See also:
» 02.03.2010 - Rights groups call for suspension of Lieutenant
» 15.02.2010 - Children still recruited into DRC’s war ranks
» 02.02.2010 - Scores slaughtered by rebels in DRC
» 27.01.2010 - UN agency working with 100,000 DRC refugees
» 14.12.2009 - Security Council should intervene – HRW says
» 08.12.2009 - Arms and minerals’ smuggling still rife in DRC, report
» 02.12.2009 - Bemba to remain in prison
» 25.11.2009 - UN mission failing to root out rebels in DRC

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Congo Kinshasa
Human rights | Society | Politics

Oxfam records serious atrocities in DRC

afrol News, 14 July - The international aid organisation, Oxfam has reported a surge on sexual violence, torture and forced labour among civilians in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo since a government offensive against rebels began in January.

According to the organisation’s survey carried out on 569 civilians living in 20 conflict-ridden communities in Nord and Sud Kivu provinces, people live in constant fear from both government troops and rebels.

The report said more that 80 percent of those interviewed said security conditions had become worse, during United Nations-backed military operations launched this year to defeat Rwandan, Ugandan rebels in Congo.

The survey found that sexual violence had dramatically increased since the offensive began. “Women were most likely to be the victims but children and men had also been targeted,” it said.

Congo's army launched a joint operation with Rwanda's armed forces in late January against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), who have operated out of the region since the aftermath of Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

A quarter of the communities surveyed spoke of torture, with some reporting that people were buried up to their necks in the ground by FDLR members until they agreed to pay their captors for their release.

Oxfam further charged that the UN was supporting army operations which are being led by rights abusers, and is further backing Congo's government which is failing to arrest officers responsible for atrocities against women.

Some of the Rwandan rebels were part of the extremist Hutu militias that took part in Rwanda's 1994 genocide. Many others were not, but voluntary disarmament has stalled and Kigali refuses to negotiate with the FDLR.

The Hutu rebels have been central to Congo's wars since 1994, when they crossed into the country from Rwanda.

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