THE BRUTAL VIOLENCE IN EASTERN D.R. CONGO HAS GONE ON FOR TOO LONG - ASSISTANT SECRETARY-GENERAL KANG
GENEVA, Switzerland, May 31, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Kyung-wha Kang, ended her four-day visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in Mulamba, a remote village in the eastern province of South Kivu, where humanitarian actors are assisting people who have fled armed violence and settled around the village, and with host families, in recent months.
Ms. Kang met representatives of the internally displaced people (IDP) and host communities, who all appealed for peace. At a food distribution site she talked with displaced women who sought immediate emergency assistance to allow for their families to have shelter and food and for their children to be able to go to school.
In South Kivu, she also visited the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu founded by Dr. Denis Mukwege. Panzi specializes in medical and psychological treatment and legal assistance for women and girls who have survived rape and other sexual violence. With the Humanitarian Coordinator for the DRC, Mr. Moustpha Soumaré, she met with Dr. Mukwege and his staff, who expressed deep concern with the spike in sexual violence since 2012. Ms. Kang and Mr. Soumaré conveyed their solidarity with Dr. Mukwege who expressed his earnest hope for peace to prevail in eastern DRC and stressed the urgent need to put an end to the brutal violence that has gone on for too long.
While North Kivu has recently grabbed international attention, South Kivu is no less worrisome: attacks on helpless villages and looting, burning of houses, killings and sexual violence continues. There are more than 700,000 IDPs in South Kivu.
"We need continued support for the humanitarian response in all of eastern DRC, and we should not lose sight of the terrible humanitarian situation in South Kivu,” Ms. Kang said.
In Goma, North Kivu, she appealed Tuesday for an “end to the horrors” of the humanitarian crisis that has been ravaging eastern DRC for some 20 years.
Her visit to the DRC came as the country is receiving heightened international attention. To her interlocutors, she emphasized that the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Great Lakes Region has revived the hope that the leaders of the DRC and countries in the region will do their utmost to deal with the root causes of the prolonged conflict and bring lasting peace to the long-suffering people of eastern DRC. Ms. Kang said that all actors and stakeholders must fully invest in this vital chance at peace.
“There can be no human welfare, human dignity or human rights in this prolonged state of insecurity and violence,” Ms. Kang said before leaving for Uganda, where she is due to discuss the regional ramifications of the persisting humanitarian crisis with senior UN officials working in the DRC and in neighbouring countries.