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Forced Labour in Armed Conflicts: Special Case of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Zuzeeko, Abeng LU (2010) JAMM06 20091
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
International human rights bodies that monitor and report human violations across the world like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, among others have found that forced labour is being exacted in the armed conflict that has been raging for many years now in the DRC. Armed groups have systematically abducted civilians in the DRC for purposes of forced labour and sexual slavery as part of the armed conflict in the region.
The majority of these abductions that result in forced labour are in the northeastern region of the DRC, which is a hotspot of the conflict, and the victims are predominantly women and children, with a substantial minority of men. The women who are abducted are subjected to rape and sexual slavery. In some... (More)
International human rights bodies that monitor and report human violations across the world like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, among others have found that forced labour is being exacted in the armed conflict that has been raging for many years now in the DRC. Armed groups have systematically abducted civilians in the DRC for purposes of forced labour and sexual slavery as part of the armed conflict in the region.
The majority of these abductions that result in forced labour are in the northeastern region of the DRC, which is a hotspot of the conflict, and the victims are predominantly women and children, with a substantial minority of men. The women who are abducted are subjected to rape and sexual slavery. In some instances, they are forced to carry out other services such as cooking, transporting looted items, and collecting firewood and water. Abducted men on the other hand are forcefully conscripted as soldiers and are subjected to forced labour such as transporting looted goods, working in mines, and in some cases, they are sexually assaulted.
The government of the DRC has failed in its duty under international law to protect its citizens from abductions and conscription into forced labour conditions. In fact, human rights organizations have reported that the government is responsible for some of the violations. This is the case because government and government-supported forces allegedly carry out violations against the civilians they are supposed to protect. As if this is not enough, the perpetrators of violations are known and in most cases have gone unpunished. There has been a system of impunity in the DRC. However, some warlords suspected of human rights violations in the DRC have been taken to court for their involvement in the conflict.
Human Rights Watch reported that justice is coming slowly to the DRC. Despite this milestone, other notorious suspects in the DRC remain at large. A suspect of interest who is still at large as of today is Bosco Ntaganda.2
The conflict in the DRC has been going on since 1996 and the pattern of human rights violations including abductions that result in forced labour have been the same. All these years, impunity has been a recurring characteristic. Another worrying situation about the conflict is the fact that the pattern of violations are not only limited to the DRC. Other conflicts in Africa such as the conflict in Darfur, Sudan have the same pattern of violation, including abduction, sexual slavery, rape, recruitment of child soldiers.
This thesis makes a comparative study between the armed conflict in the DRC and the conflict in Sudan. It concludes that the government of the DRC and other stakeholders in the conflict have an obligation to protect civilians in the region from forced labour and other human rights violations. It calls for the government of the DRC to work closely with the ILO to investigate forced labour and take all the necessary measures to meet the obligations under the ILO forced labour standards and other human rights standards it has ratified. It calls for the government of the DRC to work with the International Criminal Court (ICC) to bring those suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the DRC.
The United Nations mission in the Congo (MONUC) should be fully deployed, with all the resources they need to bring the peace to the region. MONUC’s mandate should be extended to include the use of force to protect civilians. The current mandate has failed despite the fact that the DRC presently has the largest UN peacekeeping mission. (Less)
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author
Zuzeeko, Abeng LU
supervisor
organization
course
JAMM06 20091
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
International Human Rights Law and International Labour Rights
language
English
id
1600182
date added to LUP
2010-05-07 15:11:12
date last changed
2020-07-10 11:43:05
@misc{1600182,
  abstract     = {International human rights bodies that monitor and report human violations across the world like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, among others have found that forced labour is being exacted in the armed conflict that has been raging for many years now in the DRC. Armed groups have systematically abducted civilians in the DRC for purposes of forced labour and sexual slavery as part of the armed conflict in the region.
The majority of these abductions that result in forced labour are in the northeastern region of the DRC, which is a hotspot of the conflict, and the victims are predominantly women and children, with a substantial minority of men. The women who are abducted are subjected to rape and sexual slavery. In some instances, they are forced to carry out other services such as cooking, transporting looted items, and collecting firewood and water. Abducted men on the other hand are forcefully conscripted as soldiers and are subjected to forced labour such as transporting looted goods, working in mines, and in some cases, they are sexually assaulted.
The government of the DRC has failed in its duty under international law to protect its citizens from abductions and conscription into forced labour conditions. In fact, human rights organizations have reported that the government is responsible for some of the violations. This is the case because government and government-supported forces allegedly carry out violations against the civilians they are supposed to protect. As if this is not enough, the perpetrators of violations are known and in most cases have gone unpunished. There has been a system of impunity in the DRC. However, some warlords suspected of human rights violations in the DRC have been taken to court for their involvement in the conflict.
Human Rights Watch reported that justice is coming slowly to the DRC. Despite this milestone, other notorious suspects in the DRC remain at large. A suspect of interest who is still at large as of today is Bosco Ntaganda.2
The conflict in the DRC has been going on since 1996 and the pattern of human rights violations including abductions that result in forced labour have been the same. All these years, impunity has been a recurring characteristic. Another worrying situation about the conflict is the fact that the pattern of violations are not only limited to the DRC. Other conflicts in Africa such as the conflict in Darfur, Sudan have the same pattern of violation, including abduction, sexual slavery, rape, recruitment of child soldiers.
This thesis makes a comparative study between the armed conflict in the DRC and the conflict in Sudan. It concludes that the government of the DRC and other stakeholders in the conflict have an obligation to protect civilians in the region from forced labour and other human rights violations. It calls for the government of the DRC to work closely with the ILO to investigate forced labour and take all the necessary measures to meet the obligations under the ILO forced labour standards and other human rights standards it has ratified. It calls for the government of the DRC to work with the International Criminal Court (ICC) to bring those suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the DRC.
The United Nations mission in the Congo (MONUC) should be fully deployed, with all the resources they need to bring the peace to the region. MONUC’s mandate should be extended to include the use of force to protect civilians. The current mandate has failed despite the fact that the DRC presently has the largest UN peacekeeping mission.},
  author       = {Zuzeeko, Abeng},
  keyword      = {International Human Rights Law and International Labour Rights},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Forced Labour in Armed Conflicts: Special Case of the Democratic Republic of Congo},
  year         = {2010},
}