Displaced Persons from the DRC
Despite the official end in 2003 of the second Congo War -- said to be the deadliest conflict since World War II -- and the ongoing presence of international peacekeepers, the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) continue to suffer the effects of the destabilization of Congolese society by decades of violence. Of particular concern is the pervasiveness of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, including the use of mass rape as a weapon of war, affecting young and old, women and men. In addition, civilians are subject to looting, forced labor, and forced recruitment, including recruitment of children for labor and sex work which has lasting traumatic impact.
Renewed violence in the east and north-east of the country in 2012 resulted in the displacement of more than 2.2 million people inside the country and the flight of more than 70,000 to neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda; more than 400,000 Congolese refugees remain outside the DRC, many for years. Given the ongoing protection concerns facing many Congolese refugees throughout the region and the lack of prospects for local integration or safe voluntary return for many more, RCUSA welcomes the regional strategy by UNHCR to resettle up to 50,000 Congolese refugees from Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania over the next several years. RCUSA has long advocated for increased resettlement opportunities to safe third countries for Congolese.
To learn more, see these backgrounders and reports:
UNHCR DRC website
DR Congo: Outdated Approach, Misplaced Priorities, Refugees International
DR Congo: M23 Rebels Committing War Crimes, Human Rights Watch
D.R. Congo Fact Sheet, UNHCR
DR Congo: Local Communities on the Line, Refugees International
Photo credit: Women's Refugee Comission