One of the worst was in February of this year at the Plaine Savo camp in Ituri Province.
Since then, attacks have claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people who were either trying to return home or taking refuge in temporary housing.
50 000 human rights cases of abuse far this year, UNHCR has found that more than 50,000 people in the DRC, including refugees and people who have moved within the country, have had their rights violated.
Since October 20, combat between the M23 rebel group and the Congolese Army has caused 188,000 new displacements.
Before this increase in violence, 5.6 million Congolese were reportedly internally displaced.
Just 43% of the money needed by UNHCR to aid individuals in need in the DRC has been provided as of fewer than six weeks before the end of 2022.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has expressed deep concerns over the escalating violence and dire situation faced by asylum seekers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Recent data reveals a significant number of human rights abuses, displacement, and attacks targeting civilians, particularly those residing in displaced people’s camps.
Increasing Attacks on Civilians
UNHCR’s Director of International Protection, Elizabeth Tan, highlighted the alarming rise in attacks on civilians, with one of the most devastating incidents occurring in February at the Plaine Savo camp in Ituri Province. Over 62 individuals lost their lives, while an armed non-state group injured more than 40 others. Since then, a series of attacks have claimed the lives of over 1,000 individuals who were either attempting to return home or seeking refuge in temporary housing.
Human Rights Violations
Disturbingly, UNHCR has documented over 50,000 instances of rights violations in the DRC this year alone, affecting refugees and internally displaced persons. The organization stresses that states have a moral and legal obligation not to forcibly repatriate refugees and to provide refuge to those fleeing active conflicts.
Intensifying Armed Conflict
The armed conflict in the DRC has worsened in recent months, leading to a surge in displacement. The ongoing combat between the M23 rebel group and the Congolese Army has already resulted in 188,000 new displacements since October 20. Prior to this escalation, the country already had 5.6 million internally displaced individuals. Now, another million people seek safety in 22 African nations.
Impact of Inclement Weather and Fighting
Extreme weather conditions have forced nearly 700,000 people to flee their homes, exacerbating the already dire situation. However, the majority of the displaced, totalling 4.9 million, have been uprooted due to fighting in North Kivu, South Kivu, and Ituri.
Despite the urgent needs, UNHCR faces significant funding challenges. As of fewer than six weeks before the end of 2022, only 43% of the required funding has been provided to aid those in need in the DRC. This situation hampers the organization’s ability to provide crucial assistance and support to asylum seekers.
The plight of asylum seekers in the DRC remains grave, with escalating violence, human rights violations, and inadequate support. The UNHCR’s concerns underscore the urgent need for international attention and assistance to alleviate the suffering of those displaced by conflict. Addressing these challenges requires concerted efforts from the international community to ensure the protection and well-being of asylum seekers in the DRC and beyond.
Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network