Great Lakes

Paul*, gay rights campaigner in DRC: “They said I was the Antichrist”

BUKAVU, 18 August 2014 (IRIN) - Homosexuality may, unusually for an African country, be legal in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for the time being, but gay people there also face the ostracism, stigma and exploitation, according to Paul* 27-year-old the co-founder of a gay rights organization in the eastern South Kivu Province. full report

Food security alarm for east, central Africa

NAIROBI, 13 August 2014 (IRIN) - Some 20 million people are facing acute food insecurity in eastern and central Africa, with most of them being at “crisis” and “emergency” levels, according to aid agencies. This figure compares unfavorably with 15.8 million people in July 2013. full report

Burundi flood victims need more help

BUJUMBURA, 6 August 2014 (IRIN) - Thousands of people displaced by floods and a mudslide in the Burundian capital Bujumbura and surrounding areas in February 2014 need more help to reconstruct their homes and livelihoods, aid workers say. full report

Interview with outgoing Africa Great Lakes Special Envoy Mary Robinson

NAIROBI, 4 August 2014 (IRIN) - In mid-June UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reassigned the special envoy to Africa's Great Lakes region, Mary Robinson, to special envoy for climate change. IRIN spoke to her about her time working on the Great Lakes region. full report

A tentative ceasefire in CAR

BRAZZAVILLE, 29 July 2014 (IRIN) - While the ceasefire signed in Brazzaville on 23 July by the two principal armed factions in the Central African Republic (CAR), the ex-Seleka and anti-Balaka, was widely greeted as a positive step forward, analysts are sceptical it can lead to lasting peace. full report

NGOs against MONUSCO drones for humanitarian work

GOMA, 23 July 2014 (IRIN) - International NGOs have rebuffed a recent offer by the UN Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to use drones for humanitarian information gathering, saying this could represent a dangerous “blurring of the lines” between military and humanitarian actors in the conflict. full report

Briefing: Targeting CAR’s predators

BANGUI, 21 July 2014 (IRIN) - The UN sanctions committee unveiled a report on 11 July detailing the alleged involvement of named individuals and armed groups in major human rights violations in the Central African Republic (CAR). The report by a panel of experts on CAR also presents evidence on the groups’ sources of funding and weapons, and names individuals believed to be involved in trafficking natural resources, and funding, organizing and manipulating armed groups. full report

Burundi’s troubled peace and reconciliation process

BUJUMBURA, 17 July 2014 (IRIN) - Fifteen years after a peace accord called for its creation, Burundi is finally to set up a Peace and Reconciliation Commission (PRC) to examine crimes committed since 1962. But the controversies and disagreements that have dogged the mechanism since it was first mooted continue to reverberate, casting doubt on its efficacy, with the key concern being whether the commission’s purview will be selective. full report

Little help for CAR rape survivors

BANGUI, 15 July 2014 (IRIN) - The presence of armed groups and continued fighting causing displacement across the Central African Republic (CAR) has led to an escalation of insecurity leaving women and girls vulnerable to forced marriage and extreme violence, including rape. full report

John Kayihula, Congolese refugee in Rwanda: I focus on sport so as to forget my life

GIHEMBE REUGEE CAMP (RWANDA), 9 July 2014 (IRIN) - Few of the 14,700 Congolese refugees in Rwanda’s Gihembe camp envisage returning home any time soon. As with Rwanda’s total caseload of 75,000 Congolese refugees, most are Tutsis who arrived between 1995 and 1997 from Masisi and Rutshuru territories in North Kivu, a province which still has a plethora of armed groups, making it too dangerous for the UN to organize refugee returns. full report