Who Belongs Where? Conflict, Displacement, Land and Identity in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo
Source: International Refugee Rights Initiative
Conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) appears intractable. Since a peace agreement was signed in 2003, officially ending a decade of war in the country, an estimated two million civilians have died and millions of others have been forced to flee their homes, creating one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.
The province of North Kivu has been at the centre of much of the fighting, both before and after the 2003 agreement. Although security has recently improved and progress has been made to resolve this ongoing conflict, as exemplified by a series of subsequent peace agreements, fighting continues and the risk of renewed deterioration of the security situation is palpable.
This paper seeks to tease apart some of the dimensions of this violence through gaining an understanding of how people living in the midst of it – or having fled the midst of it – see the conflict. Based on 157 interviews conducted in June and July 2009 with refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) who were displaced from or within North Kivu, it explores the interaction between notions of identity, access to power and, in turn, access to natural resources, including land. Through understanding people’s perceptions of the causes of conflict it begins to explore potential routes to stability and the way in which refugees and IDPs are positioning themselves for return.
Download report.IRRI_Who Belongs Where.EN.March2010