today, we are in a paradise. We have a lot of water. I just walk less than 10 minutes to reach the water point and get as much water as I want. I can get my shower anytime, wash my clothes. I can smile now as water is there.

I really say thank you to Mercy Corps, its partners and donors for having brought us water. Now, we don’t spend all our time getting water and we can improve our lives.”

Kavira, 22, lives nearby and tells a similar story. It’s only been a week since the water points opened, but the project is already making a difference in her life.

“People in this area used to get up at 3:00 AM. Each family had a day of not sleeping — when it was time to go, a person from that family had to wake neighbors. None of us could go alone because there are so many bandits who wander at night.

I was able to carry only one jerry can. It was impossible to go to the lake twice a day as I was already worn out. With the only one jerry can, each child here could be washed with only a cup of water.

The rest of water was used for drinking and cooking. Sometimes, foods such as sweet potatoes were not washed before cooking them to avoid the loss of any water.

Today, I use easily four jerry cans of water per day. I get water anytime. There is no need to rush to the water point as it is near and water is permanent. We are joyful every day — we are now in a new era, an era in which people are free from water slavery. Thank you to Mercy Corps and people who donated to make us happy.”

By the end of January, the new taps will serve 400,000 people in Goma. For families who once spent half their day in a quest for clean water, a nearby tap means better health and more time for school, play and earning an income to better their own lives. Now, the project is expanding and our team is working to bring potable water to more than 1.5 million people in Goma and nearby cities Bukavu and Bunia.

World: Conflict Trends (no. 32): Real-time analysis of African political violence, November 2014

24 November 2014 - 5:25pm
Source: Armed Conflict Location and Events Dataset Country: Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, World

This month’s issue focuses on rebel violence in central Africa’s DR-Congo, on-going and escalating volatility in Libya, prospects of peace in Mali as talks continue apace in Algeria, and a review of electoral violence in Mozambique. A special focus topic highlights the dynamics, uses and patterns of remote violence such as that involving IEDs and landmines on the continent.
Elsewhere on the continent, conflict levels and intensity continued to decline in Nigeria, while events escalated suddenly in Burkina Faso at the very end of the month, with the surprise departure of one of the continent’s longest-serving presidents amid mounting social and political unrest.
Meanwhile, conflict levels stayed high and stable in Sudan, South Sudan, Mali and Kenya.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: DR Congo: UN special envoy condemns ‘trend of massacres’ in eastern province

24 November 2014 - 4:09pm
Source: UN News Service Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

24 November 2014 – The security situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is “worsening,” a senior United Nations official has warned, citing an escalating trend of massacres in the town of Beni – the site of continuing flare-ups of deadly violence between armed groups, including Ugandan-based rebels operating in the area.

The situation in the town has been steadily deteriorating over the past few weeks amid a spate of attacks in which over 100 civilians, mostly women and children, have been killed, according to UN reports.

Saïd Djinnit, UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, strongly condemned the massacres in a press release today while calling on the local authorities to continue their efforts in arresting and prosecuting those responsible.

“Those behind these massacres should be brought before justice and held accountable,” Mr. Djinnit declared.

In early November, more than 200 people were arrested in operations carried out by the National Police and the police forces of the UN satbilization mission in the country, known as MONUSCO, while UN mission forces also began an intensification of their patrols in the region. Nevertheless, the threat to civilians remains high.

In his statement, Mr. Djinnit urged armed groups active in the restive eastern DRC to “disband permanently” and warned those providing them with support of possible sanctions. In addition, he expressed his full support for MONUSCO’s increased cooperation with the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) to reign in the rebels.

To that point, in his briefing of the Security Council in New York last month, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the DRC and the head of MONUSCO, Martin Kobler, underlined the need for a “proactive, not reactive” response in countering the country’s rebel groups and boosting protection for civilians.

“The worsening situation in the Beni area and beyond requires a decisive action towards neutralizing all negative forces in the DRC, as per the decisions of the regional leaders and the UN Security Council,” Mr. Djinnit continued, adding that the continuing violence risked destabilizing the tenuous peace process established by the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region.

“The persistence of negative forces contributes to perpetuating mistrust at a time when the Great Lakes countries are expected to move away from their differences and tragedies of past towards building a common peaceful and prosperous future.”

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Going for Gold: Engaging the Jewelry Industry in Responsible Gold Sourcing in Africa’s Great Lakes Region

24 November 2014 - 2:03pm
Source: Enough Project Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (“Congo”), gold is a major financial lifeline for armed actors. Fortunately, jewelry retailers and consumers can play important roles to help end the conflict gold trade and the suffering it causes, together with the actions of governments. The Enough Project has engaged with the largest jewelry retailers in an effort to encourage companies to use their power and resources in more robust, effective ways to support responsible sourcing in Congo and the Great Lakes Region. Two companies in particular—Tiffany & Co. and Signet Jewelers—have demonstrated clear leadership in beginning to address the conflict gold issue by taking proactive steps to set up supply chain controls, contribute to solutions on the ground in Congo, and support the communities affected by mining and violence in Congo.

Learn More About the #CongoGold Jewelry Leader Review and Campaign here.

