As 11 Heads of States from Africa’s Great Lakes Region gather in Kampala to discuss the peace process for the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), ActionAid today calls for humanitarian agencies to be given access to communities affected by the violence.
With reports of summary executions, gender-based violence and large-scale recruitment of child soldiers, the aid agency also urges the international community to fully protect the rights of civilians impacted by the fighting in Eastern DRC, and to provide urgent funding to help people to rebuild their lives.
As Goma and Sake fall to M23 rebels and civilians flee their homes amid fierce clashes, ActionAid, along with other agencies, has had to stop work in several communities.
Adelin Ntanonga, ActionAid’s Country Director for DRC said: “The situation is worsening as the efforts of aid agencies are becoming severely disrupted. We are unable to deliver help and reach out to vulnerable people trapped by the conflict.
“We are witnessing an appalling humanitarian crisis that will deteriorate further if we continue to be denied access to the worst affected areas.”
The conflict is severely impacting poor and marginalised people, especially women, young girls and children. In Goma there is little food, clean water or shelter and no medical facilities or power.
As people leave their homes, the fighting has resulted in loss of property, destruction of public infrastructure and equipment, looting of livestock, increased violence against women and girls and human rights violations for both the IDPs and host populations.
Mr Ntanonga continued: “We are calling on the international community to protect civilians’ rights and provide funding to help people to restore and rebuild their lives and livelihoods.”