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 Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora