from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 29 Dec 2010
(New York/Geneva/Kinshasa, 29 December 2010): Expulsions of DRC nationals from neighbouring Angola have increased since 11 December with 1,355 people arriving in Bas-Congo and Kasai Provinces in one week. Many have experienced degrading treatment during the expulsion process, including sexual violence.

"Authorities in both countries must take all necessary measures to ensure that the human rights and human dignity of those expelled are respected," said Valerie Amos, United Nations Under- Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

With these new waves of expulsions, the number of expellees since September 2010 now exceeds 12,000. In September and October, humanitarian actors reported the arrival of 8,296 people in the Luiza and Tshikapa areas of Kasai Occidental Province, 511 people in the Tembo area of Bandundu Province and some 2,000 people in Bas-Congo Province. The majority are DRC nationals.

Humanitarian assessment missions in October and November to the affected provinces found that many of the individuals endured ill-treatment and human rights abuses, including torture; in addition, more than 100 confirmed cases of sexual violence were reported.

Humanitarian partners are providing food, clothes, hygiene kits, medication, as well as psychological assistance to those expelled. A response plan has been developed within the framework of the DRC Humanitarian Action Plan to address the needs of those recently expelled. Additional assistance is urgently required.

"We are seriously concerned by the accelerating pace of expulsions over the last two weeks. Thousands of people are living in deplorable conditions, and the capacity of the humanitarian community is being stretched," said Fidèle Sarassoro, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for the DRC.

Expulsions of illegal immigrants between Angola and the DRC are recurrent. In October 2009, the authorities in both countries agreed to full consultations prior to any expulsions of illegal immigrants and to ensure respect for human rights, including protection and security for those expelled. "These consultations must take place so that protection can be provided to those in need," M. Sarassoro added.

For further information, please call:

OCHA Kinshasa: Médard Lobota, +243 992 906 633, lobota@un.org;

OCHA-New York: Stephanie Bunker, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 347 244 2106, bunker@un.org;

Nicholas Reader, +1 212 963 4961, mobile +1 646 752 3117, reader@un.org,

OCHA-Geneva: Elisabeth Byrs, +41 22 917 2653, mobile +41 79 473 4570, byrs@un.org

OCHA press releases are available at http://ochaonline.un.org or www.reliefweb.int

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.