By Holly Dranginis | Nov 24, 2014

For thousands of years, gold has represented love, tradition, wealth, beauty, and decadence. In the United States alone, these associations cause the gold jewelry industry to be worth more than five billion dollars annually. Halfway around the world, however, the extraction and smuggling of gold serves as an important means of funding for armed groups and army commanders in the deadliest conflict since World War II. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (“Congo”), violent armed actors mine, tax, and smuggle minerals and perpetrate widespread atrocities. Major supply chain reforms by electronics companies, coupled with the Dodd-Frank Act’s section on conflict minerals and the beginnings of a minerals certification process in the Great Lakes region of Africa, have led to a marked improvement in the security situation at tin, tantalum, and tungsten (3T) mines in Congo. Over two-thirds of the eastern Congo’s 3T mines are conflict-free today. Gold, however, remains a major financial lifeline for armed actors. 98 percent of artisanally mined gold—estimated at between $383 and $409 million in 2013—is smuggled out of the country annually, and much of that gold benefits armed commanders. Gold sold by armed groups into the global supply chain ends up in various products, including jewelry, which is the main overall end user of gold. Conflict gold thus taints the industry as a whole.

Fortunately, jewelry retailers and consumers can play important roles to help end the conflict gold trade and the suffering it causes, together with the actions of governments. Corporate and consumer behavior can lead to increased demand for responsibly sourced, conflict-free gold and promote investment in positive mining initiatives in the region. As the largest end-user of gold, making up around 45 percent of worldwide gold demand, jewelry companies have the ability to increase demand for conflict-free gold from Congo and the region.

Resolving the conflict gold problem in Congo and the Great Lakes region will require concerted efforts by a number of actors, including governments worldwide, especially the United States, India, China, the United Arab Emirates, and in the region. International and local civil society actors, mining and refining companies, and artisanal mining groups must also play a role. But leadership by the companies that sell jewelry is an indispensable component to changing market demand to favor enterprises that promote peace and prosperity over those that entrench violence and criminality.

The Enough Project has engaged with the largest jewelry retailers in an effort to encourage companies to use their power and resources in more robust, effective ways to support responsible sourcing in Congo and the Great Lakes region of Africa . To highlight leadership opportunities for companies that sell jewelry, Enough surveyed the 14 largest North American jewelry retailers through a detailed questionnaire and direct consultations. Our survey assessed what policies the retailers have adopted and which actions they have taken to counter the use of conflict gold.

Enough found that two companies in particular—Tiffany & Co. and Signet Jewelers—have demonstrated clear leadership in beginning to address the conflict gold issue by taking proactive steps to set up supply chain controls, contribute to solutions on the ground in Congo, and support the communities affected by mining and violence in Congo. Other companies are starting to follow suit. Cartier, JC Penney, and Target have distinguished themselves by taking important initial steps to implement more responsible policies, such as setting up requirements for their suppliers to source only from conflict-free gold refiners.

With the launch of a new campaign, Enough is highlighting jewelry companies that stand apart from their peers for their work to support responsible gold sourcing in Congo for several reasons. Overall, we aim to help change the financial incentives in the region from violent illegal mining and smuggling to legal, peaceful and prosperous gold mining. To that end, Enough encourages companies to conduct robust supply chain due diligence to eliminate their demand for gold linked to armed violence. Enough recognizes that jewelry companies have an important role to play as part of that overall effort to end the conflict gold trade in Congo and the region because we have seen the beneficial impact of the conflict-free consumer and industry movement on the 3T minerals and now wish to extend similar efforts to gold.:

Recommendations:

  • Improve supply chain management and due diligence.

  • Commit to sourcing from only certified conflict-free gold refiners.

  • Join multi-stakeholder conflict-free sourcing groups.

  • Invest in conflict-free gold sourcing initiatives in Congo.

  • Invest in alternative livelihood and community development programs.

Nigeria: Cholera outbreak in the West and Central Africa: Regional Update, 2014 (Week 33) [EN/FR]

24 November 2014 - 10:47am
Source: UN Children's Fund Country: Benin, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Niger, Nigeria, Togo

Formation régionale de lutte contre le choléra (Français) La Plateforme Régionale Choléra avec le soutien de l’UNICEF et de RECA (Regional Wash Cluster Advisor) a organisé une formation régionale de lutte contre le choléra à Dakar du 25 au 27 Août 2014. Dix-huit (18) participants de onze (11) pays réguliè- rement affectés ont suivi une formation théorique et pratique de trois jours sur la stratégie du bouclier et du coup de poing. Pendant les deux jours de simulation, l’accent a été mis sur l’isolation des cas, l’investigation de terrain et l’utilisation des GPS dans un contexte urbain.

