Refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Over the next 5 years, the United States expects to resettle tens of thousands of refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), scene of some of the world’s worst violence and human rights abuses in recent years. The refugees are part of a population of more than 3 million Congolese refugees and internally displaced persons forced by war and unrest to flee their homes. The refugees, mostly ethnic minorities from eastern DRC, will be resettled out of neighboring first-asylum countries, where conditions are difficult and often unsafe. In the United States, the refugees will be joining more than 10,000 Congolese who have been resettled since 2001.

This backgrounder provides U.S. resettlement communities with basic information about the new refugee arrivals. It looks at the causes of the refugee crisis, life in the DRC and countries of first asylum, the basic background characteristics of the refugees, and their resettlement experiences in the United States. The backgrounder also notes the strengths incoming Congolese refugees bring and the challenges they may face upon resettlement.