"Developments in eastern Congo continue to be a cause of great concern, particularly since the number of civilians now living as refugees is steadily increasing. It is of the utmost importance that the parties comply with the ceasefire in place around Goma, that the fighting ends and that the existing agreements for stabilisation and peace are respected and implemented," says Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson.
"Sweden is prepared to quickly provide additional funds amounting to some SEK 40 million to a humanitarian situation that is already strained," says Ms Carlsson.
The peace and stabilisation process in eastern Congo has severely deteriorated since August, primarily because of clashes between the FARDC government forces and the CNDP rebel group. In the last week, the situation has grown even worse. The CNDP controls the town of Rutshuru and also threatens to capture Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.
The humanitarian situation is very serious, not least around Goma, where tens of thousands of internally displaced persons have taken refuge. Due to the continued chaotic situation, the figures vary, but there may be as many as 135 000 internally displaced persons around Goma city alone. Since the end of August, some 250 000 new refugees have arrived, and in all there are some 1.4 million internally displaced persons, most of them in the Kivu provinces.
At the same time, there are reports that international humanitarian organisations have now gained a certain amount of access to CNDP-controlled areas. This means that some progress has been made, but the need to guarantee access to those in distress remains extensive and the situation can change very quickly. Several countries have announced that they are prepared to contribute additional funding. Sweden is prepared to provide additional funds amounting to some SEK 40 million. Of this, SEK 10 million can quickly be allocated to the UNHCR.
The Government supports the international initiatives now being taken. At the summit in Kenya's capital Nairobi, attended also by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, demands were again presented that existing agreements on a ceasefire are complied with and that necessary aid is allowed to be delivered.
Sweden is currently a major donor to humanitarian and reconstruction operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. So far this year, Sweden has provided SEK 220 million in humanitarian aid.
Press Secretary to Gunilla Carlsson
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