Follow us on Twitter

Affected Populations

You are here

The human cost of the conflicts in the DRC is known to be extremely high, and goes well beyond the death of many civilians. The survey documents this, as more than four out of five respondents (81%) identified themselves as victims of the conflicts since 1993.[1] When asked to identify victims of the conflicts in eastern Congo since 1993, again more than four out of five (86%) identified the population in general, using terms such as “the community,” “all the people,” or “everyone,” showing the perceived widespread character of victimization.[2] Specific categories were particularly identified by respondents: women were perceived by almost half of the respondents as having been particularly victimized (44%). Surprisingly, in areas where the forced recruitment of children by different armed groups has reportedly been widespread (and form the basis for proceedings against Thomas Lubanga at the ICC) children were only mentioned as a victimized category by a third of respondents (33%), while elderly people were also widely perceived to have been affected (21%). By contrast, only a few respondents (2%) identified one or more specific ethnic groups as the only victims. This is surprising when correlated with the fact that 29 percent saw ethnic divisions as one of the main causes of conflicts. It indicates that, although some of the conflicts may have been caused by ethnic tensions, all groups ultimately suffered. In sum, most respondents perceived the violence as very widespread in nature and recognized the endemic use of sexual and gender-based violence and forced recruitment of children.

[1] The recall period of nearly 15 years (1993–2007) was used to capture the overall exposure to violence among respondents.

[2] Respondents had the possibility to provide several answers. Percentages may not add up to 100%