Democratic Republic of Congo

 
 

Since 2009, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is working in some of the most severely impacted parts of the DR Congo, to help save lives, promote dignity and reduce the suffering of those affected by conflict and displacement.

Sixteen years after the signing of the 2002 Sun City peace accord which aimed to put an end to four years of war, and despite deployment of the world’s largest UN peacekeeping force, peace continues to elude many parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 120 armed groups– including some from neighbouring Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi – regularly attack the Congolese army and UN peacekeepers, fight with each other, and terrorize civilians in the eastern provinces of Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu, and Tanganyika, and most recently the previously stable central Kasai region as well. Security is extremely poor and human rights violations are omnipresent, including killings, torture, rapes, extortion, kidnappings, abductions and destruction of health clinics, schools, and people’s homes.

A deepening national political crisis is compounding the insecurity as President Kabila’s electoral mandate expired in 2016 and fresh elections have yet to be held. Armed violence, economic instability and the mounting political crisis combine to make the DR Congo the country currently worst affected by displacement in the world, as illustrated by the UN declaring Congo an L3 emergency in 2017, a status only held by three other countries in the world at the moment: Iraq, Syria and Yemen. An estimated 4.3 million people are currently displaced across the country; 1.7 million fled their homes in the year 2017 alone. Many are forced to flee their homes more than once as a result of clashes between armed groups and the security forces, fighting between the armed groups themselves as alliances shift, and human rights violations associated with the conflict.

DRC opened its mission in the DR Congo in 2009, working initially in the northeastern Ituri, Haut-Uélé and Bas-Uélé provinces, and in 2013 moved into the eastern North Kivu province. Throughout this period, DRC has provided education, protection, essential household items and food assistance to the increasing number of people displaced internally by conflict.

Since 2015, DRC has helped over 22,000 children return to school, trained over 800 teachers, and welcomed over 7,000 children and youth in 33 child-friendly spaces through its humanitarian efforts supported by the European Union (ECHO) and the Swiss government’s relief agency (DDC). As of June 2017, DRC has extended into new parts of North Kivu and South Kivu provinces, helping 4,000 students return to school, training 200 teachers and community volunteers on psychosocial counseling for displaced children, and providing more than 1,200 households with essential household items thanks to a UNICEF rapid response programme which DRC jointly implements with other international organisations. DRC has also been training local organisations on taking in and providing psychological care and psychosocial counseling for former child soldiers and children who have survived sexual violence and abuse. With support from UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, in early 2018 DRC launched camp management and legal protection assistance for 35,000 South Sudanese refugees in remote northeastern areas of Ituri and Haut-Uélé provinces.