The human rights situation across the Democratic Republic of Congo remains dire, with more than 5.2 million people internally displaced and nearly a quarter of the population in severe food insecurity. About 120 armed groups are active in eastern Congo. Many of their fighters and often abusive government security forces have carried out massacres, kidnappings, sexual violence, recruitment of children, and other attacks on civilians – often with near total impunity. Repression against activists, journalists, politicians, and peaceful protesters escalated in 2020, after some initial positive steps during President Felix Tshisekedi’s first year in office, including the release of political prisoners. The collapse of Tshisekedi’s alliance with former President Joseph Kabila’s coalition in December 2020 may create new opportunities to push forward with stalled reform efforts, including to advance the rule of law and democratic governance and to end the cycles of violence, abuse, corruption, and impunity.

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