Regional Cholera training (English) The Cholera Regional Platform with the support of UNICEF and RECA (Regional Wash Cluster Advisor) project has organized a Regional Training on Cholera in Da- kar from 25th up to 27th of August 2014. Eighteen (18) participants from eleven (11) regularly affected countries has followed a three days theoretical and practical training on the shield and sword strategy. During the two days simulation, the focus was on case isolation, field investigation and use of GPS in urban settng.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Est de la RDC: nouvelle tuerie près de Beni, les rebelles ougandais accusés

24 November 2014 - 7:34am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Kinshasa, RD Congo | AFP | lundi 24/11/2014 - 22:32 GMT

par Marthe BOSUANDOLE

Une centaine de personnes ont été tuées en fin de semaine dans la région de Beni, dans l'est de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC), une nouvelle tuerie imputée par le gouvernement aux rebelles ougandais des Forces démocratiques alliées (ADF).

Près de 200 civils ont été massacrés en moins de deux mois dans cette région explosive, où l'ONU appelle à "neutraliser" les "forces négatives".

"J'ai le chiffre de 95 corps qui ont été enterrés dans une fosse commune", ainsi que "neuf autres qui ont été présentés aux autorités" dans une morgue, a déclaré à l'AFP Juma Balikwisha, député de l'opposition au Parlement national, élu dans cette région montagneuse et frontalière de l'Ouganda.

Les bilans avancés sur cette tuerie commise jeudi varient. Les massacres ont eu lieu dans quatre localités voisines et enclavées situées à une vingtaine de kilomètres de Beni, grande ville du nord du Nord-Kivu à environ 250 km de Goma, capitale de cette province.

"On n'a pas encore un bilan définitif. C'est entre 70 et 100 personnes tuées", a dit Albert Baliesima, député de la majorité, alors qu'une source administrative locale parlait de plus de 80 morts.

Le gouverneur du Nord-Kivu, Julien Paluku, a avancé le chiffre de 58 personnes tuées par les rebelles. Le ministre de l'Intérieur, Richard Muyej, a repris ce chiffre, mais le porte-parole du gouvernement de Kinshasa, Lambert Mende, a affirmé que l'attaque a fait "plus d'une dizaine de morts", selon un bilan encore provisoire.

Les "premières conclusions de l'enquête" mettent en cause les rebelles ougandais des ADF, déjà incriminés pour les massacres précédents, a ajouté M. Mende lors d'une conférence de presse.

"La détermination du gouvernement" à "anéantir par tous les moyens ces égorgeurs de femmes et d'enfants est totale", a-t-il lancé.

Dans un communiqué, l'envoyé spécial des Nations unies pour la région des Grands Lacs, Saïd Djinnit, a estimé que "la dégradation de la situation dans la région de Beni et au-delà (plaidait) pour une action décisive en vue de neutraliser toutes les forces négatives en RDC".

Vendredi, la Société civile du Nord-Kivu avait exhorté l'armée, la police et la Mission de l'ONU en RDC (Monusco) à agir "d'urgence" pour rétablir la sécurité.

La tuerie de jeudi est la dernière d'une série de massacres de civils ayant démarré dans la région de Beni dans la première quinzaine d'octobre.

  • 35.000 nouveaux déplacés -

La dégradation de la situation dans le nord du Nord-Kivu, mais aussi dans les districts voisins de la Province-orientale, où agissent divers autres groupes armés, a fait 35.000 nouveaux déplacés dans cette province en quelques semaines, selon le Bureau de coordination des affaires humanitaires de l'ONU (Ocha) pour la Province-Orientale.

Ces déplacés "vivent dans la peur dans une région où le risque de violences (...) est déjà très élevé", a indiqué à l'AFP le chef d'Ocha pour la Province-Orientale, Maurizio Giuliano, appelant lui aussi le gouvernement et la Monusco "à prendre urgemment les mesures nécessaires pour arrêter le carnage".

Présents en RDC depuis 1995, les ADF ne compteraient plus aujourd'hui que 400 combattants repliés dans les hauteurs difficiles d'accès des monts Ruwenzori, qui culminent à plus de 5.000 mètres à la frontière entre le Congo et l'Ouganda.

L'armée congolaise avait lancé en janvier une offensive lui ayant permis de reprendre les principales places fortes de ces rebelles musulmans opposés au président ougandais Yoweri Museveni, mais cette opération militaire s'est arrêtée après le décès, fin août, du général qui commandait l'opération.

Alors que l'armée et les autorités étaient accusées de ne rien faire pour protéger la population locale, le président congolais Joseph Kabila s'était rendu à Beni du 29 au 31 octobre. Il y avait assuré que le Congo allait "gagner contre les terroristes".

Le 2 novembre, après une nouvelle attaque ayant fait une dizaine de morts, une foule en colère avait déboulonné la statue du "rond-point Kabila" et brûlé des drapeaux de la majorité présidentielle.

L'est de la RDC, où sévissent encore des dizaines de groupes armés congolais et étrangers, est déchiré depuis plus de 20 ans par des conflits alimentés par des divisions ethniques, querelles foncières et les appétits suscités par les abondantes richesses naturelles de la région.

bur-str/mj/gg

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

Democratic Republic of the Congo: RDC: nouvelle tuerie près de Beni, 200 morts en deux mois

24 November 2014 - 7:34am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Kinshasa, RD Congo | AFP | lundi 24/11/2014 - 11:20 GMT

Par Marthe BOSUANDOLE

Une centaine de personnes ont été tuées en fin de semaine dans la région de Beni, dans l'est de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC), où près de 200 civils ont été massacrés en moins de deux mois.

