Goma, DRC/ The Hague, NL, Novembre 8, 2022 – As renewed fighting between the M23 armed group and the Congolese military (FARDC) continues to displace tens of thousands of civilians in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) calls for all parties to the conflict to act with restraint and comply with international humanitarian and human rights law. CIVIC urges parties to refrain from targeting civilians and avoid disproportionate attacks that could cause further civilian harm. CIVIC also calls on neighboring states to immediately cease providing support to armed groups operating on Congolese soil.
“The latest round of violence in North Kivu has had devastating consequences for Congolese civilians,” said Daniel Levine-Spound, CIVIC’s DRC-based Peacekeeping Researcher. “Further hostilities are likely to exacerbate an already volatile situation, leading to greater displacement, death, and more civilians in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and protection.”
Large-scale fighting between the M23 and FARDC has taken place in eastern DR Congo since March 2022. In recent weeks, M23 significantly increased the territory under its control, taking over the Congolese cities of Rutshuru and Kiwanja. At least 183,000 civilians have fled their homes due to the fighting, many of whom have temporarily relocated to makeshift internally displaced person (IDP) camps where basic necessities are in short supply. The new wave of displacement has exacerbated an already precarious humanitarian situation. Over 5.5 million Congolese are internally displaced and over 26 million people are facing acute food insecurity.
“Decades of armed violence have proven that there is no purely military solution to the security challenges facing Eastern Congo,” said Levine-Spound. “It is imperative that all parties to the conflict work toward a political solution to the ongoing crisis, which allows civilians to safely return to their homes, strictly comply with their obligations under international law, and hold perpetrators in their own ranks accountable for any abuses. On a regional level, the international community should also hold neighboring states accountable for supporting armed groups on Congolese soil. Ending such support is essential to stopping the cycle of violence in eastern Congo, and building a better future for Congolese civilians.”
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