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The Forum of International NGOs in the DRC Calls Attention to the Alarming Deterioration of the Humanitarian Situation in Eastern DRC, Particularly in Goma and Calls for International Action




Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo -

Following the visit to Goma of a delegation of ambassadors and diplomats to the DRC, the Forum des Organisations Non Gouvernementales Internationales en RDC (FONGI-RDC) thanks the diplomats for their commitment and the importance of their visit in highlighting the critical urgency of the humanitarian situation in eastern Congo, and in particular the consequences of the escalating conflict in North Kivu between government forces (FARDC) and the M23.

On behalf of the 124 member organizations of the Forum and their partners, Luc Lamprière, Director of FONGI-RDC, expresses the gratitude of the NGOs to the ambassadors for their visit, which bears witness to the seriousness of the volatile situation faced on a daily basis by NGOs active in Eastern DRC: "We sincerely appreciate the international solidarity shown on behalf of the diplomatic community in DRC by the diplomats who took part in this visit.

Their presence in Goma is a poignant testimony to the humanitarian crisis that we cannot ignore. The protection of civilians, subjected to unprecedented violence and forced displacement, must be an absolute priority."

**Deteriorating Humanitarian Situation

FONGI-RDC is particularly alarmed by the rapid deterioration in the living conditions of displaced people. "IDP camps, which have become militarized zones, are no longer safe havens. The increased presence of armed groups increases the risk of violence and severely limits access to humanitarian aid by restricting the movements of humanitarian actors," emphasizes Lamprière. This worrying and effective militarization of camps and sites - with the often uncontrolled presence of armed men and the proximity of displacement sites and military installations - is a violation of international humanitarian law and exposes civilians to even greater dangers.

Respect for humanitarian principles:

FONGI-RDC strongly insists on the need for all parties to the conflict to respect universal humanitarian principles, human rights, and the centrality of civilian protection in all territories under their control in North Kivu and the provinces of South Kivu and Ituri. "Every armed actor must adhere strictly to international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Civilians, wherever they may be, must be protected against violence, forced displacement and attacks on their dignity," says Lamprière.

Access Problems and the Need for International Action:

The situation is exacerbated by increasingly restricted humanitarian access. Blocked roads and active conflict zones prevent organizations from reaching the most vulnerable. Intervention conditions that respect humanitarian principles are threatened on a daily basis. "We call for international mobilization to guarantee safe and unhindered passage for humanitarian aid. It's a matter of life and death for thousands of people," insists Luc Lamprière.

**Ceasefire - Deep causes

**

FONGI-RDC also supports calls for strict compliance with international laws to protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian aid. It also stresses the importance of the international diplomatic community ensuring that commitments made in the various peace processes are respected.

The International NGO Forum calls for an immediate ceasefire and asks the international community to support this appeal. "A ceasefire is crucial, not only for the safety of civilians, but also to ensure that the necessary aid can reach those in urgent need without hindrance", it states.

In conclusion, while expressing its gratitude to the international delegations for their visits to Eastern DRC, FONGI-RDC urges immediate and concerted action by the international community to address this rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation and its immediate and underlying causes.

At a time when MONUSCO's disengagement from the DRC is underway - its withdrawal from South Kivu is scheduled for the end of April - this vigilance on the part of diplomatic actors regarding the protection of civilians in the East of the DRC is particularly crucial for NGOs, which go beyond the emergency humanitarian response and also carry out peace-building, protection and other activities built up over time, and remain and will remain committed on a daily basis to be the side of affected communities and populations.

"We are at a critical point; a strong and immediate international mobilization is needed to prevent a humanitarian tragedy on a much larger scale," concludes Luc Lamprière.

 

***For further information on this communication, please contact Luc Lampriere: representant@forumongi-rdc.or g

The Forum des ONG Internationales en RDC is an independent body representing over 124 international non-governmental organizations (INGOs). Forum members cover all the country's provinces, and work in all humanitarian, development and peace-building sectors.

ENDS

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