• 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.

  • United Nations peacekeeper writes notes at a mass grave in Gatumba, August 16, 2004.

    Burundian authorities should hold accountable those responsible for a 2004 massacre of Congolese refugees. More than 150 refugees, most of them women and children, were killed and more than 100 others injured, on August 13, 2004, at Gatumba, in one of the worst ethnically targeted attacks in Burundi since the 1990s. The leaders of the armed group that claimed responsibility have not been brought to justice.

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Reports

Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Oct 1, 2014
    Over 100 demobilized combatants, their wives, and children have died from starvation and disease in a remote military camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo after officials failed to provide adequate food and health care.
  • Aug 14, 2014
    Burundian authorities should hold accountable those responsible for a 2004 massacre of Congolese refugees. More than 150 refugees, most of them women and children, were killed and more than 100 others injured, on August 13, 2004, at Gatumba, in one of the worst ethnically targeted attacks in Burundi since the 1990s. The leaders of the armed group that claimed responsibility have not been brought to justice.
  • Jul 10, 2014
    It was a warm, sunny Sunday, July 6, and the Netherlands was celebrating the victory of its football team in the quarter finals of the World Cup. Hardly anybody was paying attention as the Dutch authorities put three Congolese men, whose asylum applications had been turned down by the Netherlands’ highest court a week earlier, on a plane and sent them back to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. When they arrived in Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, the men were immediately taken to prison.
  • Jul 4, 2014
  • Jul 4, 2014
    The Netherlands’ State Secretary of Security and Justice should use his discretion to delay the deportation of three International Criminal Court (ICC) witnesses, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to State Secretary Fred Teeven. On June 27, 2014, the highest Dutch court, the State Council, denied the witnesses’ asylum requests and authorized their return to the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo).
  • Jul 2, 2014
    Congolese forces and United Nations peacekeepers failed to intervene to stop a nearby attack that killed at least 30 civilians. The attack was in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s South Kivu province on June 6, 2014.
  • Jun 11, 2014
  • Jun 10, 2014
    The Democratic Republic of Congo and other governments attending the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict should make concrete commitments to justice for Congolese victims, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Global Summit is being held in LoAnchorndon from June 10 to 13, 2014.
  • Jun 10, 2014
  • Jun 9, 2014
    The International Criminal Court's confirmation of 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity charges against the warlord Bosco Ntaganda should pave the way for broader justice in war-torn eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.