March 25, 2023

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DR Congo: The public is at risk from the renaissance of the M23

(Coma) – Congolese security forces and the M23 armed group must reduce civilian casualties as clashes resume in the east. Democratic Republic of the Congo, Human Rights Watch said today. In the past, fighting between the government and rebel forces has resulted in widespread abuse of civilians and protracted humanitarian crises.

Armed conflicts erupt in North Kivu province from May 22, 2022 Restricted Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes in the face of the largest attack by M23 rebels against government forces in a decade. On May 25, fierce fighting broke out Achieved The suburbs of the provincial capital, Coma. Conflicts in eastern DR Congo are governed by international humanitarian law, which includes Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Convention, which prohibits abbreviated executions, rape, torture, forced recruitment and other forms of abuse.

The M23 armed group has been responsible for numerous atrocities in the past, and renewed fighting in northern Kiev raises serious concerns about the safety of civilians in the region. “, He said Thomas Fessie, DR Congo’s senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. “ All parties, including the rebel forces, the security forces of DR Congo and its neighbors, and the United Nations peacekeeping force, are bound by international law to protect civilians.

Since the war began again, the governments of Rwanda and DR Congo have blamed each other for the fighting. Rwanda Said The Congolese army fired rockets at its border. Many civilians were injured and property damaged . DR Congo Insisted Rwandan Security Forces (Rwandan Defense ForceRDF) actively participated in the fight with the M23.

DR Rwanda has accused the Congolese military of collaborating with the Democratic Liberation Army (FDLR), the Hutu-majority Rwandan armed group operating in the Congo. Rwandan forces and They abducted two of their soldiers who were on patrol At the border. On May 29, the Congolese military spokesman Said Congolese army detains two Rwandan soldiers “ Captured […] By the people .

Extended Joint Verification Mechanism (JVCM) for the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Noted That he is preparing a report on the situation. MCVE should make its findings public, Human Rights Watch said.

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A farmer from the village of Kibumba, about 20 kilometers north of the coma where some fighting took place, said of the return of the M23: “ No one cares how people suffer under their domination, more of the dead youth … I do not think they can change the way we treat them, we can not expect good from them.

Human Rights Watch was there before Documented War crimes committed by M23 rebels Supported Rwanda and Uganda occupied large parts of the province of North Kivu in 2012. In 2013, government forces with the support of the UN briefly captured the city of Coma, M23, to drive out its fighters to Rwanda and Uganda. Briefly implemented Dozens of civilians, many women and girls were raped and hundreds of men and boys were forcibly recruited.

First, the M23 armed group consisted of soldiers who participated in an uprising within the Congolese National Army in April and May 2012. Navi Pillai, then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights To describe Leaders of the M23 “ Among those involved in the worst human rights abuses [RD Congo] And in the world too .

Among them was General Bosco Nakanda Sentenced Colonel Sultani Mahenka, who is said to have led the May attack, as well as another armed group ordered by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Was with the Congolese authorities Given Arrest warrants for Magenga and other M23 commanders in 2013. The extradition requests sent to Rwanda and Uganda were never followed.

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Regional attempts to loosen M23 fighter jets have failed in the last 10 years. The team has Woke up again In November 2021, the Congolese army attacked military units, including accusations that President Felix Cicedi’s administration did not respect existing peace agreements, including a general apology to the group’s junior members. However, there is no obligation on these agreements to hold those responsible for the worst human rights abuses.

Tensions escalated as Kenya held its first round in late April, following further M23 attacks in March. Discussions Between DR Congo and several armed groups. DR Congo has expelled M23 delegates from the conversation, accusing the group of fighting back on the ground. Just days before the talks began and DR Congo joined the East African community, the member states of the regional organization Agreed Creating a regional force to fight rebel groups in eastern DR Congo.

With the support of the African Union and the United Nations, Human Rights Watch has called for any new round of talks to include mobilization of armed groups and ways to hold accountable perpetrators of past heinous crimes.

In DR Congo, the hate speech and stigma of communities affiliated with certain neighboring countries is increasing and is sometimes linked to government officials. Government spokesman Patrick Muya condemned the move Video Is spreading on social media, in which North Kivu Deputy Chief of Police Franோois-Xavier Abba Van Aung encourages residents to grab knives because “ The war against the enemy must be popular However, Human Rights Watch is not aware of any disciplinary action being taken against Van Ang.

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Many foreign forces have been involved in military operations against armed groups in eastern DR Congo. The CCD has called on Ugandan forces in the Northeast to launch a joint military operation against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Ugandan-led Islamic militant group. Burundian troops have infiltrated the southern province of Kivu against the rule of law (RED-Tabara) of the Burundian Armed Forces. Human Rights Watch says the United Nations’ consolidation mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), which provides military support to Congolese government forces, should help civilians in need of protection.

On May 30, Senegal President Maggie Sol, President of the African Union, Said After talks with President Czechoslovakia and Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Angolan President Joao Lawrence, He led mediation efforts in his capacity as President of an international conference in the Great Lakes region.

Human Rights Watch says current hostilities in eastern DR Congo should not prevent the CCD administration and its neighbors from providing justice for the abuses of previous armed conflicts in the Congo.

The failure of governments in the region to bring justice to commanders from all sides involved in past atrocities raises concerns about the safety of civilians in future conflicts. “, Thomas Fessie confirmed.” Governments that aid abusive armed groups such as the M23 run the risk of becoming complicit in their crimes.