Comment by UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Marta Hurtado on DRC

OHCHR

“We are appalled by the latest killings of civilians in North Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where unabated violence is taking a heavy toll on the local population.

From 28 to 30 November at least 40 civilians were allegedly killed by the M23 armed group in Kishishe village, 70 km north of Goma, during and after clashes with other armed groups including the Mai Mai, FDLR and Nyatura. Reports say some were killed in their own homes, others at a church where they had sought refuge and some died fleeing the hostilities. We fear that the number of civilian casualties might be higher, as dozens of people are still unaccounted for.

The UN Joint Human Rights Office in DRC has launched an investigation to verify the facts. We call on the authorities to follow suit and launch a thorough, impartial, transparent and effective investigation into these events with a view to hold those responsible to account. The Joint Human Rights Office stands ready to support such investigations.

The gravity of the attacks underlines the security vacuum in these areas. We encourage the authorities to take immediate measures to protect civilians in all areas affected by insecurity, and especially in North Kivu.

We urge M23 to stop attacking civilians and to allow the delivery of assistance to all affected communities, including in areas under their control.

We also echo the UN Secretary-General’s call for all Congolese and foreign armed groups to immediately lay down weapons and to join the respective demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration or repatriation processes.”

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