Democratic Republic of the Congo

The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (A/68/878–S/2014/339) issued on 15 May 2014.

On 24 February 2013, as a result of international and regional mediation efforts, the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes region was signed in Addis Ababa by the Democratic Republic of the Congo and 10 regional countries as well as four international organizations. However, hostilities between the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC) and the Mouvement du 23 mars (M23) continued until the military defeat of M23 in November. In the northern part of North Kivu, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) intensified attacks on FARDC and the civilian population, prompting FARDC to respond with the support of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) in early 2014. In addition, the security situation in Katanga Province also deteriorated in the last months of 2013, with systematic attacks on villages by Mayi Mayi Kata Katanga.

The United Nations documented 910 children (783 boys and 127 girls), who had been newly recruited and used by armed groups. Among them, 609 were Congolese, 28 Rwandan, and 5 Ugandan, while the nationality of 268 children remained undetermined. Almost half of the children were reportedly used as combatants, but children were also used as porters, cooks, informants and in other support roles. Most of the girls were subjected to sexual slavery. Armed groups recruiting children included the Mayi Mayi Kata Katanga, Mayi Mayi Simba “Morgan” and other Mayi Mayi groups (297 children), Nyatura (338), the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR) (47), M23 (38), Raïa Mutomboki (37), Forces populaires congolais-Armée Populaire (FPC/AP) (ex-PARECO) (24), Forces de résistance patriotique en Ituri (FRPI) (22), Alliance des patriotes pour un Congo libre et souverain (APCLS) (18), Union des patriotes congolais pour la paix (16), Nduma défense du Congo (NDC)/Cheka (15) and other armed groups (58).

With regard to preventing new child recruits into FARDC during the comprehensive recruitment campaign in 2013, the United Nations separated
113 children, including 79 from training centres to which the United Nations was granted unimpeded access under the action plan process.

At least 136 children were arrested and detained by FARDC for alleged association with armed groups. Of these, 21 children formerly associated with M23 (13 Congolese and 8 claiming to be Rwandan) were arrested in North and South Kivu and transferred to FARDC military intelligence headquarters in Kinshasa. All children except for one were released following advocacy by MONUSCO.

At least 68 children were killed in 2013, compared with 154 documented cases in 2012; and at least 96 were maimed, compared with 113 documented cases in 2012. Most casualties were attributed to Mayi Mayi groups. For instance, on
25 September 2013, in Bulende, North Kivu, NDC/Cheka elements killed six children. In February 2013, Mayi Mayi Kata Katanga killed at least seven children and maimed four others during an attack on Kabwele village, Katanga. Two four-year-old girls were locked into a hut and burned alive, while other children were killed or maimed by arrows and bullets. M23 was responsible for 24 child casualties, mainly during clashes with FARDC. On 11 December 2013, in an attack by ADF in Beni Territory, 11 children, including a two-month-old girl, were severely mutilated and killed with machetes. Finally, FARDC was involved in the killing and maiming of 36 children, predominantly during clashes with armed groups. For example, on 24 July 2013, three children were killed and four maimed when FARDC launched rockets on M23 positions in Rumangabo, North Kivu.

The United Nations verified 209 cases of conflict-related sexual violence against girls, some as young as 4 years of age. Mayi Mayi groups and FARDC were identified as the main perpetrators with 91 and 43 verified cases, respectively. Mayi Mayi Simba “Morgan” elements in Orientale Province raped 59 girls in 2013. For instance, following the rape of 19 girls during an attack on 6 January 2013 in Mambasa territory, 25 girls were raped on 5 February during an attack on Bafwambaya village, Haut-Uélé territory.

Impunity for the perpetrators of sexual violence remained a concern. Of the 209 perpetrators identified, 66 were arrested and 36 were sentenced. Thirty-nine FARDC elements and seven high-ranking officers were also accused of mass rapes and other human rights violations committed in and around Minova, South Kivu, in late November and early December 2012 and are currently undergoing trial before the Operational Military Court of North Kivu Province.

The United Nations verified 95 attacks on schools. ADF were the most recurrent perpetrators, looting 21 schools in Beni territory, North Kivu, followed by FRPI, which looted and damaged 10 schools in Irumu territory, Ituri district. Other incidents were attributed to FARDC, Mayi Mayi groups, including APCLS, Yakutumba, and LaFontaine, FDLR, Raïa Mutomboki, Nyatura and M23. In addition, 25 incidents of military use of schools were reported, including 13 cases by FARDC. Forty-two attacks on hospitals were also documented, including the looting of medical supplies and equipment, affecting the health care of at least 5,000 children in North Kivu and Orientale Province. Seventeen cases were attributed to ADF, nine to FARDC, three to FRPI and two to M23. FARDC were urged by the United Nations to take disciplinary measures against FARDC elements that attacked or used schools or hospitals, as stipulated in the respective directive of 3 May 2013.

Parties to the conflict abducted 147 children (70 girls and 77 boys) in 2013. The abductees were mainly recruited as combatants, or subjected to sexual slavery or forced labour in mining sites controlled by armed groups. The vast majority of abductions occurred in Orientale Province (79) and in North Kivu (77). The most notorious perpetrators were Mayi Mayi Simba “Morgan”, abducting 39 children (27 girls and 12 boys), mainly for sexual slavery, followed by ADF (12 girls and 16 boys) and the FRPI (19 boys and 3 girls). FARDC reportedly abducted nine girls and one boy, as young as six. FARDC elements in Bweremana, North Kivu, and a group of presumed deserters from the same regiment were involved in two separate cases involving the abduction and rape of a total of nine girls.

The United Nations documented 109 security incidents affecting humanitarian access, of which 104 took place in the Kivus, attributed to the Raïa Mutomboki (16), FARDC (14), M23 (4) and the Police nationale congolaise (4) as well as Mayi Mayi and unknown armed groups. In 39 of these incidents, FARDC (12) or armed groups (27) elements physically assaulted humanitarian workers on duty.

A total of 1,722 children (210 girls and 1,512 boys), recruited both in 2013 and previous years, were separated from armed groups and armed forces in 2013. They escaped or were released mainly from Mayi Mayi groups (635), Nyatura (354), FDLR (140), Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) (19), M23 (83) and FARDC (10 in addition to the 113 mentioned above). The United Nations, in close cooperation with the Government of Uganda, was also following up on the status of 96 unaccompanied children among M23 elements who fled to Uganda. Throughout 2013, UNICEF partners have provided assistance to a total of 4,804 children (738 girls and 4,083 boys) formerly associated with armed groups and armed forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In November, my Special Representative visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo to assess the Government’s progress in the implementation of the action plan. On 3 May, the Ministry of Defence issued a directive prohibiting the killing, maiming and, recruitment of, and sexual violence against, children as well as the military use of schools and hospitals, foreseeing disciplinary measures or military prosecution. The same day, the Agence nationale de renseignement issued a directive for children in detention for alleged association with armed groups to be handed over to the United Nations. FARDC has designated child protection focal points to work with the United Nations country task force in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since its establishment in December 2012, the joint technical working group in Kinshasa held 17 meetings and started a national prevention campaign.

Parties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

1.        Allied Democratic Forces (ADF)a,d
2.       Forces armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC)a,c,*
3.       Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR)a,c,d
4.       Front de résistance patriotique en Ituri (FRPI)a,c,d
5.       Mayi Mayi Alliance des patriotes pour un Congo libre et souverain (APCLS) “Colonel Janvier”a
6.       Mayi Mayi “Lafontaine” and former elements of the Patriotes résistants congolais (PARECO)a
7.       Mayi Mayi Simba “Morgan”a,c
8.       Mouvement du 23 mars (M23)a,c
9.       Mayi Mayi Kata Katangaa
10.     Nduma Defence Coalition (NDC)/Chekaa,b
11.     Mayi Mayi Nyaturaa

The parties underlined have been in the annexes for at least five years and are therefore considered persistent perpetrators. (a) Parties that recruit and use children. (c) Parties that commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against children. (d) Parties that engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals.

*This party has concluded an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005).