Rwanda, Uganda seeing new arrivals from violence in DR Congo

Briefing Notes, 12 June 2012

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 12 June 2012, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is continuing to cause people to flee to neighbouring countries.

In Rwanda, and to relieve congestion at the Nkamira Transit Centre, a new site has been opened at Kigeme in the country's south. On Sunday UNHCR transferred a first group of 141 refugees there, and a second group of 149 people was moved on Monday.

Kigeme is a tented site. 100 tents, each capable of holding five refugees, have been erected so far, and a further 50 are being put up daily. The site has latrines and a shower block but is limited in size. We have approached the local authorities to seek more land deeper in the forest.

Refugees at Kigeme will have access to local health services, and a health centre is likely to be created inside the camp to provide immediate treatment to the refugees. Refugee children will be able to attend schools run by the local diocese.

The Nkamira Transit Centre is also continuing to see new arrivals. 618 people registered there over the weekend, bringing the camp population to 12,549.

In southwest Uganda, we are seeing steady arrivals at the Nyakabande Transit Centre. Yesterday 205 people registered, and as of last night the registered population there stood at 9,053 people. Most of these new arrivals are people fleeing existing centres for internally displaced people in DRC itself. As in Rwanda we are seeking to move people elsewhere to decongest the transit camp.

Fighting between government troops and renegade fighters in North Kivu since April has left more than 100,000 people displaced, including those who have fled to Rwanda and south-west Uganda's Kisoro district. Since the start of the year, UNHCR has registered more than 22,000 Congolese refugees at the Nyakabande centre in Uganda, where they receive shelter and assistance.

For more information on this topic, please contact:

  • In Rwanda, Anouck Bronee on mobile +250 (0) 78 830 2705

  • In Geneva, Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba on mobile +41 79 249 3483

  • In Geneva, Leo Dobbs on mobile: +41 79 883 6347




A Time Between: Moving on from Internal Displacement in Uganda

This document examines the situation of IDPs in Acholiland in northern Uganda, through the stories of individuals who have lived through conflict and displacement.

DR Congo Crisis: Urgent Appeal

Intense fighting has forced more than 64,000 Congolese to flee the country in recent months.

Donate to this crisis

Congolese Medics on Call For Refugees

Jean de Dieu, from the Central African Republic (CAR), was on his way to market in mid-January when he was shot. The 24-year-old shepherd and his family had fled their country two months earlier and sought refuge on an island in the Oubangui River belonging to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Sometimes Jean crossed back to check on his livestock, but last week his luck ran out when he went to take an animal to market. A few hours later, in an improvised operating room in Dula, a Congolese border town on the banks of the Oubangui, medics fight to save his life.

Jean's situation is not unique. Over the past two years, war in the Central African Republic has driven more than 850,000 people from their homes. Many have been attacked as they fled, or killed if they tried to return. In neighbouring DRC, medical resources are being stretched to their limits.

Photographer Brian Sokol, on assignment for UNHCR, captured the moment when Jean and others were rushed into the operating theatre. His images bear witness to desperation, grief, family unity and, ultimately, a struggle for survival.

Congolese Medics on Call For Refugees

Human Misery in Katanga Province's Triangle of Death

People in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Katanga province have long referred to the region between the towns of Manono, Mitwaba and Pweto as the "triangle of death." Despite the presence of UN peace-keepers and government military successes in other parts of the country, the situation in the resources-rich Katanga has been getting worse over the past two years. Conflict between a secessionist militia group and the government and between the Luba (Bantu) and Twa (Pygmy) ethnic groups has left thousands dead and forcibly displaced more than 400,000 people since 2012, including over 70,000 in the last three months. UNHCR has expressed its "deep concern" about the "catastrophic" humanitarian situation in northern Katanga. The violence includes widescale looting and burning of entire villages and human rights' violations such as murder, mass rape and other sexual violence, and the forced military recruitment of children.

The limited presence of humanitarian and development organizations is a serious problem, leading to insufficient assistance to displaced people who struggle to have access to basic services. There are 28 sites hosting the displaced in northern Katanga and many more displaced people live in host communities. While UNHCR has built some 1,500 emergency shelters since January, more is needed, including access to health care, potable water, food and education. The following striking photographs by Brian Sokol for UNHCR show some of the despair and suffering.

Human Misery in Katanga Province's Triangle of Death

Statelessness Around the World

At least 10 million people in the world today are stateless. They are told that they don't belong anywhere. They are denied a nationality. And without one, they are denied their basic rights. From the moment they are born they are deprived of not only citizenship but, in many cases, even documentation of their birth. Many struggle throughout their lives with limited or no access to education, health care, employment, freedom of movement or sense of security. Many are unable to marry, while some people choose not to have children just to avoid passing on the stigma of statelessness. Even at the end of their lives, many stateless people are denied the dignity of a death certificate and proper burial.

The human impact of statelessness is tremendous. Generations and entire communities can be affected. But, with political will, statelessness is relatively easy to resolve. Thanks to government action, more than 4 million stateless people acquired a nationality between 2003 and 2013 or had their nationality confirmed. Between 2004 and 2014, twelve countries took steps to remove gender discrimination from their nationality laws - action that is vital to ensuring children are not left stateless if their fathers are stateless or unable to confer their nationality. Between 2011 and 2014, there were 42 accessions to the two statelessness conventions - indication of a growing consensus on the need to tackle statelessness. UNHCR's 10-year Campaign to End Statelessness seeks to give impetus to this. The campaign calls on states to take 10 actions that would bring a definitive end to this problem and the suffering it causes.

These images are available for use only to illustrate articles related to UNHCR statelessness campaign. They are not available for archiving, resale, redistribution, syndication or third party licensing, but only for one-time print/online usage. All images must be properly credited UNHCR/photographer's name

Statelessness Around the World

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