Democratic Republic of the Congo: IDPs need further assistance in context of continued attacks and insecurity
Internally displaced children in Kalinga Camp, Masisi, North Kivu Province (Photo: NRC/Odette Asha, June 2010)
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31 December 2012
There were about 2.7 million IDPs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as of December 2012, a million more than at the end of 2011. The dramatic increase in displacement was caused by a major upsurge in violence. The majority of IDPs fled either from or within DRC’s eastern provinces, with North and South Kivu, Orientale, Katanga and Maniema hosting the largest numbers.
The majority of the estimated 1.79 million IDPs in the Kivus have experienced protracted and multiple displacements. Many have fled at least twice, with some having done so more than three times over the past year alone.
Violence in the Kivus has also driven IDPs into the Ituri region of Orientale province, which currently hosts as many as 500,000. This includes up to 347,000 people displaced by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in more than 138 attacks in Upper and Lower Uele districts. The number of IDPs has also increased in Katanga and Maniema, which currently host more than 277,000 and 92,000 respectively. For Katanga, this represents a four-fold increase over the course of the year. There are also 7,000 IDPs in Equateur province.
Despite considerable aid, civilians’ protection risks continue to increase in eastern DRC, with protracted and multiple displacements gradually breaking down social cohesion as communities turn to ethnic and local non-state armed groups for safety. This has fuelled inter-ethnic tension, in which IDPs are directly targeted for perceived allegiance to one party or another to the conflict. The result is a self-perpetuating trend towards ethnic homogenisation, further break down in social cohesion and frequent reprisal attacks against civilians, with fewer and fewer safe havens for IDPs.
Growing mobilisation of local self-defence militias has added to insecurity against a backdrop of weak rule of law and an absence of any real protection. Despite having the strongest mandate of any UN peacekeeping force to date, MONUSCO is widely considered to have failed to provide civilians with sufficient protection on a number of occasions.
Members of all armed actors in DRC continue to act with impunity. Widespread violations include killings, sexual exploitation, abduction, forced conscription of children, forced labour, looting, illegal taxation, plundering and widespread harassment.
IDPs tend to be widely dispersed across large rural areas and in towns and cities, where aid agencies struggle to identify and access them. The levels of assistance IDPs receive depends on whether they are living in “formal” government-recognised camps, informal settlements or with host communities. Returns movements are therefore extremely difficult to monitor, although as many as 450,000 are estimated to have returned during 2012.
Multiple displacement means many IDPs’ coping strategies are at breaking point, and increasing numbers have moved to formal or informal camps in the hope of receiving better assistance. Host communities’ resources have also been depleted, themselves often having been displaced and already saturated with large numbers of IDPs. Years of insecurity have had a devastating impact on peoples’ livelihoods, and food insecurity remains a key challenge.
Safety and security is a serious concern, even in formal camps. In November 2012, rumours of an impending attack saw a camp of more than 50,000 people on the outskirts of Goma empty overnight. Reports also suggest IDPs are frequent victims of gender-based and sexual violence.
Given the generalised insecurity, institutional failure and weak rule of law, the difficulties facing humanitarian agencies are significant. The logistical challenges in attempting to reach an extremely large, mobile and multi-ethnic target group add a further layer of complexity, and IDPs’ needs are not being met.
2012 saw the beginnings of discussion around the development of a national policy on IDPs, but the government currently has no clear national legislation in place to guide its response to displacement. DRC has ratified the Great Lakes Pact, but steps to integrate its provisions into national policy and practice remain limited. The recent entry into force of the Kampala Convention - which DRC has signed but not yet ratified - and the development of a national policy offer key opportunities for strengthening national response.
2012 saw a relative drop in humanitarian funding requests, reflecting a focus on longer-term stabilisation activities. This focus, however, was revised over the course of the year and a total of more than $540 million was provided for humanitarian activities, in part following an emergency appeal which helped to secure 56% of the overall funding requested.
The targeting and delivery of aid does not adequately respond to the needs of IDPs. In particular, better understanding of the impact of multiple displacement is needed to enable a more targeted response, and the provision of aid must become more flexible to enable sustained engagement through the entire cycle of displacement if needs are to be met.
