FDLR: BUREAU DU PRESIDENT / OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
His Excellency Mr. Ban KI-MOON, Secretary General of the United Nations (UN)
Her Excellency Madame Sylvie LUCAS, Chairperson of the UN Security Council;
His Excellency Mr. Donald TUSK, Chairperson of the European Union Council;
His Excellency Mr. Jean-Claude JUNCKER, Chairperson of the European Union Commission;
His Excellency Mr. Mohamed Ould Abdel AZZIZ, President of the Republic of MAURITANIA and current Chairperson of the African Union (AU);
His Excellency Mr. François Hollande, President of the Republic of France
Her Excellency Dr Nkosazana Dlamini ZUMA, Chairperson of the African Union Commission;
His Excellency Mr. Robert MUGABE, President of the Republic of ZIMBABWE and Chairperson of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC);
His Excellency Mr. José Eduardo DOS SANTOS, President of the Republic of ANGOLA and Chairperson of International Conference for the African Great Lakes Region;
His Excellency Mr. Uhuru KENYATTA, President of the Republic of KENYA and Chairperson of the East African Community;
His Excellency Mr. Joseph KABILA KABANGE, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC);
His Excellency Mr. Jacob ZUMA, President of the Republic of South Africa;
His Excellency Mr. Jakaya M. KIKWETE, President of the United Republic of TANZANIA;
His Excellency Mr. Vladimir PUTIN, President of the Russian Federation.
His Excellency Mr. Barack OBAMA, President of the United States of America.
His Excellency Mr. Xi JINPING, President of the People’s Republic of China.
His Excellency Mr. David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
RE: An urgent appeal for support of FDLR’s voluntary disarmament and requested political dialogue for a dignified repatriation of Rwandan refugees.
The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) assures you that the FDLR is fully committed to putting non-armed political struggle at the forefront of its efforts, as officially declared on 30 December 2013, at Lusamambo, in Eastern of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as well as to conform to the relevant provisions of disarmament process. In this way, the FDLR has already embarked on the process of voluntary disarmament, followed by cantonment of combatants along with their dependents to the Kisangani Transit Centre.
The FDLR confirm again there are more than 200,000 Rwandan refugees that have been miraculously surviving within the dense forests of the DRC, as they have been abandoned by the international community and UNHCR, to their own fate, for more than two decades now.
Along with other Rwandan refugees scattered around the world, they have a desire to return back to their homeland through a negotiated political settlement but not to be resettled in third countries. The desired political dialogue and voluntary repatriation is anticipated to lead to the definitive restoration of peace, stability and prosperity within the countries of the Great Lakes Region.
The FDLR expresses its concern at cantonment process related activities, which were planned and are being implemented by MONUSCO but without proper coordination and supervision.
According to the roadmap to voluntary disarmament and cantonment, the following cantonment-related activities were achieved. From 01 April to 30 May 2014, the preparation for cantonment of the combatants at KATIGU in North Kivu was conducted. Prior to this preparation, an invitation was sent to the International Community to witness the voluntary disarming and handing FDLR weapons over to SADC on 18 April 2014. The preparation was witnessed by Mr Feller Lutaichilwa, Premier of North Kivu Province; Mr Mark Power UK Representative; Mr Thomas Lynch from the UN Secretary-General Special Envoy in the Great Lakes Region’s Office; Ms Jane Alison Porter, from the European Union; Colonel TEMPOREL, French military attaché; Mr Anton Jongennel, Chief of Political Bureau/US Embassy; Lt Colonel Mandjani Omari, SADC Representative. The ceremony was conducted by Major General Victor Byiringiro, Interim President of FDLR. In their speeches, they promised to promote the FDLR’s noble cause, however, the United Nations’ support is lacking in various respect.
From 27th, November, 2014, some FDLR combatants along with their families were relocated at the Kinsangani Transit Centre. We have shown our deep concern that the Kinsangani Transit Centre cannot accommodate all FDLR combatants and their families. Its expansion is urgently needed.
Kindly be advised that the next cantonment of the FDLR combatants along with their families to Walungu and Kanyabayonga will start on 15 December 2014. We hereby request the SADC and ICGLR to ensure these people are escorted from where they are now to their destinations. Escort mechanism is needed as from mid to the end of December 2014. In the absence of the provision of security, please note that no cantonment will take place. We also request the SADC and ICGLR to request the DRC government, UN and AU to ensure the safety and security of the combatants and their families during their stay at Walungu and Kanyabayonga respectively.
Furthermore, take note that the FDLR is deeply concerned and unhappy with the manner in which the first combatants who were cantoned and their dependents are being treated. So far, they have no access to social services that would enable them to meet their essential basic needs, such as toiletries, baby formulas, food, clean water, healthcare services, education and so forth. The way they are living is shocking and below acceptable human dignity standards
It needs to be noted that the successful implementation of FDLR’s 30 December 2013 Voluntary Disarmament Declaration is fully dependent on support of the international community in general and individual support of the government that you represent in particular. The commitment of each Head of State and government to support the peace process will render negotiated political
settlement an essential matter that could not be denied by the Rwandan government. The FDLR strongly believes that your support will carry with it a political note that will have an influence on the Rwandan government to such an extent that it will realize the need and necessity of providing free, safe and secure political space, of which Rwandan political opposition is longing to enjoy. Above all, the FDLR’s position is that the cantonment operation should be followed by a political negotiation.
The FDLR fully remains convinced that the best way to bring peace, security, stability and development to the forefront as an alternative to armed struggle in Rwanda in particular and in the Great Lakes Region in general is through negotiated political settlement between conflicting parties. Negotiations will bring about an improved understanding of each conflicting party’s concerns, interests, and needs as well as about an effective tackling of root-causes of the conflict thereof. A great deal of efforts and resources have been wasted on wrestling with the conflict’s effects and consequences. This approach did not bear any fruit for the past 20 years. It should therefore be acknowledged by the government you represent and the international community of which you are a member that the Rwandan conflict and the refugee problem are fundamentally political and should be resolved politically.
In fact, ill-advised approaches have been applied by the international community (i.e. United Nations (UN)) in an attempt to resolve the Rwandan complex problem due to understanding it in very superficial and shallow ways. The FDLR has been demonized and portrayed as bad guys, resulting in the RPF government celebration of the FDLR as a pariah. Such portrait reinforces a conservative ethnic – or apartheid – politics that the UN explicitly rejected in 1970s. As a matter of fact, the FDLR should never be perceived as pariah or a problem, rather the FDLR should be considered as core stakeholder, inasmuch as a long-lasting solution to the socio-political Rwandan problem is concerned. Engaging with it politically is a must.
Having said that, the FDLR pleads with the international community, more particularly with your government, the UN, Africa Union (AU), European Union (EU), SADC and ICGLR to take into consideration the Rwandan –Hutu and Tutsi – refugees’ pain, misery and sufferings and thus resolve the prolonged refugee problem in a dignified, humanly and peaceful manner. There is a need to treat them as human beings whose human rights apply and not as a commodity. What democratic and human rights principles tell us is that people should participate in the decision making that may adversely affect them.
With respect to resettling FDLR’s combatants and their families in a third country, the FDLR reiterates and stresses that this is not a favorable option and that the international community should not waste its time on that matter unless if it has an ulterior agenda. It should be noted that Rwanda is our country and as such, it is where all Rwandans must enjoy their fundamental rights. And no one has the right to prevent them from it.
Please find attached a document explaining who the FDLR is with expectation and in anticipation for a positive response to my request from your side, please accept the assurances of my highest consideration.
Done at Walikale, 06 December 2014
Président ai des FDLR