Des députés de cette région montagneuse et frontalière de l'Ouganda ont indiqué lundi à l'AFP avoir comptabilisé une centaine de morts, tués jeudi dans quatre localités voisines à une vingtaine de kilomètres au nord de Beni.

Un premier bilan donné vendredi par les autorités locales faisait état de neuf morts.

Située dans le Nord du Nord-Kivu, à environ 250 km au nord de Goma, la capitale provinciale, Beni est une importante place commerciale, et le fief de la communauté des Nande. Les premiers massacres ayant endeuillé la région ont commencé en octobre, et ont été perpétrés par les rebelles ougandais des Forces démocratiques alliées (ADF).

La Société civile du Nord-Kivu, ONG basée à Beni, a accusé les ADF d'être responsables de la nouvelle tuerie de jeudi, mais les diverses sources interrogées par l'AFP n'ont pas été en mesure de confirmer cette accusation.

"J'ai le chiffre de 95 corps qui ont été enterrés dans une fosse commune", ainsi que "neuf autres qui ont été présentés aux autorités" dans une morgue, a déclaré à l'AFP Juma Balikwisha, député de l'opposition.

"On n'a pas encore un bilan définitif. C'est entre 70 et 100 personnes tuées", a dit pour sa part Albert Baliesima, député de la majorité.

Selon une source administrative à Beni, l'attaque de lundi a fait "au moins 80 morts".

Joint par téléphone, un habitant de la zone a confirmé à l'AFP qu'on avait "ramassé 95 corps en brousse". Les victimes, tuées à la machette, ont été ensevelies dans le village de Tepiomba, a-t-il ajouté.

Lundi à la mi-journée, le gouvernement de Kinshasa n'avait fait aucune déclaration sur ce nouveau massacre perpétré alors que l'ONU déplore une nette dégradation de la sécurité au Nord-Kivu.

L'ONU veut une 'action décisive'

Dans un communiqué, l'envoyé spécial des Nations unies pour la région des Grands Lacs, Saïd Djinnit, a estimé que "la dégradation de la situation dans la région de Beni et au-delà plaide pour une action décisive en vue de neutraliser toutes les forces négatives en RDC".

Vendredi, la Société civile du Nord-Kivu avait exhorté l'armée, la police et la Mission de l'ONU en RDC (Monusco) à agir "d’urgence" pour rétablir la sécurité.

L'armée congolaise a lancé en janvier une offensive qui lui a permis de reprendre les principales place fortes des ADF, rebelles musulmans opposés au président ougandais Yoweri Museveni, mais cette opération militaire s'est arrêtée après le décès, fin août, du général qui commandait l'opération.

Alors que l'armée et les autorités étaient accusées de ne rien faire pour protéger la population locale, le président congolais Joseph Kabila s'était rendu à Beni du 29 au 31 octobre. Il y avait assuré que le Congo allait "gagner contre les terroristes" mais sa présence n'avait pas empêché un nouveau massacre.

Le 2 novembre, après son départ et une nouvelle attaque ayant fait une dizaine de morts, une foule en colère avait déboulonné la statue du "rond-point Kabila" et brûlé des drapeaux de la Majorité présidentielle, la coalition qui soutient le chef de l’État.

Présents en RDC depuis 1995, les ADF ne compteraient plus aujourd'hui que 400 combattants repliés dans les hauteurs difficiles d'accès des monts Ruwenzori, qui culmminent jusqu'à 5.000 mètres à la frontière entre le Congo et l'Ouganda.

L'est de la RDC, où pullulent encore des dizaines de groupes armés congolais et étrangers, est déchiré depuis plus de 20 ans par des conflits alimentés par des divisions ethniques, des querelles foncières et les appétits suscités par les abondantes richesses naturelles.

bur-str/hab/hba

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Assessing the Impact of Programming to Reduce the Stigmatization of Survivors of Sexual Violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

24 November 2014 - 6:57am
Source: Harvard University Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Executive Summary

Survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) report that the social stigma they face as a result of rape can sometimes be as traumatic as the attack itself. Women who have been raped are often looked upon as morally and physically “tainted” and can face subtle and overt ridicule from family members, friends, and the community at large. Survivors report they may be called “wives” of their rapists, perceived as carriers of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including human immunodeficiency virus infection/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), and face an underlying assumption that they can no longer be productive members of the community. This perception can lead to intense social isolation that, at its most extreme, involves women being made to physically leave their own homes or communities or being abandoned by their families. The phenomenon of stigma and rejection impact a survivor’s psychological health, as well as their physical, economic, and social wellbeing.

This project rigorously evaluated programming that addresses stigma against survivors. In this program evaluation, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) worked with the Congolese NGO, Centre d’Assistance Medico-Psychosociale (CAMPS) to assess which parts of their programming are most effective and how to continue to improve services related to reducing stigma. CAMPS is one of the most long established and wide-reaching providers of these services. With offices in some of the most conflict-affected and remote areas, working with CAMPS provides a unique opportunity to look at grass-roots models for addressing this issue. The goals of this work were:

  • To hear both from beneficiaries and service providers about programs aimed at reducing stigma

  • To understand positive and challenging aspects of the programs

  • To reflect on previously implemented programs and to learn from people’s experiences with these programs

The results of the impact evaluation are detailed below.
First, overarching messages are presented and then challenges and associated recommendations are outlined in table format.

