This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
GENEVA, Switzerland, October 24, 2017 – This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva:
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is increasingly concerned by escalating displacement we are seeing in several key regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since 2015 the number of people displaced internally has more than doubled and now stands at 3.9 million people – some 428,000 of these having been displaced in the past three months alone. Over the past year, some 100,000 Congolese have fled to neighbouring countries as refugees. With widespread militia activities, and unrest and violence fueled by ethnic and political conflict affecting many areas, the risk of further displacement is high. The challenges of getting aid to people in need are growing fast.
In the eastern province of Tanganyika, where some 584,000 people are internally displaced, intercommunal conflict between the Twa and Luba groups spilled into neighboring Haut-Katanga province earlier this year. Clashes with the army continue and there is wide prevalence of armed militia. Scores of civilians have been forced to flee, and there have been reports of murders, looting and extortion, and torture or other inhumane treatment. With people finding it difficult to sustain their livelihoods, more are becoming dependent on aid.
Refugees crossing from DRC into neighbouring Zambia are hosted temporarily at the Kenani transit center, close to the border. Over 5,400 people are currently staying at the center, receiving assistance from the authorities, UNHCR and partners. As the rainy season has started, it is becoming urgently important to beef up public health, sanitation and water supplies to prevent diseases. Psychosocial support, as well as care for people with specific needs – some 27 per cent of the refugee population – is also urgently required.
North and South Kivu provinces
Further north in the east of DRC, violence involving mostly local armed groups is also plaguing North and South Kivu provinces. In North Kivu alone, over one million people are displaced. In South Kivu, where 545,000 people are internally displaced, the security situation further deteriorated in September as conflicts escalated between militias and the armed forces in the territories of Fizi and Uvira. Fear is widespread, including among the 30,000 Burundian refugees hosted at Lusenda camp in Fizi.
Congolese from North Kivu have mainly been fleeing to Uganda, and those from South Kivu to Tanzania – usually transiting through Burundi to escape attacks in their villages. Currently, Uganda hosts the largest number of DRC refugees, over 236,500 people, mostly in the south-west. In Tanzania, there were 76,890 DRC refugees as of the end of September.
The Kasai region
Meanwhile, in the Kasai region in central-southern DRC, displaced people and refugees who fled the violence that started over a year ago have begun to return. As of 23 October, over 710,000 people had gone back. Many are finding their property in ruins and family members killed. At present the situation in the Kasai region is far from stable and humanitarian access has only just become possible in many areas.
In total, over 762,000 people are displaced in the Kasai region. In Angola’s Lunda Norte province an additional 27,555 Congolese who have fled the Kasai conflict are being assisted by UNHCR and partners.
UNHCR is coordinating protection activities for the displaced from the Kasai conflict, returnees and other vulnerable civilians. We have also distributed basic relief items and are preparing additional support, particularly for the communities where returns take place.
In light of the situations in these three regions, UNHCR and partners have recently upgraded the situation in Democratic Republic of the Congo to level 3 – the highest level of emergency. UNHCR, as part of this response, will be fulfilling its responsibilities focusing on protection and assistance of the displaced populations, including through leadership of the Protection cluster.
In all, there are today some 621,711 refugees from the DRC in more than eleven African countries. And funding is urgently needed. Of some US$236.2 million required for the needs of refugees, IDPs and other people of concern in the DRC, only US$49.7 million has been received so far – a fifth of the amount required.
At the same time, the number of refugees from neighboring countries seeking refuge inside Democratic Republic of the Congo has grown by a third since early 2016 and now stands at 526,000 people. We continue to see new arrivals from Burundi, the Central African Republic and South Sudan.
Two incidents involving the use of firearms against the homes of Joseph Olengankoy and Alphonse Ntumba Luaba have also recently been reported in Kinshasa.
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, October 23, 2017 – The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) condemns the arrest of many members of the Rassemblement des forces politiques et sociales de la République démocratique du Congo acquises au changement by Congolese defense and security forces yesterday in Lubumbashi, in the province of Haut-Katanga.
