As national referendum is held, Government must address insecurity in Eastern Democratic Republic Congo

Published: 19 December 2005

As voters take part in a referendum on a draft constitution in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) today, the international community and DRC government must act to end the violence that kills a thousand people every day, said international agency Oxfam International. Oxfam’s DRC Country Program Manager Gordon Kihuguru said that it was vital that any international attention on the DRC highlighted the lack of security plaguing the east of the country, where over 3.8 million people have died since 1998.

As voters take part in a referendum on a draft constitution in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) today, the international community and DRC government must act to end the violence that kills a thousand people every day, said international agency Oxfam International.


Oxfam’s DRC Country Program Manager Gordon Kihuguru said that it was vital that any international attention on the DRC highlighted the lack of security plaguing the east of the country, where over 3.8 million people have died since 1998.

"One thousand people die every day in the DRC as a direct result of the conflict, and over two million have fled their homes,” Oxfam’s Kihuguru said. “Armed groups reign freely throughout the east of the country and the DRC Government is failing to end the terror.”

“People will continue to pay with their lives until donor governments come up with vital funds for food, water and healthcare to reach the millions in need,” said Oxfam’s Kihuguru. “Oxfam works on the ground in the eastern DRC and our staff witness the effects of violence on civilians on a daily basis. Until the DRC government ends the violence perpetrated by armed groups, thousands will continue to be tortured, raped and killed every week,” said Oxfam’s county program manager.

Oxfam is urging the international community to invest more effort and money to immediately improve the protection of civilians and work towards peace. Over $700 million is needed for 2006 alone to build a secure environment ahead of next year’s elections, and to reach 2.1 million people who have been displaced within the country as well as half a million refugees returning from Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

Oxfam said that the DRC government, the UN and donors must work to end the rule of terror by armed groups in the east of the country. The UN's peacekeeping operation (MONUC) must fulfill its mandate and protect civilians.

“The stark fact is that over half the deaths in the DRC are due to preventable and easily treatable diseases such as fever, malaria, diarrhoea, respiratory infections and malnutrition,” said Oxfam’s Kihuguru. “Aid groups are simply unable to reach large numbers of people due to insecurity.”

Contact Information

For more information, please contact:
Eva Smets in DRC on +243 81 348 9309