News / Africa

Human Rights Watch: M23 Abuses Continue

General Sultani Makenga, military leader of the M23 rebels, looks on while surrounded by his bodyguards at Mutaho, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, May 27, 2013.
General Sultani Makenga, military leader of the M23 rebels, looks on while surrounded by his bodyguards at Mutaho, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, May 27, 2013.
Nick Long
— Human Rights Watch has issued a report documenting recent executions and rapes by the M23 rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as continuing support for the movement from Rwanda.

This is the second major report by Human Rights Watch on Congo’s M23 rebels, and it suggests their record has not improved.

It covers the period since March, when infighting between two factions of M23 resulted in defeat for one of the faction leaders, Bosco Ntaganda, who has since been transferred to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

Under his rival Sultani Makenga’s leadership, the rebels have continued killing and raping, Human Rights Watch said.

"What we’ve documented is that war crimes committed by M23 fighters have continued since March, and those crimes include summary executions of at least 44 people and rapes of at least 61 women and girls, and forced recruitment of scores of young men and boys," commented Ida Sawyer, lead author of the report.

The report said 15 civilians were killed by M23 over two days in April, and another six in June, in reprisals for alleged collaboration with Congolese militias. It said other civilians killed by the movement included a man who refused to hand his sons over to the rebels, a motorcycle driver who refused to give them money, and recruits caught trying to escape.

It also mentioned forcible recruitments of men and boys from the Congo and Rwanda, and torture of prisoners of war, including two who were killed.
 
The researchers collected numerous testimonies to Rwanda’s continuing support for M23, with arms and ammunition, soldiers and recruits still crossing the border.
 
U.N. experts said recently that Rwandan support for M23 had dwindled since last year.
 
"It does appear that the support is more limited than it was last year, but what we have documented in terms of the support is still quite significant," Sawyer said. "Less support of full Rwandan army units crossing the border into Congo, but that support and influence is still very much continuing."
 
M23 was not immediately available for comment on the findings. The movement challenged a similarly damning HRW report last year, claiming the information was unfounded hearsay and rumor, not backed up with names of the victims and witnesses.
 
Human Rights Watch said it did not give names in order to protect its sources from possible harm.
 
"We’re very confident with our findings," Sawyer asserted. "What we’ve included in our report is only the information that we have confirmed with several credible witnesses. We rely on information from eyewitnesses who were present during the events, victims and witnesses to abuses. We do very in-depth interviews with all the people we speak to, to document this, and we don’t include information that we think may be biased."
 
No comments or reactions from the M23 are included in the latest report.
 
Sawyer said HRW had arranged to interview M23 leader Sultani Makenga about its findings, but fighting broke out on the day scheduled for the interview, and he canceled and was then not available for a phone interview.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid