Recent accords aimed at ending fighting in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are an opportunity to finally stop the horrific abuse of people displaced by that violence, an independent United Nations human rights official said following a 10-day visit to the troubled region.
“The recourse to peaceful solutions to the present conflicts, the renunciation of violence, the scrupulous respect by all actors of human and humanitarian rights and an unfailing fight against impunity are indispensable to put an end to the serious violations of human rights whose victims are the displaced people in the east of the DRC,” Walter Kälin, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Representative for the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs), said in a preliminary statement on his trip.
During his visit, from 12 to 22 February, Mr. Kälin went to Kinshasa and the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu and Ituri to meet with national ministers, local authorities, representatives of the UN system and civil society, as well as IDPs and their host communities.
He affirmed that the IDPs still find themselves in a precarious position, with the threat of hunger, attack and child conscription continuously looming, and often lacking housing, clean water, health care and education for their children.
Acknowledging that it was the obligation of national authorities to protect and assist their IDPs, Mr. Kälin deplored the lack of a Governmental strategy on that front and the absence of a legal sector to address abuses.
He appealed to the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC), humanitarian organizations, and donors to employ the necessary resources to help the authorities to fulfil their obligations.