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News > Democratic Republic of Congo

DRC: Violence Threatens Three Million Displaced Children

  • DRC displaced families in a temporary reception center.

    DRC displaced families in a temporary reception center. | Photo: Twitter/ @JoeEEnglish

Published 19 February 2021 (17 hours 12 minutes ago)
Opinion

In the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a succession of brutal attacks has forced entire communities to flee.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Friday denounced that over three million displaced children are at high risk due to the operation of armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

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“Displaced children know nothing but fear, poverty, and violence. Generation after generation can think only of survival,” UNICEF Representative for the DRC Edouard Beigbeder lamented.

“Yet the world seems increasingly indifferent to their fate. We need the resources to continue helping these children have a better future.”

In the east of the country, a succession of brutal attacks, performed by irregular fighters who are armed with machetes and heavy weapons, has forced entire communities to flee.

So far, at least 5.2 million people have been forcibly displaced in the DRC, which makes it the country with the second-highest number of internally displaced persons after Syria.

Some of the families displaced by the violence live in overcrowded informal settlements where there is no clean water, medical care, or other essential services. Others displaced have been taken in by local communities which themselves live in a situation of poverty.

Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu, and Tanganyika, which are the provinces most affected by armed conflict, are home to over eight million people who survive amid acute food insecurity.

The UNICEF report also presents testimonies of children who were recruited by local militias and suffered sexual abuse. In the first half of 2020, reports of violations of their human rights increased by 16 percent compared to the same period of the previous year.

The northeast of the DRC has been mired for years in a long-running conflict fueled by dozens of national and foreign armed groups. This happens despite the presence of over 15,000 troops from the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

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