Conflict between rival militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo has resulted in mass displacement of millions of its citizenry.
In this year alone, more than 1.7 million individuals have left their homes. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) is in the midst of a military crisis that can’t be controlled. An estimated 70 militia groups are currently warring against one another in the nation, despite the fact that more than 10,000 U.N. peacekeepers are on the ground there.
The situation is so dire that DR Congo is unable to hold elections — for security reasons as well as financial difficulties that plague the country, although some also suspect that those reasons are simply excuses given by the current administration in power, which doesn’t want to relent and allow democracy in the country.
“It’s a mega crisis. The scale of people fleeing violence is off the charts, outpacing Syria, Yemen and Iraq,” Norwegian Refugee Council’s DR Congo Director Ulrika Blom said earlier this year.
The numbers are startling. For instance, the number of displaced citizens in DR Congo on average per day is around 5,500 — meaning a population roughly the size of Little Rock, Arkansas, is displaced every month due to hostilities.
In total, more than 4 million people have been displaced as a result of the conflicts in DR Congo, as well as the failure of current President Joseph Kabila's refusal to step down or initiate elections for his nation. Kabila’s second term in office expired last year, after which he was supposed to step away from the presidency due to term limits.
While refugee crises across the world deserve to get attention as well, the situation in DR Congo seems to get little coverage when compared to its scope, especially in the United States. Elections need to happen, and militias need to stop warring with each other, if things are to change for the better.
Something needs to be done, and nations across the globe need to recognize the crisis, and do their part to ensure democracy takes place.