World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


DR Congo: UN Concerns Grow Over Human Rights Violations

DR Congo: UN Concerns Grow Over Human Rights Violations and Delivery of Humanitarian Aid

New York, Nov 20 2012 - Amidst growing concerns over the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the area, a United Nations senior official today expressed concern over reported human rights violations against civilians in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as clashes between the national army and fighters with the rebel 23 March Movement (M23) continue.

"The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, is deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation of civilians in eastern DRC," Ms. Pillay's spokesperson, Rupert Colville, told a news briefing in Geneva.

"The advances made by the M23 rebel group over the past few days have been accompanied by a significant number of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed against civilians, particularly those fleeing the combat zones," he added.

The M23 - composed of soldiers who mutinied from the DRC national army in April - launched new attacks over the weekend in North Kivu province, uprooting some 60,0000 civilians and prompting the peacekeeping force known as the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) to deploy attack helicopters in aid of the national army, known by the French acronym FARDC. The rebels are reported to be advancing on North Kivu's provincial capital, Goma.

In his comments to journalists, Mr. Colville said that the rebels have committed several crimes on their advance on Goma, including the wounding and abduction of civilians, looting and destruction of properties, and threatening journalists.

UN human rights teams on the ground have documented cases where civilians have been targeted or killed by M23 fighters for resisting recruitment, opposing looting or for their perceived collaboration with Government forces.

Yesterday, UN teams had to stop their investigative work and seek refuge in one of MONUSCO's military bases due to shootings by M23 members in densely populated areas near Goma's airport, close to UN assets and personnel.

Mr. Colville also noted that various M23 senior commanders have a record of serious human rights violations and three of them - Sultani Makenga, Bosco Ntaganda, and Innocent Zimurinda - have been listed by a UN sanctions committee. He added that Ms. Pillay is concerned over reports of looting and the destruction of houses by retreating FARDC troops.

"She is stressing that all human rights violations by all sides, including the FARDC, must be investigated and those found responsible held to account," Mr. Colville said. "All parties to the conflict must take all possible precautions to protect the civilian population and civilian objects under their control against the effects of attacks."

During the same news briefing, a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Adrian Edwards, said the escalating violence has prompted the agency to urge DRC's neighbouring countries to refrain from forcibly returning people from the provinces of North and South Kivu until the security and human rights situations there improve.

"UNHCR considers people fleeing the conflict in the Kivus and nearby affected areas as likely to be needing international refugee protection," Mr. Edwards said. "UNHCR also cautions against returning them to safer parts of DRC, unless they have strong and close links there."

According to UNHCR estimates, the number of DRC refugees in neighbouring countries currently stands at 463,000, located mainly in Uganda, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania.

There are also more than 1.6 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Kivus as a result of the fighting - they are part of the 2.4 million IDPs in the country as a whole.

Addressing the same news briefing, a spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Jens Laerke, said that the escalating violence has also made it increasingly difficult for relief agencies to deliver assistance.

Mr. Laerke said that tens of thousands of people who are already IDPs in North Kivu have been forced into new displacement over the past five days. In particular, he noted that the Kanyaruchinya IDP camp located north of Goma has been emptied of its population, with its 60,000 inhabitants fleeing insecurity in the area.

Although humanitarian agencies have indentified three sites near the camp where these IDPs will be able to go, assistance has slowed down in Goma, where many agencies are based, he added. In South Kivu, insecurity has also led to the suspension or reduction of humanitarian activities in some areas.

"Since the beginning of the year, aid workers have been targeted in nearly 170 security incidents in the two provinces," Mr. Laerke told the briefing. "The humanitarian community calls for unhindered access to people in need and urge the Congolese authorities - which have the primary responsibility for the protection of civilians - to engage more effectively in the protection of civilians and humanitarian workers."

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Amnesty: Campaign Mass Hangings And Extermination At Syrian Prison

A chilling new report by Amnesty International exposes the Syrian government’s calculated campaign of extrajudicial executions by mass hangings at Saydnaya Prison. Between 2011 and 2015, every week and often twice a week, groups of up to 50 people ... More>>

Russian Hack Job?: White House - Actions In Response To Russian Malicious Cyber Activity & Harassment

President Obama authorized a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election in 2016. More>>


Israel/Palestine: Michael Field - Background To How Israel Nearly Went To War With New Zealand

New Zealand and Senegal managed to get the United Nations Security Council to pass resolution 2334 which said Israel’s settlements in Palestinian territory violate international law and undermine a two-state solution in Israel's conflict with Palestine. More>>

ALSO:

US Indigenous Affairs: How President Obama Has Protected Our Sacred Land

I am very proud to be both Navajo and American. As the President of the Navajo Nation, I’ve dedicated my life to ensuring that, as a Navajo, my story -- and our stories -- are part of our collective American history. Today, I want to share one of those stories with you. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: The Berlin Truck Attack And The Refugee Question

The hard-nosed neo-cons were certainly showing little interest in linking arguments, examining evidence, or even considering elementary logic in the aftermath of the Berlin truck attack near the Gedächtniskirche. With the bodies fresh in the morgue, former US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, peered into the mind of the everyday German, and found teeth chattering fear. More>>

Demonetisation: Gordon Campbell On India’s Huge Socio-Economic Experiment

Without much coverage at all in the West, India has just been engaged for the past few weeks in one of the world’s biggest socio-economic experiments since the Cultural Revolution in China. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Death Of Fidel Castro

New Zealand likes to think we played our part – via the 1981 Springbok tour – in bringing the apartheid regime in South Africa to an end… Jacob Zuma treated the death of Fidel Castro at the weekend as an occasion to pay a heartfelt tribute to the thousands of Cuban soldiers who travelled across the world to inflict the first significant military defeat on the forces of white supremacy. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news