BUREAU DU PRESIDENT / OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
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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 and Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation
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.
His Excellency Mr. Charles MICHEL, Prime Minister of Belgium
RE: FDLR’S RENEWED ASSURANCE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ITS 30thDECEMBER 2013 COMMITMENT TO DISARM AND ENGAGE INTO POLITICAL STRUGGLE.
As you may be aware of it, on the 30th December 2013, the FDLR have clearly stated its commitment to lay down weapons and continue its political struggle through political means. This statement was a reaffirmation of its historical
Declaration made in Rome on 31st March 2005.
Subsequently, they have invited the international community, namely the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union, the South African Development Community, the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region and all African Heads of States and international Medias, to witness the laying down of weapons by the former FDLR combatants, their cantonment along with their dependants and the handing over of their weapons to SADC. Moreover, the FDLR have requested your Excellencies to further understand, assist, support and go along with us in the implementation of that very commitment to this noble and sustainable peace initiative.
Faithful to our commitment, we, the FDLR have taken concrete steps towards advancing this peaceful process through a thorough implementation of the roadmap.
Concretely, the following actions were taken by the FDLR:
1. From April 01st to May 30th, 2014: preparations for cantonment of the combatants at KATIGU in North Kivu were conducted. The international community was invited to witness the voluntary disarming and handing weapons over to SADC. The preparation was witnessed by representatives of the UN, the EU, the DRC Authorities, UK, UN Secretary-General Special Envoy in the Great Lakes Region’s Office, France and SADC.
2. On 30th May, 2014, a contingent of 104 fighters laid down their weapons at KATEKU in North Kivu and handed them over to SADC representatives. The ceremony was witnessed by representatives of the international community and the local and international media.
3. On June 09, 2014, at KIGOGO, South Kivu, the first contingent of 84 fighters laid down their weapons, and with their 234 dependents, they were moved to WALUNGU. Their weapons were handed over to SADC. The ceremony was witnessed by representatives of the international community, the Authorities of DRC and the national and international media.
4. From 27th, November, 2014, some FDLR combatants along with their families were relocated at the KISANGANI Transit Centre.
5. On 28th December 2014, a second track of 2 contingents comprising of 151 fighters -84 at Buleusa in North Kivu and 67 at Burinyi in South Kivu respectively- laid down their weapons and handed them over to SADC representatives. The ceremony was witnessed by representatives of the international community, the Authorities of DRC and the local and international media. Dependents of these former FDLR fighters are waiting to join them in Kanyabayonga.
During the 5 steps mentioned above, the imminent personalities representing the international community and the DRC Authorities have promised to support positively and actively, and promote the FDLR’s commitment. Unfortunately, the United Nations support has been brilliantly lacking in various aspects.
Allow us to mention some of the challenges we have been facing in the implementation of our commitment and lack of collaboration from the UN :
FIRST: On June 28, 2014, only 128 of the 500 dependents who had been waiting since June 25th have been taken and sent to KANYABAYONGA cantonment site, in North Kivu. To that number, 94 additional dependents arrived at KANYABAYONGA on their own, without logistical and security support neither from the MONUSCO nor from the FARDC/ANR. One should note that all those dependants were coming from different remote and dangerous areas of the Kivus. One can imagine the security threat those dependents could face, hunger, and thirst and lack of accommodation during the waiting period of time.
SECOND: Between August the 1st and the 2nd, 2014, FDLR’s combatants who were candidates for the second contingent in North Kivu, had to return back to their initial dwelling places. Not only there had been no officials from the MONUSCO or from the DRC Authorities to take care of them, but also there was no enough physical space to accommodate and host them within the KANYABAYONGA site. It should be noted that it has been allegedly reported to be overcrowded. In these conditions, how can many other combatants be handed over for cantonment if there is no room to accommodate them?
