• 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.

  • Youth activists in Goma, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, call for the release of their colleagues detained in the capital, Kinshasa, on March 18.
    Democratic Republic of Congo authorities should immediately release seven peaceful activists who have been wrongfully detained, some since March 15, 2015.

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Reports

Democratic Republic of Congo

  • May 11, 2015
    Mathieu Ngudjolo, the first defendant to be acquitted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), was deported to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on May 11, 2015.
  • Apr 27, 2015
  • Apr 15, 2015
    Democratic Republic of Congo authorities should immediately release seven peaceful activists who have been wrongfully detained, some since March 15, 2015.
  • Mar 18, 2015
    The arrest of at least 26 activists and others in Kinshasa on March 15, 2015, raises serious concerns of a broader crackdown on free expression before the 2016 Democratic Republic of Congo presidential elections.
  • Mar 9, 2015
  • 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.