Rapid protection assessment: DRC/Angola situation
This rapid assessment is intended to provide UNHCR protection and other staff as well as relevant partners with a first understanding of the DRC conflict and its impact on neighboring Angola, the refugee communities and protection issues with a view to facilitating protection work and establishing initial strategic protection priorities.
The assessment synthesizes information collected through key informant interviews with the provincial army commander, provincial border police commissioner, the deputy provincial police commissioner, MINARS directors (Luanda and Lunda Norte), the DRC consular staff, MSF, UNICEF, five refugee committee members as well as eight focus groups with women, men, male and female adolescents in the two refugee reception areas: Cacanda and Mussungue. Since the required protection response mechanisms are not yet in place, including a witness protection program, it is considered inappropriate and potentially harmful to conduct in-depth interviews with the affected population at this stage. The rapid protection needs assessment therefore has limitations and more data should be collected as soon as protection services are properly established in refugee hosting areas and further in the new refugee site.
Mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of surviving refugees
The DRC conflict is brutal and survivors are severely affected psychologically by the atrocities and loss of family members. Women and children continue to arrive with limbs cut off, machete cuts and severe burns and refugees report the rape and killing of children, wives and husbands in villages and en route to the Angolan border. Stark violations are committed and MONUSCO has documented 558 grave violation cases committed against children, including KN militia child recruitment and use, killing and maiming of children and sexual violence (MONUSCO 28 April 2017).
In focus group discussions (FGDs) with women, they reported how men in uniforms would come at night in the villages and ask for money or rape the women and young girls. In addition to the sexual and other forms of violence associated with the current conflict, the prevalence of SGBV remains high in the DRC with 53-68 per cent of women nationally experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) in the form of physical, sexual or psychological violence.
More information on the prevalence and forms of SGBV and other atrocities survived and witnessed by the Congolese refugee population in Angola including mental health, psycho-social wellbeing and protection needs will be gathered over time and during in-depth protection interviews. Mental health and psychosocial rehabilitation needs of SGBV survivors, former child soldiers, children who lost parents and parents who lost children, those who stood witness to brutalities and other survivors are, however, anticipated to be high.