For the past six years Oxfam has conducted protection assessments inNorth Kivu, South Kivu and Province Orientale. The current crisis in easternDRC, including the recent surge in violence, has resulted from years ofinaction at the local, national and international levels to resolve thefundamental security concerns consistently voiced by communities in theseassessments. People feel abandoned and increasingly frustrated by thosewhose duty it is to protect them. It is in desperation that communitiesgenerally expressed a preference for being exploited by state securityservices rather than being subjected to continuous attacks by armed groups.The 2012 assessment shows that men and women still experienceinsecurity in different ways, but for almost everyone Oxfam spoke to,traditional ways of coping with the challenges are under increasing strain.Based on the findings of our assessment, Oxfam urges the governmentof the DRC, regional and international governments, and the UNStabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) to take the followingactions to ensure greater protection for civilians.
The government of the DRC should:
Prioritise security sector reforms that will have the most directimpact on people’s safety,
including tightening command andcontrol systems, improving soldiers’ social and working conditions,and strengthening mechanisms for accountability of commanders andsoldiers;
Deploy (or redeploy) a protective army presence
to those areaswhere troop withdrawals have caused greater insecurity, while closelymonitoring these army rotations;
Urgently address the extortion and violations
committed by thearmy (FARDC) and police (PNC);
Explore non-military means of disarming armed groups
includingcreating economic and social incentives that deter young men from joining or motivate them to leave;
Ensure that state presence (military or civilian) in an area bringsthe intended benefits
to the local population, delivering security andother services that are truly accountable to local people.
Regional and international governments should:
Refrain from providing any support whatsoever
to any armedgroup in the DRC and adhere to the sanctions regime imposed by theUN Security Council;
Support civil society organisations
to hold the state accountablelocally;
Ensure support to aid programmes to improve women’s equal accessto justice and basic services.
‘Since 1994, troops have been coming: RPF [Rwandan Patriotic Front], RCD [Rally for Congolese Democracy],CNDP, M23. None has brought any improvement.’