DR Congo

DR Congo: Returns outnumber new displacements in the east

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Despite successful elections held in the second half of 2006 and an overall increase in the level of stability, over a million people remained displaced in the east of the the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as of March 2007. Operations by Congolese armed forces to disarm militias, as well as human rights violations committed by both these forces and the militias, continued to cause frequent displacement in eastern provinces. But overall the scale and intensity of conflict have considerably decreased over the last few years, and far more people are returning home than are fleeing. Upon their return, however, IDPs often find their villages completely destroyed, and most of them receive little or no assistance to rebuild their lives. According to UNHCR, there is an urgent need for a national strategy outlining the rights of returning IDPs and refugees, and facilitating their reintegration.

Since the mid-1990s, millions of Congolese have fled their homes to escape fighting between rebel groups and the national government in a complex conflict which has involved neighbouring states as well. Close to four million people are estimated to have died as a result of the conflict which has been accompanied by widespread human rights violations, including the killing of civilians, widespread sexual violence against displaced and other women, child recruitment and looting and burning of IDP possessions. Displacement peaked in 2003, with an estimated 3.4 million people forced from their homes, most of them in the east.

Full Internal Displacement Profile

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