Abuse of human rights in Congo

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By Godfrey Olukya 24-5-2013

Reports of abuse of human rights are coming up in Democratic republic
of Congo prompting human rights organization to call for all parties to
respect international humanitarian law.

Humanitarian Coordinator Moustapha Soumaré has called for all parties
in Democratic republic of Congo to respect international humanitarian
law after three people were killed and 14 wounded by shells dropped north-west
of the city of Goma.

On Wednesday, three shells reportedly exploded in the crowded neighborhood of
Ndosho, located in the north-west of the city of Goma killing three
people and wounding another ten. The explosions, which took place next
to churches, provoked panic among the population, causing many to flee
towards downtown Goma in search of safer haven.

The previous night, three shells exploded next to Mugunga III IDP camp, about
10 km west of Goma which hosts 13,000 IDPs, wounding four people and
destroying several houses.

‘ I am very concerned with the developments yesterday in Goma’ said
Moustapha Soumaré, the Humanitarian Coordinator in DRC. ‘Civilians
have been injured during military operations because military
positions and military actions are taking place too close to where
civilian populations are located, a violation of International
Humanitarian Law. Civilians should not be mistaken for military
targets. I call on all parties to take all measures necessary to avoid
civilian casualties.’

Thousands of people, including internally displaced persons, have fled
insecurity since fighting resumed on 20 May 2013 between the Armed
Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) and the M23
rebellion. Some have sought shelter in churches and schools in the
center of Goma town, while others have moved towards the city of Sake,
located 25 km west of Goma.

North Kivu, one of the country’s mineral rich province, has been
destabilized for decades by armed fighting, maintaining the population
in a cycle of insecurity and vulnerability.

‘As the humanitarian community, we are extremely concerned about the
protection of civilians and the insecurity which is hindering our
capacity to assist people in urgent need of help. Humanitarian
agencies are calling for total, unimpeded access to those in need’,
added Soumaré.

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