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

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid