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Democratic Republic of the Congo Country Report March 2024

M23 militia in Kibumba, DRC, 2022. © Moses Sawasawa/AP


Democratic Republic of the Congo Country Report

March 2024

By Sera Mishra, Genocide Watch

 

There have been 6 million conflict-related deaths in the DRC since 1998. The eastern provinces of Nord-Kivu, Sud-Kivu, Ituri, and Tanganyika, and the southern provinces of Kasaï-Oriental, Kasaï Central, Kasaï, and Mai-Ndombe had genocidal massacres in 20236.7 million Congolese are internally displaced. 400,000 women are raped each year in DRC, the highest rate of sexual violence in the world.

 

In the First and Second Congo Wars (1996-97, 1998-2003), from one to five million civilians died.

100 armed militias continue to commit atrocities in eastern DRC. The M23 militia, supported by Rwanda, launched a new offensive in 2022, and is the most active non-state militia. The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), claiming allegiance to the Islamic State, killed 1000 civilians in eastern DRC and Uganda in 2023.

 

Mass killing, kidnapping of children, mass rape, and torture by militias and government forces, and ethnic conflict plague the DRC. The corrupt DRC government is unable to bring peace or law and order. Since 2003, the world’s largest UN peacekeeping force, MONUSCO, has also been unable to stop atrocities despite having up to 21,000 troops in DRC at a cost of over ten billion dollars. Demonstrations in Goma in 2022 demanded that MONUSCO leave the DRC. MONUSCO will leave DRC by the end of 2024.

 

In the elections of 2018 and 2023, Félix Tshisekedi was elected President. Before 2018, DRC had never before had a peaceful political transition. Tshisekedi vows to end corruption but he has failed to do so.

 

Tens of thousands of Congolese are informally employed by multinational corporations that own cobalt, coltan, and copper mines. The mines have child labor, life-threatening work conditions, exposure to toxic substances, and a lack of any safety precautions.

 

Local mai mai militias, Hutu genocidists from Rwanda (Interahamwe), and the Congolese army have driven over 100,000 Congolese Tutsis (Banyamulenge) off their land in eastern DRC into refugee camps in Rwanda. The Banyamulenge have been systematically displaced and killed in a ‘slow genocide.’ Congolese nationalists try to justify this genocide as revenge for past Tutsi domination, using the same racist, indigenous citizens vs. foreign invaders ideology that drove the Rwandan genocide.

 

In February 2024, a Lendu militia, the Cooperative for the Development of the Congo (CODECO) massacred dozens of Hema people, a targeted Tutsi minority in Northern Ituri province. Batwa communities residing in or near the Kahuzi-Biega National Park in South Kivu have been persecuted by park guards and Congolese army soldiers.

 

Congolese Tutsis (the Banyamulenge and Hema) and the Batwa people are targets of slow genocides in the DRC. Women, children, the LGBTQ+ community, people in displaced person camps, and civil society activists and organizations are persecuted.

 

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is at Stage 3: Discrimination, Stage 4: Dehumanization, Stage 5: Organization, Stage 6: Polarization, Stage 8: Persecution, and Stage 9: Extermination.

 

Genocide Watch recommends:

●      MONUSCO must not withdraw from eastern DRC, where it is the only non-DRC security force.

●      MONUSCO should adopt effective strategies to hunt down and defeat genocidal militias.

●      Rwanda must withdraw all its troops from the DRC and end its support for M23.

●      The DRC must enforce its laws against hate speech and incitements to genocide.

●      The DRC should arrest and prosecute leaders who incite genocide and crimes against humanity.



DRC Country Report March 2024 by Sera Mishra
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