Monday, July 21, 2008

DRC: 200 hundred ceasefire violations since January

And civilians continue to die in far greater numbers than before the Goma Agreement was reached six months ago. A serious lack of political will on all sides is undermining the agreement.

A new Human Rights Watch communique begins:

"On January 23, 2008, after weeks of talks, the Congolese government signed a peace agreement in Goma, North Kivu, with 22 armed groups committing all parties to an immediate ceasefire, disengagement of forces from frontline positions, and to abide by international human rights law. Following the signing, the Congolese government set up a peace program, called the Amani Program, to coordinate peace efforts in eastern Congo. Yet the government and international donors have provided limited funds to carry out that work.

The agreement failed to halt the fighting. United Nations officials have documented some 200 ceasefire violations since January 23, the majority between the forces of renegade general Laurent Nkunda’s National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) and a loose coalition of combatants from the Mai Mai Mongol, the Coalition of Congolese Patriotic Resistance (PARECO), and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a Rwandan armed group whose leaders participated in the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. The FDLR was not a party to the Goma agreement.

Human Rights Watch also found credible evidence that soldiers from the Congolese national army were supporting the PARECO, Mai Mai Mongol, and FDLR coalition, questioning the government’s commitment to the peace process."

Read the rest here. For victim testimonies, see here.

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