Nine women’s groups and civil society organizations from the Democratic Republic of the Congo are calling on the United Nations and the Congolese government to take immediate action to prevent further violence in Eastern Congo. In a letter to the UN Secretary General, the Congolese government and the head of UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), the nine organizations call for health services and assistance for victims and survivors. The letter also urges assistance for displaced persons, and support from the UN for the Congolese government in dealing with the violence and ending impunity.
On August 13th, at least 64 people were violently killed in Rwangoma, a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Beni in North Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This region of the DRC has faced almost constant violence in recent years at the hands of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a rebel group with roots in Uganda. Massacres in the area have left more than 600 people dead since 2014 and beheadings, mutilations, rape and the targeting of women are common.
Many in the Kivu region have taken to the streets after these massacres to demonstrate their frustration at the lack of effective action on the part of their government and the UN. Formal peace processes have been ongoing since 1999, but they have not brought peace or security to women. Hundreds of thousands of women in the DRC continue to be raped every year.
Join these nine organizations in calling on Ban Ki-moon, the UN Security Council, the Congolese government and MONUSCO to end the violence in DRC and support victims and survivors.
Read the full letter below.
Open Letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
URGENT CALL TO END THE VIOLENCE AND PROTECT THE POPULATION IN EASTERN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
August 25, 2016
HE Mr Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General
- HE President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo
- HE Mr Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly
- HE Dato’ Ramlan Ibrahim, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the UN; President of the Security Council (August 2016)
- Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region Said Djinnit
- Special Representative of the SG to MONUSCO Martin Kobler
Dear Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
The undersigned women’s groups and civil society organizations from DRC and around the world note with grave concern the killing of over 36 civilians on August 13th, 2016 in the area of Rwangoma village, North Kivu province of the DRC, by alleged members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a rebel group of Ugandan origin, operating mainly in Eastern DRC. We condemn the atrocities and human rights violations committed by the Allied Defense Forces (ADF). This is the latest in a series of massacres that have left more than 700 people dead in and around the troubled town of Beni since October 2014. Congolese women have been raising the alarm on this impending atrocity and no one is heeding. Furthermore, a non-violent protest staged by civil society to draw attention to the occurrences and over government inaction against violent rebel groups in the region on Wednesday August 17th, 2016, resulted in the death of 2 more civilians.
While we extend our condolences to the families of the victims, we express deep concern and dismay on the violence this situation has generated in Congo ahead of the country’s general election, scheduled for November 2016. We call on the Government to immediately investigate the attacks, take action to ensure the safety of its people and provide immediate and adequate assistance to the victims and their families. It is appalling that the people of North Kivu have been affected by increasing violence over the past two years. North Kivu has suffered a series of massacres wherein nearly all of the victims are civilians. The UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) should increase its attention and address the scourge of armed groups in North Kivu and the country in general.
- The Congolese Government, the UN Security Council, MONUSCO and the international community to take immediate actions to prevent further loss of lives by addressing the ongoing violence.
- The Congolese Government and MONUSCO to provide timely and adequate health services and other forms of assistance to victims and survivors as well as shelters to the displaced;
- The UN Secretary General to support the authorities of the DRC in their efforts to address the threat posed by armed groups and end impunity in the region.
We cannot convey enough the urgency of this situation, as the number of casualties continues to rise in light of the ongoing violence.
We look forward to your immediate response and we thank you in advance.
- African Women’s Active Nonviolence Initiatives for Social Change (AWANICh) – Ghana
- Cadre Permanent de Concertation de la Femme Congolaise (CAFCO)
- Centre d’études sur la Justice et la Résolution 1325 (CRJ 1325) – DRC
- COFERD – DRC
- Fonds pour les femmes conglaises
- Global Network of Women Peacebuilders
- Synergie des Associations Feminines du Congo (SAFECO)
- Solidarité Féminine pour la Paix et le Développement Intégral (SOFEPADI) – DRC
- Synergie des Femmes pour les Victimes de Violences Sexuelles (SFVS) – DRC
For further information please contact:
Mavic Cabrera Balleza firstname.lastname@example.org and
Patience Ikpeh email@example.com
Scores ‘hacked to death’ in machete attack in DR Congo, Al Jazeera, 14 August 2016
Thirty-six people are killed in DRC in ‘revenge’ attack by ADF rebels, The Guardian, 14 August 2016.
UN peacekeepers in the DRC no longer trusted to protect, Al Jazeera, 18 January 2016