DRC : Fighting between government forces and M23 resume near Goma
(6 September 2013)
On 21 August, heavy fighting between the armed group M23 and the Congolese army resumed near Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In the last few days the shelling of neighbourhoods in Goma and of Gyseni, in neighbouring Rwanda, has killed several civilians and placed the lives of others at risk. One shell also hit the Mugunga 3 IDP camp near Goma, which hosts around 14,000 IDPs.
The United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) has also been targeted by attacks resulting in the death of one peacekeeper and several others being injured. The Intervention Brigade of MONUSCO has an unprecedented mandate for undertaking offensives against armed groups and is backing the DRC government forces against the M23.
This is the third round of fighting between M23 and the Congolese army since November 2012, when the armed group seized the city of Goma for more than a week. Around 140,000 people were displaced and many are still living in IDP camps and sites around Goma. The fighting in May and July 2013 displaced around 5,000 and 4,000 people to Goma and its surroundings respectively. It is as yet is unclear how many people were forced to flee the latest fighting as most of the inhabitants of the villages affected around Goma had already fled previously.
DRC: Thousands flee from renewed fighting as Ban Ki-Moon prepares a visit (31 May 2013)
Renewed fighting between government forces and the armed group M23 broke out last week near the city of Goma, in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Thousands of local residents and IDPs displaced as a consequence of the previous violence in November 2012 have now been forced to flee again, taking refuge in schools and churches or in Sake, 25 kilometres west of Goma.
The Mugunga III IDP camp on the outskirts of Goma was caught in the crossfire, threatening the security and lives of some 13,000 IDPs. Concerned with their safety, the majority of residents fled the camp in the first few days of the conflict.
On Wednesday, M23 agreed to a ceasefire to facilitate a visit from United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who was there to mark the upcoming deployment of the new intervention brigade of the UN Mission in DRC (MONUSCO). The MONUSCO force’s mandate has been expanded to include enforcing peace and protecting civilians, as part of a wider regional framework agreement for peace. While this signals an important first step, a genuine peace process that addresses the roots of the conflict is needed if the 2.6 million IDPs in eastern DRC are to find long-term solutions.
|DRC: Ongoing fighting between M23 rebels and Congolese army displaces the displaced (26 November 2012)
Current fighting between M23 rebel group and the Congolese army near Goma has already displaced about 140,000 people over the last week. As the rebels took control of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, and nearby town Sake, several tens of thousands of people caught up in the conflict were forced to flee. On Sunday, 18 November, the internally displaced persons (IDP) Kanyaruchinya camp of over 50,000 people emptied in just a few hours as the fighting came closer and people fled to Goma and Mugunga IDP camps, in search of safety and assistance.
The situation in the IDP sites in and around Goma is worrying. With humanitarian access to the camps being difficult and the arrival of a significant number of new IDPs to theses camps, camp residents are in dire need of access to drinking water, food and health assistance.
Various international and regional bodies, including the African Union, have highlighted the urgent need for talks between the rebels and the government if further conflict and displacement is to be avoided.
After a truce of three months, fighting between M23 rebel group and the Congolese army resumed on 17 November in Kibumba, at about 30km from Goma. Since April, clashes between M23 and the national army have displaced more than 300,000 people.
LRA-related displacement in central Africa
An end to the emergency, but not to IDPs’ needs
26 September 2013
Since the Lord's Resistance Army first emerged in the 1980s, the group's notorious and brutal violence has displaced an estimated 2.5 million people within and across borders in central Africa. IDMC’s regional overview of LRA-related displacement looks at those living in internal displacement situations as a result of LRA violence in Uganda, South Sudan, DRC and CAR.(...)
Download the Overview English
Download the Map English
As Goma falls to rebels, displaced young girls and boys face increased risk of rape and recruitment
Geneva, November 2012: As Goma falls to rebel group M23, and tens of thousands are forced to flee their homes, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee
Council (NRC) highlight critical concerns regarding internally displaced girls and boys who face an increased risk of rape, abuse and recruitment.
At the weekend, an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp of over 50,000 people emptied in just a few hours as the rebel group closed in and people fled to Goma in search of safety in the city. ‘With 300,000 people displaced by M23 since April, the equivalent of the population of Venice, what we are now seeing is that the fighting between the rebel group and the Congolese army is displacing the displaced again, stretching the coping abilities of an already exhausted community’ says Sebastian Albuja, IDMC’s Head of Africa Department.
