The Unspoken Atrocities: The Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is an African country known for its poverty-stricken people and as one of the poorest countries in the world. However, this is not due to a lack of resources. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is considered the wealthiest nation in the world. You may be wondering what the cause of the poverty and instability in the country is, and it’s simple: corruption and greed. Throughout this article, we will explore the historic situation in the Congo, the current situation in the DRC, and what we can do to help.

In the 1900s, the Democratic Republic of the Congo was previously colonized and controlled by Belgium under the name Congo Free State. After its independence in 1965, a political crisis ensued, as for many years before its independence, not one Congolese person held crucial government jobs. This environment allowed for unrest in the form of rebel groups and corrupt leaders. However, there was one man by the name of Lumumba, who was the first prime minister of the DRC. He was different than others attempting to grab power in that he tried to reform and establish the DRC as an independent country. However, Belgian influence was difficult to expel, so Lumumba appealed to the UN for help. Despite the UN refusing to assist, he still hoped to dissipate rebellions and the Belgians and went to the Soviet Union for help. However, this led to his assassination in an operation with the CIA and other mining firms that wanted to exploit the rich minerals (such as cobalt, tin, copper, gold, diamond, etc) and people of the DRC. Mobutu, a Western-leaning politician, gained the CIA’s backing and eventually became president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for 30+ years. He allowed multi-national mining corporations to come in, destroy land, and exploit children and adults alike for labor. Also, conflicts with other African countries like Rwanda over control of the country caused an instability of power and a total humanitarian crisis. The instability of power and conflicts have caused the displacement of around 6.9 million Congolese people who left their homes while armed groups cleared out their villages and turned them into mining ‘farms.’ Now, let’s explore the current status of this humanitarian crisis occurring within the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

As stated before, around 6.9 million people have been internally displaced in the DRC from their homes because of resource mining. Approximately 80% of those displaced ( 5.52 million) lived in the provinces of eastern Congo, such as North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri, Tanganyika, etc. After seeing the corruption and money spending that Mobutu did during his reign, leaders after him continued allowing the destruction of their land, people, and resources if it allowed them to line their own pockets. Since the beginning of these conflicts, the citizens of the DRC have been under attack by these armed groups and the government, as they are forced to dig up minerals and valuable resources as a source of free/cheap labor and are also subject to disgusting and inhumane treatment (starvation, rape, absence of medication to treat disease, and more). Innocent people are being subject to terrifying conditions every day with no prospect of anything improving because of the lack of attention to this crisis. A Congolese man lit himself on fire in a crowd while holding up a sign with  “Stop the genocide in Congo” written on it. People recorded and watched as this poor man burned himself to death to have people notice and realize the terrible things occurring in the DRC; this is not the first time something like this has happened, as Cedrick Nianza, a Congolese man, burned himself alive in the city of Boma in 2011 for the same reasons. The lengths these citizens attempt to get the outside world’s attention are heartbreaking, and it is deplorable that they should have to go to those extents. It is crucial to shed light on these issues, and governments must take action to help the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Now, let’s go into some things we can do to help the situation in the DRC.

To start, some things we can do to help the crisis in the DRC include educating ourselves and others, supporting Humanitarian organizations, and engaging in politics. Educating yourself by understanding the situation in the DRC and reading articles can help to spread information about the facts to the greater public. Educating yourself will ensure that everyone becomes aware of the atrocities occurring so that the greater community can help achieve change. Additionally, donating to Humanitarian organizations that provide poverty-stricken children and adults with food/water, healthcare, etc., would be incredibly beneficial to those in the DRC. Finally, it is crucial to reach out to our representatives in Congress in the masses by asking for them to enact change and support legislation benefitting the people/situation in the DRC. While these are some ways you can help the crisis occurring in the DRC, many others have also worked well, such as volunteering and fundraising, boycotting, advocating, etc. 

In conclusion, it is up to us to work together to enact change. While governments may have ulterior motives in resisting change, we need to work together to spread awareness and do everything in our power to show the debilitating living conditions of the Congolese people. No person should have to burn themselves alive to get the attention of the outside world, and my heart goes out to all those facing these atrocities. I urge you all to do everything possible to advocate and educate others on these issues so that the innocent people facing this cruelty may be free.

Works Cited

Cordell, Dennis. “Patrice Lumumba.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 10 Nov. 2023,

“Democratic Republic of the Congo Situation.” Global Focus,,restrictions%20to%20the%20humanitarian%20space. Accessed 22 Nov. 2023.

“DR Congo: Cursed by Its Natural Wealth.” BBC News, BBC, 9 Oct. 2013,

“History of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).” War Child, Accessed 22 Nov. 2023.

Mtembu, Xolile. “Congolese Man Sets Himself on Fire Protesting Genocide.” Independent Online, IOL | News that Connects South Africans, 18 Nov. 2023,