Intense poverty among individuals in this context, even before they experience sexual violence, makes this a challenging context to work in. Compounding this problem, the severity of attacks, which often involve looting and burning of houses, leaves programmers trying to address a wide range of very basic needs among their beneficiaries that went beyond the standard medical and mental health needs. These needs included: finding housing; paying school fees; getting access to education for themselves and their family members; and having enough to eat every day.

The range of beneficiary needs emphasizes the importance of undertaking integrated, comprehensive programming that can address medical, psychological, and economic needs in parallel.
Respondents spoke about the positive synergy between receiving different kinds of services. Some noted that they need psychological care to get to reach a capacity in which they are able to leave their houses and undertake income-generating training.
Others noted that they first needed medical care to get to a point where they were healthy enough to do counseling and then, by gaining a sense of mental stability, they were able to successfully undertake family mediation and reunification.

Survivors noted that one of the most damaging sequelae from sexual violence was the social isolation and rejection from their family and social networks.
This could include being abandoned by one’s husband, being forced to move out of a husband’s house, feeling so stigmatized that one was compelled to move to another village, or isolating oneself by not going to public spaces like church or markets. Survivors spoke about the importance of regaining a sense of respect and dignity among their family and peers as a key aspect of healing from sexual violence. For this reason, services must address not only an individual’s needs but must also facilitate reintegration and healthy relationships with family and peers. Respondents in this work noted that family mediation could often be very effective at reuniting a survivor with her family, and particularly with her husband. A relatively healthy marriage could then help facilitate good relationships with the extended family and community.

When done effectively, socio-economic reinsertion activities can provide an avenue for sustainable income beyond the immediate program.
Some beneficiaries spoke of being able to purchase land, build a house, or pay for their children’s school fees as a result of this assistance. Communities must be engaged in deciding which income-generating activities are most appropriate for their context.
Even after doing an assessment of which activities to undertake, it can be challenging to find activities that provide sustainable income. Some beneficiaries asked for more options to choose from when doing income-generating training. Others requested microfinance programs in addition to job skills.

Community engagement is critical at every step of service assessment and provision. CAMPS developed a number of best practices related to community engagement at all levels of service provision.
CAMPS has found ways to engage communities in tailoring services for each context; in creating word of mouth campaigns to ensure people know where and how to seek their services; in disseminating behavior change messaging around acceptance for survivors, and for creating support networks among survivors. Finally,
CAMPS leveraged its community connections to respond rapidly to emerging needs. An example of this is their “community relay” system (RECO) that identifies needs in remote communities that can apply for assistance from the CAMPS coordination office, which will then send staff members or a mobile clinic to respond to emergency situations.

CAMPS uses a victim-centered approach that allows beneficiaries to choose which services and referrals will be most helpful for them. Rather than having CAMPS staff prescribe who will access which set of services, they use the process of psychosocial counseling as an avenue for understanding and assessing the needs of each person. Through counseling sessions, a staff member will understand the specific needs of an individual, and their capacity to engage in a more involved process (like being part of a group of people learning a new job skill) and provides options of available services. The final decision about which services to access is left to the survivor.

In addition to the overarching messages and best practices identified above, beneficiaries and service providers identified a number of challenges with the current service provision landscape. These have been synthesized into the following table 1.
Despite challenges around funding mechanisms, consistency of services, and difficulty accessing remote areas, beneficiaries expressed overwhelming gratitude and deep appreciation for the care and assistance they received. Participants used powerful metaphors to describe the effect that services had on them, such as “coming back to life,” feeling “human” again, and feeling as capable as they had before the assault. The combination of medical, psychosocial, and economic reinsertion activities was described as critical for holistic recovery.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Around 100 killed in east DR Congo, Uganda rebels blamed

24 November 2014 - 6:38am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Kinshasa, RD Congo | AFP | Monday 11/24/2014 - 19:50 GMT

by Marthe BOSUANDOLE

About 100 people were slaughtered last week in a fresh massacre in the restive east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, blamed by the government on Uganda rebels, lawmakers told AFP on Monday.

The carnage took place on Thursday near Beni in North Kivu province, where mainly Muslim Ugandan rebels have been blamed for killing more than 200 civilians in gruesome machete attacks since October, and where the UN wants "negative forces" to be neutralised.

"I have a figure of 95 bodies buried in a common grave," as well as "nine others that were shown to authorities in a morgue," opposition member of parliament Juma Balikwisha told AFP.

"We still don't have a definitive toll. It lies between 70 and 100 people killed," said Albert Baliesima, an MP for the parliamentary majority backing President Joseph Kabila.

North Kivu governor Julien Paluku meanwhile put the number of dead at 58 while government spokesman Lambert Mende said at a news conference that provisional estimates showed "more than a dozen dead".

