The United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) in the Democratic Republic of Congo has condemned the attack on Tuesday, March 8, by combatants of the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) on Kilo-Mission in Djugu territory of Ituri province which led to the deaths of 16 civilians, most of whom were displaced persons who had taken refuge in a Catholic church.
“Attacking civilian refugees in a place protected by the Geneva Conventions is unacceptable and constitutes a war crime exposing its authors to national and international pursuits,” UNJHRO said in a statement.
The UNJHRO called on the DR Congo authorities to urgently reinforce the protection of civilians in the territories affected by conflict in Ituri and ensure the security of displaced persons who are targets of CODECO.
“Independent and efficacious investigations must be carried out on this attack as well as those against sites for displaced persons documented by the UNJHRO in Ituri since November 2021 in order to prosecute those responsible for these serious crimes,” the UN agency said.
In Jan. 2022 alone, 571 violations and human rights abuses were recorded in DR Congo and 83 per cent of these violations were committed in the provinces affected by conflict which saw 473 violations resulting in the deaths of at least 215 civilians including 181 men, 27 women and seven children.
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