World Humanitarian Day (August 19)
The Banyamulenge in the DR Congo need help
On the occasion of the World Humanitarian Day (August 19), the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) demanded effective measures to help the threatened minority of the Banyamulenge in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo). Despite threats from various sides, the linguistic minority – which has settled mainly in South Kivu – has so far been left completely on its own: “The Banyamulenge have now been suffering from the terror of militia groups. Their villages are systematically burned down, and the people are physically attacked. So far, they have not received any help,” stated Nadja Grossenbacher, STP expert on genocide prevention and the Responsibility to Protect.
According to estimates, there are around 120 armed groups operating in the east of the DR Congo – including the infamous rebel group M23. A recently leaked UN report states that this militia group can rely on support by the neighboring state Rwanda. The STP had already drawn attention to these allegation months ago. “Germany and Rwanda maintain a good relationship. Thus, the German Federal Government should try to exert influence on the government in Kigali,” Grossenbacher added. “This could help to alleviate the humanitarian situation in the settlement areas of the Banyamulenge a little.”
Other militia groups finance themselves relying on Coltan mines in areas under their control. Among others, a German company is accused of buying coltan (in order to produce tantalum powder) from “Eagle Wings Resources International”. UN experts are accusing this company of illegally purchasing this raw material from the DR Congo. “If Germany is not willing to make do without problematic raw materials from the DR Congo out of solidarity with the local people, there should at least be humanitarian aid for the victims of the militias,” Grossenbacher emphasized. “Due to their ethnicity, the Banyamulenge are especially prone to become victims of frequent and systematic attacks.”
Originally, the UN Mission MONUSCO was supposed to stabilize the region. However, it has not lived up to its mandate for years. According to the Banyamulenge, the UN troops were informed about impending attacks on the villages – but did not do anything to stop them.”