Mende added that "first conclusions" pointed to rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces and National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU) being responsible for the latest in a wave of massacres that began early in October.

The government was determined "to eradicate these murderers of women and children," he said.

UN special envoy to the central African Great Lakes region, Said Djinnit, said in a statement "that the worsening situation in the Beni area... calls for decisive action towards neutralising all negative forces in the DRC, as per the decisions of the regional leaders and the UN Security Council."

On Friday, the Civil Society of North Kivu, an NGO based in Beni, had called for the army, police and UN forces to step in. 

 

  • An extra 35,000 people displaced - 

The UN's humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, says 35,000 people have been displaced in the region in the last few weeks.

Some regional officials who spoke to AFP said they did not know who carried out the killings in a region where the Congolese army (FARDC) and a UN special intervention force have been battling the ADF-NALU since January.

"We were told that the (FARDC) didn't want people to go further into the bush," where more bodies could yet be discovered, Baliesima said.

An administrative source in Beni said that the killings took place in four villages close together between the market town and the town of Mbau, 20 kilometres (12 miles) further north.

Reached by telephone, a local resident told AFP that 95 bodies picked up in the bush had been buried in the village of Tepiomba.

The population of Beni, a major trading centre and stronghold of the Nande ethnic group located 250 kilometres (155 miles) north of the provincial capital Goma, has accused the government and soldiers of doing nothing to protect local people.

President Kabila visited Beni at the end of October and publicly swore that the army was "going to win against the terrorists", but his presence failed to prevent a massacre within the town.

The ADF-NALU rebels, believed to number around 400, have hidden in the Ruwenzori mountains that straddle the border with Uganda since being driven out of their homeland by President Yoweri Museveni's soldiers in 1995.

In their joint offensive, the Congolese army and troops of the intervention brigade of the UN mission (MONUSCO) appeared to make gains against the Ugandan insurgents until August, when the respected commander of FARDC troops suddenly died of a heart attack.

The rebels bounced back, but the combined forces renewed major operations against the insurgents in October. The brigade with the large UN mission in the DR Congo has an offensive mandate to tackle armed movements in the east, which has been a powder keg for more than 20 years. 

str/hab/nb/ccr/mfp

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

Democratic Republic of the Congo: About 100 people massacred in DR Congo's restive east last week: lawmakers

24 November 2014 - 6:38am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Kinshasa, DR Congo | AFP | Monday 11/24/2014 - 10:57 GMT

About 100 people were slaughtered last week in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the latest massacres to shake the restive region, regional deputies told AFP on Monday.

The carnage took place on Thursday near the town of Beni in the North Kivu province, where mainly Muslim Ugandan rebels have been blamed for killing more than 200 civilians in gruesome attacks since October.

"I have a figure of 95 bodies buried in a common grave," as well as "nine others that were shown to authorities in a morgue," opposition member of parliament Juma Balikwisha told AFP.

"We still don't have a definitive toll. It lies between 70 and 100 people killed," said Albert Baliesima, an MP for the parliamentary majority backing President Joseph Kabila.

"We were told that the (Congolese armed forces, FARDC) didn't want people to go further into the bush, where more bodies could yet be discovered, he added.

Officials who spoke to AFP said they did not know who carried out the massacres, but they took place in a region where rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces and National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU) battled the army early in November.

An administrative source in Beni said killings took place in four villages located near each other between the market town -- 250 kilometres (155 miles) north of the provincial capital Goma -- and the town of Mbau, 20 kilometres further north.

Reached by telephone, a local resident told AFP that 95 bodies picked up in the bush had been buried in the village of Tepiomba.

North Kivu's governor, Julien Paluku, last Friday said that nine bodies had been taken to a morgue in the affected region. The Civil Society of North Kivu, an association based in Beni, said that at least 50 people had died, according to "one of the survivors."

The ADF-NALU rebels have been hiding out in the Ruwenzori mountains that straddle the border with Uganda since being driven out of their homeland by President Yoweri Museveni's soldiers in 1995.

In January, the Congolese army and troops of a special UN intervention brigade launched a joint offensive against the insurgents. The brigade with the large UN mission in the DRC has an offensive mandate to tackle armed insurgent forces.

bur-str/hab/nb/yad

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Bulldozed: A mining company's lies over forced evictions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo [EN/FR]

24 November 2014 - 5:00am
Source: Amnesty Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

DRC: Belgian mining giant lied over bulldozing homes

A Belgian mining company, Groupe Forrest International, has consistently lied about the bulldozing of hundreds of homes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and has denied justice to those affected, said Amnesty International today in a new report.

Bulldozed: A mining company's lies over forced evictions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo provides satellite imagery and other new evidence, exposing how the company’s subsidiary, Entreprise Général Malta Forrest (EGMF) supplied bulldozers that were used to unlawfully demolish homes and forcibly evict hundreds of people living next to the company’s Luiswishi mine in Kawama, Katanga in 2009. It also details how the companies and the Congolese government have obstructed attempts to achieve justice for the villagers ever since.

“There is now overwhelming and irrefutable evidence showing that the forced evictions that Groupe Forrest International has denied for years in fact took place,” said Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty’s Global Issues Director.

