GENEVA / DRC VIOLENCE

20-Feb-2018 00:01:15
As violence continues to escalate in the Tanganyika province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) issued a strong warning today about the impending large-scale humanitarian disaster that will result. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / DRC VIOLENCE
TRT: 01:15
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 20 FEBRUARY 2018, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
RECENT - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, Palais des Nations exterior

20 FEBRUARY 2018, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, briefing room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrej Mahecic, Spokesperson, United Nations High Comissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“A humanitarian disaster of extraordinary proportions is about to hit the south-eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as the province of Tanganyika plunges further into violence, triggering spiralling displacement and human rights abuses.”
4. Med shot, journalist
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrej Mahecic, Spokesperson, United Nations High Comissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“People fleeing for their lives near the provincial capital Kalemie have shared stories of horrific violence during attacks against their villages, including killings, abductions and rape.”
6. Med shot, journalist
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrej Mahecic, Spokesperson, United Nations High Comissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“We call on the Congolese authorities to ensure the protection of the civilian population, to effectively follow-up any reports of crimes attributed to the armed forces and to put an end to the perception of impunity related to human rights abuses. The violence spreading across Tanganyika, which is three times the size of Switzerland with a population of some three million, has now internally displaced over 630,000 people.”
8. Various shots, journalists
STORYLINE
As violence continues to escalate in the Tanganyika province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) issued a strong warning today about the impending large-scale humanitarian disaster that will result.

Speaking to reporter in Geneva today, UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said a humanitarian disaster of “extraordinary proportions” as violence in Tanganyika was triggering “spiralling displacement and human rights abuses.”

UNHCR reported that several areas of the province have seen atrocities and mass displacement, due to entrenched intercommunal conflicts between the Twa, the Luba, and other ethnic groups. In addition, fierce clashes between the Congolese armed forces and militias have continued since the end of January, while new armed groups threaten to wreak more havoc in the province.

Mahecic said, “People fleeing for their lives near the provincial capital Kalemie have shared stories of horrific violence during attacks against their villages, including killings, abductions and rape.”

UNHCR said its partners in DRC have documented some 800 protection incidents in Tanganyika, which include murders, abductions, and torture, in the first two weeks of February alone. UNCHR described this as an upwards trend in a region already wracked by violence since last year.

Throughout 2017, UNHCR partners documented over 12,000 reports of human rights violations in Tanganyika and the nearby area of Pweto in the Haut Katanga province, to where the conflict has spread. However, UNHCR fears that the number of the people affected by the violence could be much higher since many areas were too dangerous to reach.

UNHCR expressed particular concern over sexual violence in the region. Despite access challenges and the prevailing stigma for those affected, UNHCR’s partners managed to record 523 cases of sexual and gender based violence in Tanganyika and in Pweto, referring survivors to medical services, judicial assistance and psychosocial support. About half of them were children.

Mahecic said his Agency calls on the Congolese authorities to ensure the protection of the civilian population, “to effectively follow-up any reports of crimes attributed to the armed forces and to put an end to the perception of impunity related to human rights abuses.” He said the violence spreading across Tanganyika, “which is three times the size of Switzerland with a population of some three million, has now internally displaced over 630,000 people.”

UNHCR said the number of displaced has nearly double from the 370,000 who were displaced within Tanganyika in December 2016.
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