THIRD: On 4th December 2014, we have expressed our deep concern that the Kisangani Transit Centre cannot accommodate all FDLR’s combatants and their respective dependents. We have clearly indicated that not only its expansion is urgently needed but also reliable provision of basic needs (daily hygiene needs and care, water and sanitation, enough food, clothing, adequate shelter, medical care and education for school-age children) should be unconditionally supplied during the duration of the transitional period. Unfortunately, until now, these very basic needs have been critically lacking so far. One may ask himself how that centre will accommodate more former combatants and their dependants amounting more than 200,000 refugees if it is not fit for the minimum transferred there so far.
FOURTH: Dependants of the former FDLR’s combatants recently cantoned in Kanyabayonga on 28th December 2014 are waiting to be collected in order to join their parents. They come from as many as more than 10 localities of the Kivus namely Ngungu, Lushebere, Lusoa, Kategu, Mweso, Lusamambu, Machumbi, Goma, Kikuku, etc. There is a need for strong logistical and security support from the MONUSCO and the DRC Authorities to insure transfer of these families to the Kanyabayonga camp without hindrances.
FIFTH: While the FDLR are taking strong and visible actions in implementing their commitment, we do not see any positive and encouraging gesture from the international community towards obtaining a peaceful settlement of the political problem of Rwanda through an inclusive dialogue between the Kigali regime and its opposition including the FDLR. Instead, we hear daily a call for war from Kigali and some of the representatives of the international community.
SIXTH: What next after Kisangani? No concrete and viable solution is proposed to the FDLR.
The FDLR wish to humbly reassure you once more that we are strongly committed to peace and are determined to go through with the present peace process. Concretely, the FDLR are ready to send in the nearest future possible another contingent of combatants for disarmament and cantonment.
We do hope that our voice will be heard and understood, and our actions will receive the support and the attention they deserve.
The FDLR are and remain convinced that ways and means that have been possible in peacefully resolving conflicts through political means elsewhere in Africa, such as in South Africa, in Burundi, in Sudan, in DRC, in Mozambique, etc. are also possible for Rwanda. Now here in the world the usage of military means have brought a genuine and lasting solution for peace. Instead, wherever it has been tried, it has created more sufferings to the innocent populations. It is not a solution we can accept.
Therefore, we, the FDLR, once again request that the international community put pressure on the Kigali regime so that it can engage without delay into an unconditional and inclusive dialogue with the FDLR and other opposition parties. The only desire of the Rwandan refugees is to return in their homeland peacefully and in dignity, and enjoy their fundamental human rights.
The FDLR are convinced that it is a matter of political will to find a peaceful solution to the Rwandan problem we are facing. For this purpose, it is time for the International Community at large and the African regional communities in particular, to take responsibilities and serious supportive actions and put an end to the current approach and behavior of the double standards.
Peace to all of us.
Done at Walikale, DRC, on 5th January, 2015
For the FDLR
Major-General Victor BYIRINGIRO
-His Excellency Paul KAGAME, President of Rwanda,
-His Excellency Yoweri MUSEVENI, President of Uganda,
-Hon. Russel FEINGOLD, U.S Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region,
-Hon. Ambassador Saïd Djinnit, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) for the Great Lakes Region,
-Hon. Ambassador Smaïl Chergui, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security.
-Hon. Ntsiki Mashimbye, South Africa’s Ambassador in Kinshasa -DRC
-Hon. Georges Rebelo Chicoti, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Angola,
-Honorable Simbarashe S. Mumbengegwi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zimbabwe,
-Honorable Mr. David Mahlobo, Minister of State Security of the Republic of South Africa, Current Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation;
– Hon. Ambassador Boubacar Gaoussou Diarra, AU Special Representative for the Great Lakes Region,
-Hon. Professor Ntumba Luaba, Executive Secretary of the ICGLR,
– Hon. Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, Executive Secretary of SADC.
-Hon. Mr. Kobler Martin, The head of MONUSCO
– Hon. Mr. Feller Lutaichilwa
– Hon. Mr. Mark Power UK
– Hon. Mr. Thomas Lynch
– Hon. Jane Alison Porter
– Hon. Colonel Temporel
– Hon. Mr. Anton Jongennel
– Hon. Lt Colonel Mandjani Omari
– Cosmas Nkhara BAHALI Director Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS)