Five Wars The World Has Forgotten About

Civil wars, insurgencies, rebel groups and terrorist organizations continue to claim thousands of lives in dozens of countries around the world.

Innocent people are forced into conflict, abducted, raped and tortured. They are also forced to witness family members and friends being murdered.

Man-made famines are threatening the lives of millions, while the United Nations and its partners continue to appeal to the international community as gaps in funding prevent aid agencies from helping people in some of the hardest-to-reach places, ravaged by wars and natural calamities.

All this has contributed to what the U.N. described in 2016 as the worst refugee crisis since World War Two.

To mark the launch of Amnesty International's report on the state of human rights in the world, Newsweek takes a look at some of the most brutal yet overlooked conflicts around the world.

Democratic Republic of Congo

DRC violence
Congolese people who crossed the border from the Democratic Republic of Congo arrive at the Nyakabande transit center in the village of Nyakabande, western Uganda, to be registered as refugees on January 24, 2018. SUMY SADURNI/AFP/Getty Images

"Congolese army soldiers used excessive force, killing scores of suspected members and sympathizers of the armed insurgent group Kamuena Nsapu, which, in turn, recruited children and carried out attacks on civilians and government forces. The government proxy militia group Bana Mura was responsible for dozens of ethnic-based attacks including killings, rapes and destruction of civilian property. -Amnesty International

DRC is plagued by ethnic tensions, political violence and several conflicts among rebel groups and rebel groups and government forces.

A recent report by the U.N. said at least 800,000 children have been forced from their homes in Tanganyika and South Kivu provinces, eastern DRC, due to inter-ethnic violence and clashes among armed groups, militias and government forces.

The U.N. children agency (UNICEF) said the situation was one of "the world's worst displacement crises for children", who are sexually abused and recruited to fight.

Violence in the two provinces has also left 1.3 million people displaced and thousands have fled to neighboring Uganda.

At the same time, the U.N. mission in DRC (MONUSCO) claimed "state agents" carried out at least 1,176 extra-judicial killings last year, including women and children.

Instability in the restive Kasai region has also exacerbated deadly violence in the country.

More than 3,000 people have been killed and 1.4 million displaced since violence erupted in Kasai-Central in August 2016. The conflict began after a rebel leader, known as Kamwina Nsapu, was killed by government forces.

Kamwina Nsapu rebels have been accused of killing civilians, recruiting hundreds of child soldiers and targeting state agents, government premises and public buildings, including schools and churches. U.N. investigators have discovered around 80 mass graves.

DRC has been experiencing a political crisis due to incumbent President Joseph Kabila's alleged attempt to cling on to power. Protests organised by activists, opposition groups and the Catholic Church have resulted in bloodshed.

Read more about violence in DRC here.

Central African Republic

Central African Republic
People sit in the ruins of a market after a blaze which damaged 47 shops on January 17, in Bangui's predominantly Muslim PK5 quarter on January 28, 2018. VERGNES/AFP/Getty Images

"There was renewed conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR), which led to large-scale human rights violations and abuses and crimes under international law." -Amnesty International

Fighting erupted in 2013 after Michel Djotodia, a Muslim, replaced former leader Francois Bozize, a Christian, in a coup. The overthrow sparked a conflict between Muslim Seleka and Christian anti-Balaka ("anti-machete") militias that has resulted in thousands of deaths.

Rights groups have accused some of the militant groups of committing serious abuses and atrocities including execution of civilians and humanitarian personnel, as well as rape and torture over the course of the conflict.

Violence has displaced at least 700,000 according to the U.N, which also estimated that 2.2 million are in need of humanitarian assistance in the country.

The U.N. independent expert on human rights Marie-Thérèse Keita Bocoum said after an official visit to CAR earlier in February that some rebels groups were still threatening the peace process.

More on the CAR conflict here.

South Sudan

South Sudan war
A newly released child soldier looks through a rifle trigger guard during a release ceremony for child soldiers in Yambio, South Sudan, on February 7, 2018. STEFANIE GLINSKI/AFP/Getty Images

"Mainly government – but also opposition – forces committed crimes under international law and other serious violations and abuses, including war crimes, against civilians. More than 3.9 million people − approximately one third of the population − had been displaced since the beginning of the conflict in December 2013." -Amnesty International

South Sudan became world's newest nation in 2011, after breaking away from Sudan. However, the newly created country has known very little peace, descending into war just two years after its creation.

In 2013 President Salva Kiir, of the Dinka ethnic group, fired his deputy Riek Machar, from the Nuer group. Machar then became a rebel leader.

Fighting between rebels and government troops has killed an estimated 50,000 people, amid allegations of crimes against humanity committed by both sides, including rape, torture and the use of child soldiers. At least 1.5 million people have been displaced.

The conflict has continued along ethnic lines, with tit-for-tat violence targeting Dinka and Nuer tribes, prompting the U.N. to repeatedly warn the country is on the verge of a Rwanda-style genocide.

Kiir and Machar have agreed on several peace deals but have failed to control their troops, who have broken every ceasefire since 2014.

More on South Sudan war here.


Darfur war
Rwandan peacekeepers part of the UN-African Union mission in Darfur (UNAMID) stand guard in the war-torn town of Golo in the thickly forested mountainous area of Jebel Marra in central Darfur on June 19, 2017. ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images)

"In Sudan, the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan states remained dire, with widespread violations of international humanitarian and human rights law." -Amnesty International

The Darfur civil war started in February 2003. Rebel groups accused the Sudanese government of marginalizing the non-Arab/African tribal population in the region.

The government responded with a crackdown on protesters and government-linked militia killed hundreds of thousands of civilians.

The UN estimated that between 200,000 and 300,000 people have been killed since the start of the conflict. At least 2.7 million have been displaced.

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, in office since 1989, is wanted by the International Crimes Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity—including genocide committed in Darfur.

In February 2010, the Sudanese government and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM)—an umbrella organization representing ten rebel groups—signed a ceasefire agreement. However, violence between government and rebel groups has continued since.

In 2016, Amnesty claimed that more than 200 people, including several children, died after being exposed to chemical weapon agents, released by bombs dropped from planes and rockets in Darfur.

When in 2011 South Sudan broke away from Sudan, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) emerged as the ruling party of the newly-born country.

However, some members of the movement—whose armed wing, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), long fought for the autonomy of southern Sudan—did not relocate to the new state. Instead, they regrouped into the SPLM-North (SPLM-N) and continued their fight against the central government in Sudan.

The SPLM-N—banned by the Sudanese government and branded as a rebel movement—has been fighting Sudanese forces in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states since its very formation in 2011

The conflict, sometimes dubbed as the Third Sudanese Civil War, has caused the death of between 600 and 1,500 people and the displacement of more than 1.2 million civilians.


Yemen war
A Yemeni mother tends to her malnourished child as she receives treatment at a hospital in the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah, on May 2, 2017. STR/AFP/Getty Images

"The situation in Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East and North Africa even before the outbreak of conflict in March 2015, became the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the U.N., with three quarters of its population of 28 million in need of help." -Amnesty International

Yemen plunged into a brutal civil war in 2015. Iran-backed Houthi forces control the capital Sana'a and are allied with loyalists of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, assassinated last December. On the other hand, a Saudi-led coalition supports forces allied to the ousted government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, based in Aden. Both factions claim they constitute the government of Yemen.

Saudi Arabia and its allies closed air, land and sea access to the Arabian Peninsula last November, claiming that this would stop Iran's alleged flow of arms to the rebels. Tehran has denied claims it is supplying weapons to the rebels.

Humanitarian agencies claimed the blockade worsened a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where millions face a famine and a cholera epidemic, and 10,000 have been killed. Saudi Arabia re-opened the Sanaa airport and access to the Hodeidah port to allow humanitarian access.

More on Yemen war here.