FDU-Inkingi is very concerned about the complacency of the UN and the international community at large, particularly UNICEF, over the alleged starvation of Rwandan refugees, the majority of whom are children sectioned in General Bauma barracks of Lt Kisangani. Since August 30, 2018. The supply of water and electricity has been stopped, creating conditions that make these refugees, especially children and old people, vulnerable to diseases of different kinds. Food supply stopped on September 23, 2018.
62% of these refugees who have been denied food and safe drinking water are children. They use rain water collected for drinking, washing and cooking.
The aim of this unhuman treatment is to force them to return to Rwanda against their will. Denial of food and water is being used as a weapon to force refugees on the conveyor belt for delivery to the Rwandan repressive regime. This cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment is prohibited by article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 3 of the European Convention on human rights and is treated as torture prohibited by the International Conventions. Such acts also constitute a violation of international human rights law and international humanitarian law i.e. “deliberate starvation as a means of achieving political goals” and the violation of the UN Convention relating to the status of refuges that prohibits forceful return of refugees to countries of origin.
The FDU-Inkingi condemns in the strongest terms possible this tactic of starvation to force refugees back home. We would like to recall that these are families of former FDLR combatants who willingly accepted to surrender their weapons and wanted guarantees for safe return to Rwanda. UNCHR and all other guarantors have failed to offer these guarantees for safe return and therefore the tactic to send them through coercion was adopted. In the process children are paying the price of regional political manoeuvring.
We appeal to all people, governments, organisations of good will to prevail upon the UNHCR, UNICEF and MONUSCO and the government of DRC to end this unhuman and degrading treatment of refugees particularly children, and to provide food, water and medical care to them, especially to the most vulnerable i.e. children and the elderly.
We also appeal to the UN, UNHCR, UNICEF, MONUSCO and members of SADC to ensure that real political solutions are found to allow safe of these refugees.
Done in London on November 8, 2018.
2nd Vice President, FDU-Inkingi