UN warns world needs to pay more attention to growing violence in east DRC

A top United Nations official has appealed for the global community to pay more attention to the escalating violence in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which is being overshadowed by conflicts in places like Ukraine and Gaza.

Following his visit of a camp for displaced people in Bulengo near Goma, on Wednesday (17 April), the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, said the world is forgetting the conflict in eastern DRC as conflicts continue elsewhere around the world. The humanitarian crisis must be taken “very seriously” to avoid further escalation, Türk said after meeting with displaced people in the camp near Goma that is, however, increasingly threatened by fighting in surrounding villages. “There are a lot of conflicts in the world, and sometimes I have the impression that the situation here is being forgotten,” the UN official said.

His visit comes as the security situation in eastern DRC continues to deteriorate due to intensified fighting between the Congolese security forces and M23 rebel group, the most dominant in the region with alleged links to neighboring Rwanda.

Thousands have been forced to flee their homes amid ongoing attacks by the rebels, leading to what the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says is one of the worst displacement crises in the world. An OCHA report released Tuesday (16 April) stated that since early 2024, more than 738,000 people have been newly displaced in the central African nation, bringing the total to around 7.2 million displaced people.