Amnesty International’s mission ended with a week long visit to Goma and other areas of North Kivu, from where we were unable to provide a daily blog for security reasons. Our team met with local human rights activists, representatives of MONUC, UN agencies and a number of international humanitarian NGOs, and were able to gain further eyewitness testimony of recent killings and other human rights abuses.
We held detailed discussions about our human rights concerns with General Mayala, commander of the North Kivu military region, Laurent Nkunda, leader of the CNDP armed group, and representatives of PARECO / mayi-mayi armed groups. Despite at time vigorous exchanges, however, all these people denied that their forces had committed human rights abuses.
Our overriding impressions are of a situation where killings and other war crimes are continuing on a daily basis, of a national army that is many cases outside effective command and control, where large quantities of government arms have fallen into the hands of the CNDP, of where one in four of North Kivu’s population is now displaced and living in fear, and a MONUC force that is overstretched to the point where it is unable satisfactorily to protect civilians.
We will be presenting the findings of our mission, including testimonies gathered, as quickly as possible. Many thanks to all those who have followed our blog.