With reports that Goma has fallen to M23, its population of up to 500,000 people now caught up in the conflict are facing the risk of being forced from the safety of their homes. IDMC and NRC are particularly concerned about the consequences of the current conflict on children; boys are at increased risk of recruitment and girls are at increased risk of rape, with the majority of victims of sexual attacks in DRC being between 8 and 17, 13.3% are younger than 10. (...)
Read the full press release
What does the future hold for IDPs living in camps in Centre Masisi?
Return, local integration, and settlement elsewhere in the country
For over five years, thousands of displaced people have been living in camps in North Kivu. This report analyses the camps of Bihito, Kalinga, Kilimani, and Lushebere, located in Masisi, a territory especially affected by displacement. In order to gain a better understanding of durable solutions that are suitable for the IDPs living in the camps, this report investigates the causes behind their displacement, as well as their living conditions and their prospects for the future. Finally, it offers concrete suggestions to the actors involved, such as authorities in DRC, as well as international and Congolese organisations that provide assistance and protection to IDPs in the camps and support durable solutions to their displacement.
Summary and recommendations
Download full report (in French)
||IDPs need further assistance in context of continued attacks and insecurity (14 September 2011) HTML | PDF
||République démocratique du Congo: les personnes déplacées internes ont besoin d’assistance supplémentaire dans un contexte d’attaques et d’insécurité permanente (14 septembre 2011) HTML | PDF
Internal Displacement Profile
"Résumé du Profil en Français","Résumé du Profil en Français"
"Causes and Background","Background","Causes of displacement","Overview of displaced populations"
"IDP Population Figures","Number of IDPs","disaggregated by age and sex where data area available","Location(s) of IDP populations"
"IDP Population Movements and Patterns","Population movements (displacement","return and/or (re)settlement as relevant)","Patterns of movement (displacement","return and (re)settlement as relevant)"
"Physical Security and Integrity","Physical security","dignity","mental and moral integrity","Liberty and freedom of movement"
"Basic Necessities of Life","Food and water","Shelter and housing","Medical care and sanitation","Appropriate clothing"
"Property, Livelihoods, Education and Other Economic, Social and Cultural Rights","Land and Property (arbitrary deprivation","inheritance","restitution and compensation)","Primary education and educational programmes","Work and livelihood opportunities and coping strategies","Other economic","social and cultural rights"
"Family Life, Participation, Access to Justice, Documentation, and Other Civil and Political Rights","Respect of family life and fate of missing relatives ","Documentation and citizenship ","Voting and participation in public affairs ","Right to information and participation","including women ","Access to justice ","Other civil and political rights "
"Protection of Special Categories of IDPs (Age, Gender, Diversity)","Gender - Women and Men ","Boys","girls and adolescents ","Indigenous peoples","minorities","peasants","pastoralists and other groups with a special dependency on and attachment to their lands "
"Durable Solutions (Return, Local Integration, Settlement Elsewhere in the Country)","Documented returns","settled locally and settled elsewhere","Prospects for and obstacles to voluntary return","local settlement and settlement elsewhere","Support for return integration and reintegration","National","International"
"National and International Response","International human rights and humanitarian law framework including references to the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement","National Response","Humanitarian access and assistance ","International Response","Recommendations by international human rights bodies"
Previous Profile updates
- Key Documents
- Quel avenir pour les personnes déplacées vivant dans les camps de Masisi centre?, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), February 2012
- Plan d'action humanitaire 2012, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), 6 December 2011
- Final report of the Group of Experts on the DRC submitted in accordance with paragraph 5 of Security Council resolution 1952 (2010), United Nations Security Council (UN SC), 2 December 2011
- Third joint report of seven United Nations experts on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, United Nations General Assembly (UN GA), 9 March 2011
- Democratic Republic of Congo: Past. Present. Future?, Forced Migration Review (FMR), November 2010
- Always on the Run, The Vicious Cycle of Displacement in Eastern Congo, Human Rights Watch (HRW), 14 September 2010
- IASC Cluster Approach Evaluation, DRC, Binder A. and al., April 2010
|IDMC report - February 2012|| |
Quel avenir pour les personnes déplacées vivant dans les camps de Masisi centre?
Retour, intégration locale et réinstallation ailleurs dans le pays
Résumé et recommandations
What does the future hold for IDPs living in camps in Centre Masisi?
Return, local integration, and settlement elsewhere in the country
Summary and recommendations