AN OPEN LETTER TO COUNTRY MEMBERS OF SADC AND ICGLR BY RWANDAN OPPOSITION PARTIES ON RWANDAN REFUGEES AND CHRONIC INSTABILITY IN THE EASTERN REGIONS OF THE DRC

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To: -His Excellency the Head of State Member of the SADC (All)
-His Excellency the Head of State Member of  ICGLR (All)

 

RE:     1)To seek protection and assistance to Rwandan refugees in the DRC;
2) To call for a structural and lasting response to the root cause of instability involving   Rwandan State or non-State actors, and visible or non visible hands.

 

Excellencies,

As You are still examining the situation in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwandan democratic opposition parties would like to express their concerns about that stalemate and are honored to share with Your leadership our views on what we think is the best way to restore security, peace and stability to that part of the country and by extension to the Great Lakes region in general.

  1. For several weeks now, the Government of Rwanda led by the former rebel group Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) has been pushing for immediate military operations against Rwandan armed groups based in the Eastern DRC.
  2. Much as that position was not new, we deeply regret that certain quarters of the International Community have unquestionably backed this militaristic approach, in spite of the lessons learned from the immeasurable or whopping impact and short or long term human and material losses of such a radical approach as conducted in the past, including in Rwanda itself.
  3. Moreover such a response is morally unfair in as much as it would greatly affect an already hurt population composed of Congolese and Rwandan refugees who have exceedingly suffered in the last twenty years as a result of past military approaches to political differences originating from the lack of ethnic inclusion and political space in Rwanda.
  4. In light of the lessons learned from past mistakes, we salute the approaches of the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and of the Government of the Republic of South Africa who have unambiguously expressed support to voluntary disarmament as the best way of pursuing their efforts in restoring peace and stability in that part of the DRC. Together with the contingent of the Republic of Malawi deployed within the Monusco as part of its Force Intervention Brigade, we commend their commitment, professionalism and sacrifice in the work done in that respect.
  5. In our opinion, the existence and continued presence of Rwandan armed groups in general and FDLR in particular on the territory of the DRC is a symptom and not the root cause of instability. It is rather the consequence of Rwanda’s lack of an ethnically inclusive and democratic political system of governance that would accommodate the country’s ethnic diversity and permit peaceful access to and transmission of power, expression of dissent as well as that of the will of the Rwandan people through regular, fair and transparent elections whose results are protected by non-sectarian and non-partisan judiciary system and security and defense forces.
  6. The RPF Government has refused to embrace such an inclusive path domestically and has rather repeatedly engaged into bellicose actions abroad, mostly at the expense of the DRC. The two year term accorded to Rwanda as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council has mainly been a platform to push its narrow and self-centered sectarian and authoritarian interests on the international stage instead of being an opportunity to engage its armed and non-armed opposition. It has been a wasted and lost opportunity for Africa and for all nations and peoples still suffering from domination and oppression.
  7. According to the DRC National Commission for Refugees, at least 245,000 registered Rwandan refugees still live in that country. Most of those refugees are survivors of the systematic mass killings committed by the RPF Government armed forces during their direct or proxy military interventions in that country since 1996. Some of those crimes were documented by the UN Mapping exercise on grave violations of international humanitarian law committed between 1993 and 2003 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The report compiled and made public on October 1, 2010 stated that some of the documented crimes against humanity would be characterized as crimes of genocide if presented before a competent court.
  8. More than four years after that report, the International Community has absolutely done nothing to prosecute those crimes and pay reparations to the survivors. More shockingly, the aforementioned survivors have completely been thrown into oblivion and left to their odd fate with absolutely no protection and no assistance by the competent UN agencies.
  9. Similarly, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda did never open trials for RPF Government officials suspected of crimes within its mandate as stated by the 955 UN resolution instituting that jurisdiction. The residual Mechanism of International Criminal Tribunal left in place was not given anything close to a mandate aimed at correcting that miscarriage of justice. In those circumstances, it would be ethically unfair and politically unacceptable to engage military operations whose consequences would be to add more suffering to an already deeply wounded population in lieu of the much needed and delayed protection and assistance they deserve and have been longing for two decades.
  10.  Considering all the reasons mentioned above and others already expressed in various previous correspondences and declarations, we would like to advise the Heads of State and Governments of SADC and ICGLR member states  to direct their efforts at solving the root cause of Rwandan involvement in destabilizing activities of DRC by engaging with the RPF Government for a broad based dialogue with the opposition. Military solutions will once again result into exporting those problems to neighboring countries and creating massive displacements of populations, destruction of property and serious negative environmental impact.

We, the signatories, are committed to that peaceful and inclusive approach and would be delighted to be given an opportunity to detail our contribution to that effect to SADC and ICGLR Member States, whether in a bilateral or multilateral conversation.

 

Sincerely,

 

Washington DC,  January 16th , 2015                            

-Parti Rwandais des Modérés /Moderate Rwanda Party,
PRM/MRP-ABASANGIZI
Dr Anastase Gasana, Chairman.

 

 Brussels , January 16th, 2015

 

– Conseil National pour le Changement Democratique, CNCD
General Emmanuel Habyarimana,
Chairman and President of CNR-INTWARI;

– FDU – National Movement – Inkubiri ,
FDU-MN INKUBIRI
Mr. Eugene Ndahayo,  Chairman;

-Mouvement Republicain pour la Paix, MRP; Mr. Bonaventure Uwanyirigira, Chairman;

-Ralliement pour l’Unité et la Démocratie,
RUD-URUNANA
Dr. Jean Marie Vianney Higiro, Chairman

 

Copies:

– His Excellency the Head of State Member of the UN Security Council (All);
– His Excellency the Head of State Member of the European Union, EU (All);
– His Excellency the Head of State Member of the African Union, AU (All)
– His Excellency the Prime Minister of Canada
– His Excellency the Secretary General of  the UN
– Her Excellency Madam Chairperson of the African Union Commission
– His Excellency the Executive Secretary  of  SADC
– His Excellency the Executive Secretary of  ICGLR
-The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in DRC

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