“It is shameful for a mining giant to lie and deny people justice. It is time for them to finally come clean and compensate the villagers for what they lost.”

Five years on, the villagers of Kawama have received no compensation. EGMF pulled out from the mining concession in 2012. The company now running the concession, owned by the State, has complained to the authorities about the activities of small-scale miners, leading to new threats of demolition of homes.

The demolitions in 2009 were part of a police operation, carried out at Groupe Forrest International’s request, to clear the Kawama area of small-scale miners who were allegedly stealing from the copper and cobalt mine.

Bulldozers belonging to EGMF and operated by its drivers destroyed homes and businesses in the three neighbourhoods closest to the Luiswishi mine.

“Some people lost their livelihoods as well as their homes. One woman, whose restaurant was demolished, told us that she doesn’t have the money to buy enough food to eat and had had to pull her children out of school. Proper compensation for villagers would have alleviated a lot of the suffering,” said Audrey Gaughran.

New evidence

Groupe Forrest International has repeatedly claimed that the bulldozers only destroyed temporary homes belonging to small-scale miners and that the demolitions were legal, but Amnesty International has obtained satellite imagery, video footage and the files of a criminal investigation by a government Prosecutor, containing irrefutable evidence that this is not the case.

Satellite imagery shows that 387 structures were demolished in the affected neighbourhoods between 31 May 2009 and 15 May 2010. These structures were present before the influx of small-scale miners to Kawama which prompted the police operation on 24 November 2009.

Videos filmed on that day show the destruction of permanent brick houses, with armed police officers removing villagers, including children, from their homes. This information was corroborated by testimonies given to Amnesty International researchers by residents of the three affected neighbourhoods.

Groupe Forrest International claims that it did not voluntarily participate in the demolitions and evictions. However, the EGMF bulldozer drivers interviewed by the Prosecutor testified that their superiors ordered them to go to Kawama and follow police instructions.

The demolitions took place over the course of two days — the company was aware that they were occurring and had time to protest against the use of its staff and equipment in the forced evictions; it did not do so.

Official cover-up

A government Prosecutor carried out an investigation into the demolitions and tried to bring criminal charges against those responsible. However, he was instructed by officials in Kinshasa and in the Provincial Government not to do so.

“This is a cover-up by the Congolese authorities. The state has failed its own people by not bringing anyone to justice for these forced evictions and by not ensuring that compensation was paid,” said Audrey Gaughran.

Amnesty International presented its concerns and evidence to Groupe Forrest International prior to the publication of the report but the company denied all responsibility for the events at Kawama, which it blamed on unilateral police action. Efforts by a group of Congolese and international NGOs to seek a resolution in Belgium for the people of Kawama failed; the National Contact Point for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises stated that it did not have the capacity to investigate.

“The people of Kawama have tried for years to find a process that will simply recognise the truth of what happened in their community. Their voices have been drowned out by Groupe Forrest International’s denials. Both the Congolese and Belgian authorities have failed them,” said Audrey Gaughran.

The report calls on the Congolese authorities and Groupe Forrest International to ensure adequate reparation for the people of Kawama, including full compensation for all losses caused by the demolitions and forced evictions. The authorities must bring charges against all those responsible for illegal acts that resulted in human rights violations.

The report also calls on Belgium to review its legal and policy framework to ensure it is able to properly regulate Belgian multinationals – at home and abroad.

ENDS

For a copy of the report, satellite imagery, video footage, photographs, correspondence between Amnesty International and Forrest Groupe International and/or interviews in English, French, Swahili or Dutch contact:

Amnesty International's press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566 email: press@amnesty.org twitter: @amnestypress International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW, UK

République démocratique du Congo. Démolitions au bulldozer : les mensonges d'un géant belge du secteur minier

Le Groupe Forrest International, compagnie minière belge, n'a pas cessé de mentir à propos de la démolition au bulldozer de centaines d'habitations en République démocratique du Congo (RDC) et a privé les victimes de justice, a déclaré Amnesty International ce lundi 24 novembre dans un nouveau rapport.

Ce document, intitulé Après les bulldozers – Comment une compagnie minière a étouffé la vérité sur des expulsions forcées en République démocratique du Congo, présente des images satellite et d'autres éléments de preuve qui révèlent que l'Entreprise Général Malta Forrest (EGMF), filiale du Groupe Forrest International, a permis en 2009 que des bulldozers lui appartenant soient utilisés pour démolir illégalement des logements et expulser de force des centaines de personnes vivant à Kawama, dans la province du Katanga, près de la mine de Luiswishi, alors exploitée par l'entreprise. Le rapport détaille également comment, depuis cette date, les entreprises et le gouvernement congolais ont fait obstruction aux tentatives visant à ce que les villageois obtiennent justice.

« Il existe maintenant des preuves accablantes et irréfutables qui montrent que ces expulsions forcées ont effectivement eu lieu, en dépit de ce qu'affirme le Groupe Forrest International depuis des années », a déclaré Audrey Gaughran, directrice du programme des Thématiques mondiales à Amnesty International.

