UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is alarmed by violence committed against civilians by armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that continues to cost lives and drive people from their homes.
UNHCR and its partners recorded more than 1,200 civilian deaths and 1,100 rapes this year in the two most affected provinces of North Kivu and Ituri. UNHCR has recorded 25,000 human rights abuses this year. In total, more than a million Congolese have been internally displaced in the east of the country in 2021.
Repeated displacement has put enormous pressure on those forced to flee and the host families that have taken in 94 per cent of DRC’s forcibly displaced population. Host families have shown huge generosity towards their compatriots but are exhausted and in need of support if they are to continue as first responders.
Harsh living conditions and a lack of food often trigger a premature return by displaced people to their place of origin, further exposing them to abuse and violence. Returnees account for 65 per cent of the serious human rights abuses recorded by UNHCR and partners.
Attacks attributed to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) armed group have increased in brutality since late 2020, and the frequency of killings of civilians has not abated despite the state of siege declared in early May 2021 to counter the activities of these armed groups.