MONUSCO denounces serious abuses by M23, calls for humanitarian access

27 Jul 2013

MONUSCO denounces serious abuses by M23, calls for humanitarian access

Kinshasa, 27 July 2013 – The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, MONUSCO, is highly alarmed over the allegations of killings, forced recruitment and illegal detention of civilians by the March 23 Movement, M23.

MONUSCO has received credible reports indicating that ten people were forcefully recruited by the M23 combatants on 22 July 2013 at Kibumba, in the territory of Nyiragongo, North-Kivu province. Three of the ten victims were reportedly killed by the M23 combatants as they were attempting to escape.

MONUSCO also received reliable allegations that approximately twenty houses were looted by members of the M23 in Kiwanja, located in Rutshuru territory, North-Kivu province, on 24 July 2013. After the looting, members of the M23 allegedly abducted at least forty men accused of participating in the looting and subsequent torching of huts and payment points used by M23 combatants.

Since new hostilities broke out in mid-July with the FARDC, the M23 has been preventing humanitarian access to some towns and areas devastated by the fighting, especially Mutaho. These actions by the rebel group come at a time when many displaced persons are in dire need of humanitarian assistance such as food, shelter, water, health care and sanitation.

"The Mission condemns all serious human rights violations attributed to the members of the M23 and reiterates its call to the M23 to fully respect human rights and international humanitarian law" said Abdallah Wafy, Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in the DRC in charge of the rule of law. Mr. Wafy added: "MONUSCO warns the M23 that it will be held responsible for the fate of anyone it has abducted or forcibly recruited."

MONUSCO reminded that Sultani Makenga and several senior members of the M23 have previously been involved in other serious human rights violations, including the widespread extra-judicial executions perpetrated in Kiwanja on 4 and 5 November 2008.