DRC: UN Calls for End to Violence in Kasai
United Nations Stabilization Mission in DR Congo, June 1, 2017
Kinshasa, June 2, 2017 – The crisis in the Kasai provinces, located in the center of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has a disastrous impact on local communities. The United Nations is concerned about the continuation of the crisis and the consequences for the survival of the populations. More than one million people are displaced today due to the violence in this part of the DRC. Most of them live in deplorable conditions, without access to health care, food or drinking water.
Instability and violence have an impact on the functioning of many basic services. Health centers were destroyed during the fighting and can no longer be supplied with medicines. Medical staff can no longer go to their workplace and entire communities no longer dare to move to their health center. In Central Kasaï province, one health center out of three is no longer functional. In addition, 639 primary and secondary schools were destroyed or attacked by militiamen in the provinces of Central Kasaï and Kasaï. In some cases, teachers were directly targeted. The United Nations estimates that in Central Kasaï more than 35,000 children have been affected by attacks, occupations and the closure of schools due to external threats.
” The United Nations strongly condemns these attacks and calls on all parties involved in the violence in the Kasai to respect the health centers and schools as zones of peace ,” said the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic Of Congo, Mother Sidikou.
Children are disproportionately affected by the conflict. They are exposed to extreme risks of violence. The United Nations has documented more than 500 cases of children, girls and boys, being used as humanitarian fighters or shields by militia, resulting in a significant number of casualties among them during clashes between militias and security services. This year, at least 58 children were killed and 46 injured as a result of the conflict in the region.
“The recruitment of children and their use as human shields by militias is an unacceptable violation of the rights of children and must immediately cease. The perpetrators must be brought to justice,” recalled the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in the DRC, Mother Sidikou.
The United Nations emphasizes that the protection of civilian populations is the subject of great attention through the adoption of international and national laws. They therefore call on the Congolese defense and security forces to act in accordance with the principles of international humanitarian law and other legal instruments and strictly necessary and proportionate use of force in clashes between militias and armed forces.
For more information on the UN Country Team and the Joint Technical Working Group on Children in Armed Conflict: Florence Marchal, United Nations Joint Office, firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail) ; +243 99 70 68 804