Conflict in Eastern DRC forces thousands into Uganda — refugee-led organizations are ready to provide support

Tens of thousands of people living in the North Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been forced to flee their homes following heavy fighting between March 23 Movement (M23) rebels and the DRC army in Tshanzu and Runyoni, as well as attacks on Masambo and Ngingi thought to be carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Islamist rebel group. 

We are appalled at this latest string of attacks on civilians in Eastern DRC and call for all possible peaceful efforts to bring an immediate and lasting end to violence in the region. We also welcome the rapid efforts of the Ugandan Government, UNHCR, and local and refugee-led civil society to welcome the Congolese people who have been forcibly displaced into the neighboring country. 

The Kivu Security Tracker (KST) of the Congo Research Group estimates over 120 armed groups vying for control across the four eastern DRC provinces of Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu, and Tanganyika. Stalled peace accords, an uneasy start to a new disarmament program by the DRC government, and regional diplomatic tensions between Uganda, Rwanda, and DRC have all contributed to the continued instability in the region.

According to the UNHCR, more than 10,000 people have crossed the border into neighboring Uganda to seek safety, and tens of thousands more have been internally displaced as a result of this latest outbreak of violence. Over 467,000 Congolese forcibly displaced people currently live in Uganda, many in protracted situations wherein they cannot return to the DRC because of continued danger. 

Bahati Kanyamanza, our Associate Director of Partnerships, added, “For over 20 years, Eastern DRC has experienced conflicts. It is estimated that 6 million Congolese have died and millions displaced both internally and outside DRC. These wars forced me to flee and for 23 years, I have remained a refugee. It breaks my heart to watch videos of children, girls, women, and elderly people running to save their lives and hearing stories of innocent civilians dying. The suffering is imaginable.  I call upon the UNHCR and other stakeholders to provide necessary relief and continue to work towards durable solutions for displaced Congolese.”

Asylum Access has been working closely with refugee-led organizations and advocacy efforts in Uganda to further improve infrastructure investment for refugee communities and their access to human rights. We have listed below the organizations we have either worked alongside or otherwise know support refugee communities in the region, particularly those fleeing from the ongoing violence and instability in Eastern DRC. Feel free to share this list with refugees in Uganda looking for support or with groups or individuals who are in a position to donate funds to refugee initiatives in Uganda.

Local and refugee-led organizations in Uganda

Northern Region

Western Region

Central Region

Eastern Region

Amuria Youth Alliance Development Organization (AYADO) (Amuria)