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Humanitarian crisis Swiss pledge CHF12.5 million to Congo

children at a displaced persons camp in DRC

Children in a camp for displaced people in eastern Congo

(Keystone)

Switzerland has committed CHF12.5 million ($13 million) to support humanitarian operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following a donor pledging conference in Geneva on Friday.

In a statementexternal link, the Swiss federal department of foreign affairs said that the DRC was gripped by one of the “world’s worst humanitarian crises” and was also facing a cholera epidemic. Millions of its people are dependent on humanitarian aid.

Its contribution would support measures to protect civilians as well as cover needs in healthcare, food and basic necessities. There will also be support for communities hosting displaced people. Clashes between government forces and armed groups have displaced 4.5 million people in DRC, the statement said.

Experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unitexternal link will also be seconded to United Nations agencies. “Switzerland reiterated its strong commitment to respect for humanitarian principles and called on all parties to respect international humanitarian law, which guarantees the protection of civilians,” the statement added.

The donor pledging conferenceexternal link, held under the auspices of the UN, the Netherlands and the European Union, was aimed at finding the estimated $1.69 billion to meet needs in the DRC. It was the first high-level humanitarian conference on the DRC, according to the Swiss communiqué.

For its part, the EU pledged €77 millionexternal link (CHF91 million).

However, DRC itself boycotted the international conference, saying the central African country’s humanitarian crisis had been exaggerated.

In February this year, Switzerland extended its sanctions against the DRC, following the lead of the EU, due to the "very tense" situation in the DRC.

+Read more about the sanctions, which included asset freezes, here

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs/SDA-ATS/ilj

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