« Il est honteux pour un géant du secteur minier de mentir et de priver la population de justice. Il est temps pour eux de dire la vérité et d'indemniser les villageois pour ce qu'ils ont perdu. »

Cinq ans après les faits, les habitants de Kawama n'ont toujours pas été indemnisés. L'EGMF a vendu ses parts de la concession minière en 2012. L'entreprise qui exploite actuellement cette concession appartient à l'État. Elle s'est plainte auprès des autorités des activités de mineurs travaillant de façon artisanale (appelés creuseurs), entraînant à nouveau des menaces de destructions de logements.

Les démolitions de 2009 ont eu lieu dans le cadre d'une opération policière, menée à la demande du Groupe Forrest International, pour expulser les creuseurs de la zone de Kawama car ils étaient accusés d'avoir commis des vols sur le site de la mine de cuivre et de cobalt.

Des bulldozers appartenant à l'EGMF et manœuvrés par des conducteurs de l'entreprise ont détruit des habitations et des commerces dans les trois quartiers les plus proches de la mine de Luiswishi.

« Certaines personnes ont perdu leurs moyens de subsistance en plus de leur logement. Une femme dont le restaurant a été détruit nous a raconté qu'elle n'avait pas l'argent nécessaire pour acheter suffisamment à manger et qu'elle avait dû interrompre la scolarité de ses enfants. Une indemnisation convenable versée aux villageois aurait atténué une grande part de leurs souffrances », a expliqué Audrey Gaughran.

De nouveaux éléments de preuve

Le Groupe Forrest International a affirmé à de multiples reprises que les bulldozers avaient uniquement détruit les habitations temporaires des creuseurs et que les démolitions étaient légales, mais Amnesty International a obtenu des images satellite, des séquences vidéo et les dossiers d'une enquête judiciaire menée par un représentant du parquet qui comportent des preuves irréfutables montrant que ce n'est pas le cas.

Les images satellite indiquent que 387 structures ont été démolies dans les quartiers touchés entre le 31 mai 2009 et le 15 mai 2010. Ces structures existaient avant l'afflux de creuseurs à Kawama, qui est à l'origine de l'opération policière du 24 novembre 2009.

Des vidéos tournées ce jour-là montrent des maisons permanentes en brique en train d'être démolies et des agents de police armés chasser des villageois, y compris des enfants, hors de chez eux. Ces éléments d'information ont été corroborés par des témoignages recueillis par les chercheurs d'Amnesty International auprès d'habitants des trois quartiers concernés.

Le Groupe Forrest International affirme qu'il n'a pas volontairement participé aux démolitions et aux expulsions. Toutefois, les conducteurs des bulldozers de l'EGMF qui ont été entendus par le procureur ont déclaré sous serment que leurs supérieurs leur avaient donné l'ordre de se rendre à Kawama et de se conformer aux instructions de la police.

Les démolitions se sont déroulées sur deux jours. L'entreprise savait qu'elles avaient lieu et elle a eu le temps de protester contre la réquisition de son personnel et de ses équipements pour des expulsions forcées, ce qu'elle n'a pas fait.

Une affaire étouffée par le gouvernement

Un représentant du parquet a réalisé une enquête sur les démolitions et a tenté d'engager des poursuites judiciaires contre les auteurs de ces actes. Toutefois, des représentants du gouvernement central et provincial lui ont interdit de le faire.

« Cette affaire a été étouffée par les autorités congolaises. L'État a failli à ses obligations envers son peuple, en ne traduisant personne en justice à la suite de ces expulsions forcées et en ne veillant pas à ce que des indemnisations soient versées », a déclaré Audrey Gaughran.

Amnesty International a présenté ses préoccupations et les éléments de preuve à sa disposition au Groupe Forrest International avant la publication du rapport, mais l'entreprise a nié toute responsabilité dans les événements survenus à Kawama, qu'elle a attribués à une opération policière unilatérale. Malgré ses efforts, un groupe d'ONG congolaises et internationales n'est pas parvenu à obtenir une résolution en Belgique pour les habitants de Kawama ; le Point de contact national chargé de l'application des Principes directeurs de l'Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques à l'intention des entreprises multinationales a déclaré qu'il n'avait pas la capacité d'enquêter.

« Les habitants de Kawama tentent depuis des années de trouver un processus permettant simplement de faire en sorte que la vérité sur ce qui est arrivé à leur communauté soit reconnue. Leurs voix ont été noyées par les démentis du Groupe Forrest International. Les autorités congolaises et belges ont toutes deux failli à leurs obligations », a expliqué Audrey Gaughran.

Le rapport d’Amnesty International appelle les autorités congolaises et le Groupe Forrest International à faire en sorte que la population de Kawama obtienne des réparations convenables, dont une indemnisation complète pour toutes les pertes entraînées par les démolitions et les expulsions forcées. Les autorités doivent engager des poursuites contre toutes les personnes responsables d'actes illégaux qui se sont soldés par des atteintes aux droits humains.

Le rapport appelle également la Belgique à réviser son cadre juridique et politique pour être en mesure de réglementer de façon adéquate les multinationales belges, à la fois sur son territoire et à l'étranger.