• The human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo remains grave. Despite a period of optimism in late 2013 that armed violence and attacks on civilians might decrease in eastern Congo, minimal progress has been made to capitalize on these gains. The M23, an armed group whose fighters carried out widespread war crimes during its 19-month rebellion, was defeated in November 2013 after international pressure on the group’s Rwandan backers and the deployment of a United Nations “intervention brigade.”  The intervention brigade is part of the peacekeeping mission, MONUSCO, and has a mandate to carry out offensive operations against armed groups. In the following weeks, several thousand fighters from other armed groups surrendered. However, the government stalled in implementing a new Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) program for former combatants, leaving the former combatants and their dependents to languish in squalid conditions at regroupment sites.

    Numerous armed groups remain active and their fighters continue to carry out brutal attacks on civilians, while few efforts have been made to bring commanders of the M23 and other armed groups implicated in abuses to justice. State security forces have also been responsible for serious abuses, including extrajudicial killings, rapes, and enforced disappearances. While a growing number of soldiers have been arrested and tried for sexual violence and other serious abuses in recent years, impunity remains widespread, especially for senior level officers.

    Political tensions have increased across the country with protests against proposals to change Congo’s constitution and allow President Joseph Kabila to run for a third term. In Kinshasa, the capital, and elsewhere, government authorities have sought to silence dissent with threats, violence, and arbitrary arrests against human rights activists, journalists, and opposition political party leaders and supporters.

  • Paluku Waitswalo, 65, was attacked by unidentified fighters with machetes near Maymoya village in North Kivu province, Democratic Republic of Congo on October 6, 2014.
    Unidentified rebel fighters have killed at least 184 civilians and wounded many others in attacks on villages in Beni territory in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo since October 2014. Such killings amount to war crimes.

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Reports

Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Jan 27, 2015
    Democratic Republic of Congo authorities should immediately provide information on the whereabouts of and any charges against human rights activist Christopher Ngoyi Mutamba, Human Rights Watch said today. Ngoyi is feared to have been forcibly disappeared since his arrest on January 21, 2015.
  • Jan 24, 2015
    The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has used unlawful and excessive force to crack down on protests since January 19, 2015. The demonstrators were protesting proposed changes to the electoral law that many Congolese believed would permit President Joseph Kabila to stay in office beyond his mandated two-term limit.
  • Jan 14, 2015
    Human Rights Watch welcomes the opportunity to review the draft IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining. Below are recommendations based on research conducted by Human Rights Watch in various countries. Human Rights Watch has carried out extensive research on business and human rights issues, including on human rights and mining in India, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Ghana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mali, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Jan 9, 2015
    The United States, Uganda, and the Central African Republic should ensure the prompt transfer of a rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander to the International Criminal Court (ICC). In 2005, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Dominic Ongwen for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
  • Jan 9, 2015
    On January 6, 2015, US military advisers supporting the African Union Regional Task Force in the Central African Republic received the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen into custody. The United States, Uganda – the primary contributor to the AU task force – and the Central African Republic should ensure the prompt transfer of Ongwen, believed to be about 34 years old, to the International Criminal Court (ICC). In 2005, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Ongwen for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
  • Jan 6, 2015
    Congolese authorities should intensify efforts to arrest and bring to justice a rebel commander whose troops have committed vicious killings, mass rapes, mutilations, and child abductions in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Dec 16, 2014
    Unidentified rebel fighters have killed at least 184 civilians and wounded many others in attacks on villages in Beni territory in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo since October 2014. Such killings amount to war crimes.
  • Dec 11, 2014
  • Nov 18, 2014
    Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo summarily killed at least 51 youth and forcibly disappeared 33 others during an anti-crime campaign that began a year ago, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. “Operation Likofi,” which lasted from November 2013 to February 2014, targeted alleged gang members in Congo’s capital, Kinshasa.
  • Nov 17, 2014
    One night in 2013, Jeanne was awakened by pounding on the door of her home in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, she told Human Rights Watch in a soft, sad voice. When she asked who was there, the men outside yelled “Police!” They broke down her door and rounded up all the men in the house and beat them, but let them go once they found Jeanne’s 19-year-old grandson, Joseph, whom Jeanne had helped raise. They dragged her grandson outside the house, shot him three times in the chest, and left him dead in the avenue, covered in blood.