The members of the Rassemblement were attending a private meeting at the headquarters of the Union pour la démocratie et le progrès social (UDPS). Three vehicles of the Police nationale congolaise (PNC) surrounded the venue before calling on a commando unit of the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC) to force entry of the meeting venue, where the members of the Rassemblement had barricaded themselves. The defense and security forces proceeded to arrest many individuals.
“I urge the Congolese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release those arbitrarily arrested yesterday in Lubumbashi,” said Maman Sidikou, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of MONUSCO. “I also wish to remind the Congolese authorities of their obligations to respect the fundamental freedoms and civil and political rights of all persons, in accordance with the Constitution and the international obligations of the DRC “.
MONUSCO is deeply concerned by ongoing acts of intimidation against opposition members. Two incidents involving the use of firearms against the homes of Joseph Olengankoy and Alphonse Ntumba Luaba have also recently been reported in Kinshasa.
MONUSCO recalls the primary responsibility of the Congolese authorities to ensure the protection of all citizens under all circumstances, and to take the necessary measures to shed further light on these incidents.
MONUSCO further deplores the restrictions on freedom of movement which have been imposed on Kyungu wa Kamwanza, the national president of the opposition political party Union nationale des fédéralistes du Congo (UNAFEC), who has been under de facto house arrest for several months.
“Such restrictions on fundamental freedoms are incompatible with ongoing efforts to promote dialogue and to establish conditions conducive to the holding of free, credible and independent elections in a timely manner” said Maman Sidikou.
“Once again I urge the Congolese authorities to urgently implement confidence-building measures, and to open up democratic space for all”.
President Joseph Kabila Kabange who has been president since 21st January 2001. Kabila has been elected twice and last in December 2011, also his term ended in November 2016. The Democratic Republic of Congo government has now been 252 days since the last date of the term. There was supposed to be an election, but that never happen.
President Kabila has been registered twice, the United Kingdom and other states has supported aid and donor funds to the Commission Electorale Nationale Independante (CENI) who has also postponed the elections. Kabila has used any sort of problem and militias for his own gain. Even the rebels who are using force to export minerals for weapons, these are bloody cobalt and rare earth minerals.
The Kabila government are afraid of stepping down because of the businesses it owns. The family who are entailed in all sorts of schemes and has made a vast fortune. Kabila doesn’t want it to be taken away and also lose it all. So many other Presidents who has stepped down has lost their fortunes and businesses as the power will go away.
There are reports that Kabila the CENI planning the new date for the election in April 2019, the other estimates are already put into April 2020. The Congolese Authorities are really planning to let the Kabila government be on at least be 833 days of overtime, if the polls are on 1st April 2019. But if it is on the 1st April 2020, the 1199 days overtime are really extreme.
The President is clearly long over his mandate, just like he waited from 2001 to 2006, before he was elected into his first term. So it is not like the President or CENI really cares about the citizens or their rights to be represented by their elected official. Right now, they are hostages to the authorities being in the hands of Kabila. Without an election or polls, without any succession, without honoring the CENCO Agreement of 31st December 2016. The CENCO agreement that states the DRC government was supposed to organize an election during the 2017. An install a new government before 31st December 2017.
The Parti du Peuple pour la Reconstruction et la Democratie (PPRD), the ruling party of the President, are clearly not interested holding the election in 2017, as the President hasn’t signed the CENCO agreement. Therefore, the President will use anyway possible to postpone the election. Kabila wil not hold the election this year. The rumors of either 2019 or 2020 seems likely. It will be like the President get two free terms without elections, as it was with “first” term from 2001 to 2006. Instead, he got elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2011. So the term ended on 20th December 2016.
Still, President Kabila are not elected anymore, he is using the military and the government to his personal gain, instead of being a representative of the people. He is sole president, who should not have the office and has no rights to it. The Congolese people deserves better and also he has no rights to stay over 1199 days without being elected. Peace.