Amnesty calls for action on DRC conflict report

 

Amnesty has called for action from the Government after a new report on the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) found that there was a resurgence in the reports of rape and the recruitment of child soldiers.

The human rights group said that for every two children released, five are taken and forced to be child
soldiers, according to a report on the conflict in the province of North Kivu, eastern DRC.

“Since 2005 Ireland has provided over €20 million in humanitarian assistance to the DRC and members of the Defence Forces are serving with the UN mission (MONUC) as military observers,” said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Irish Section.

“Our report shows that despite an uncertain peace process human rights abuses continue on a shocking scale in the Congo with hundreds of reports of rape and the ongoing recruitment of child soldiers by all parties to the
conflict.”

It said that the former child soldiers, who had been released, were seen as valuable recruits due to their previous experience.

“The more they know, the more they are at risk of re-recruitment. In this case, experience can be deadly,” said Andrew Philip, Amnesty International’s expert on the DRC.

The report said those who tried to escape are killed or tortured, and included was eye-witness testimony of physical and sexual abuse of women and children, often in public.

Amnesty International called on the Government to support the resourcing of MONUC and other humanitarian agencies operating in the DRC, and to assist the DRC government to develop strategies to eliminate violence against women and children.