Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Newly displaced people in DR Congo

September 30, 2004

Oxfam warns of tens of thousands of newly displaced people in DR Congo
Security Council must renew and increase strength of UN troops

Ngungu, DRC: Renewed fighting in the volatile Kivu region of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has forced 20,000 people to flee their homes, according to international aid agency Oxfam. This new information comes as the UN Security Council discusses the fate of the UN's military presence in Eastern DRC this week.

Oxfam staff in DRC report that in the last two weeks more people have fled their homes from nearby villages, arriving at the makeshift camp in Ngungu, North Kivu, 60 km from Goma the provincial capital.

"Some people saw armed groups attacking villages and burning houses, others left because they were scared of what could happen to them if they stayed in a place where there is no one to protect them," said Oxfam's Gemma Swart.

"Conditions are very difficult, it is very cold. People have been trying to set up shelters but there is an urgent need for plastic sheeting, blankets and sanitation," explained Swart.

Aid agencies like Oxfam are preparing to respond including setting up water tanks and tap stands to supply clean water as well as building latrines.

Oxfam is calling upon the UN Security Council to renew the mandate of the UN's Military Observer Mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) when it meets next week, and to authorize immediate increases in troops, funds and equipment.

Oxfam considers that the existing force of 10,500 troops is grossly inadequate and under equipped for the vastness and complexity of the DRC. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has, among other recommendations, called for the force to be increased to 23,900 troops, more than double its current size, in order to ensure peace in DRC. This would make it the biggest peacekeeping mission in the world.

"The security situation is extremely fragile," said James Bot, Oxfam's Country Programme Manager for DRC. "The UN troops in the DRC are so thin on the ground that their ability to respond to flare-ups and to protect the civilian population and humanitarian agency staff caught in the crossfire is extremely limited."

The troops are essential to protect the highly volatile areas of Ituri with its inter-ethnic clashes, and North and South Kivu, where there is continuing tension months after the recent violent clashes between armed groups reportedly loyal to the transition government and various dissident groups. There is palpable tension and fears that widespread fighting could restart.

"The need for more troops is an important step in bringing stability to DRC, but MONUC also has a responsibility to make sure the troops on the ground now are used effectively, have good relationships with local people and have a high standard of behaviour with the communities in which they work: the prevalent reports of sexual misconduct are unacceptable." explained James Bot.

"The events of the past months indicate that a stronger engagement from the international community and other actors is required in order to prevent the transition programme from failing and to prevent more civilian suffering and deaths. Steps towards a united Congolese army and a successful disarmament process need to be taken along side any strengthening of MONUC" he adds.

"Experience shows that where MONUC is deployed with adequate troops and a robust interpretation of its mandate, it has made a difference" he concludes.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Juggling Covid, And France’s Trump-like Populist


It is the age-old Covid problem. How to balance the needs for firms (and schools) to re-open against the need to protect public health. In the past, the balance has been struck by insisting that the best public health outcomes also deliver the best economic (and educational) outcomes. While that may still be objectively true, it is no longer a politically tenable position... More>>

Covid-19 & Education: NCEA And NZ Scholarship Exams To Proceed


NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship exams will proceed, including in areas where Alert Level 3 has been in place, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health have been working together to ensure exams can be managed in a safe way, so students have the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned... More>>





 
 

Government: New Zealand Secures Historic Free Trade Deal With The United Kingdom
New Zealand and the United Kingdom have agreed in principle the details of a historic Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which will further accelerate our COVID-19 economic recovery say Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor... More>>

ALSO:

Ombudsman: Launches Investigation Into MIQ Booking System
The Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier is launching a broad investigation into the Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) booking system after receiving hundreds of complaints... More>>

ALSO:



National: Launches Back In Business Plan

Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins has today launched National’s detailed plan to save livelihoods and unleash our economy in the face of the huge damage being wrought by the extended Covid lockdown... More>>

ALSO:


Pay Cheque To Pay Cheque: Half A Million New Zealanders Have No Savings
New findings from the Consumer NZ sentiment tracker found that 15% of New Zealanders had no savings, and a further 27% were anxious about their level of savings and would like to have more tucked away... More>>


Government: Mandatory Vaccination For Two Workforces

Large parts of two workforces critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 will be required to be vaccinated, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Our education and health and disability workforces have done an incredible job throughout this pandemic to keep themselves and people safe,” Chris Hipkins said.... More>>


Green Party: Deeply Concerned Space Launches May Be Breaching Nuclear-free Laws

The Green Party is deeply concerned that space launches by Rocket Lab may be breaching nuclear-free laws, given our long-standing position as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty... More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels