CLIIR Press release about the USA position towards Rwanda

This Tuesday the July 22, 2013, the United States called once again upon Rwanda to immediately end any support to the M23, which resumed hostilities in eastern Congo despite the Framework Agreement signed in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia ) February 24, 2013. This is the second time that the U.S. administration warns Rwandan President Paul Kagame for his major role in the conflict that has already caused thousands of deaths and displaced persons.

The Center for the Fight against Impunity and Injustice in Rwanda (CLIIR) is delighted with this position the U.S. government in its determination to curb violence in the Great Lakes Region of Africa(GLRA). Launching the second warning to Paul Kagame, the United States has just confirmed that the Kigali regime and the Rwandan army are directly involved in the instability of the region.

The security situation in North Kivu has deeply deteriorated, because of the ongoing conflict since M23 rebels resumed hostilities on July 14, 2013 after a brief ceasefire. According to the latest Human Rights Watch report (HRW), there are already several people dead and thousands others displaced. Atrocities are committed by the M23 rebels : women and girls are daily raped, child soldiers forcibly conscripted into rebellion.

The humanitarian situation remains extremely serious. Due to an M23 rebels reign of terror, it is very hard to carry out any rescue operations or psychological counseling to help the victims.

The CLIIR can not tolerate, that innoncent civilians continue to pay a heavy price. This tragedy must immediately cease and the perpetrators of these atrocities must be brought to justice to answer for their crimes.

We believe that the culture of impunity and injustice prevailing in the Great Lakes Region of Africa must be eradicated. The UN reports such as the Mapping Report 2010, about the massacres of Hutu refugees and Congolese civilians, surveys of groups of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), NGOs such as Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, accused for many years the Rwandan authorities of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity both within the country and outside its borders.

The CLIIR calls upon the international community to take action against the dictatorial regime of President Paul Kagame to bring it to meet its international obligations, in particular, the Framework Agreement signed in Addis Ababa, which Rwanda already violated by providing logistical and military support to the M23 rebels .

Today we call upon the international community to remain united to stop all military cooperation with Rwanda, to put in place binding financial measures and especially legal actions , in order to bend the arrogance of Rwandan President Paul Kagame. This one did not ever mind publicly insult his fellow Tanzanian President, threatening to invade his country simply because the president Kikwete is actively working for peace and non violence in the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

We reiterate our full support for the initiative of President Kikwete who proposed to Kinshasa, Uganda and Kigali to promote widespread dialogue for a lasting peace in the GLRA.

It became clear that the Rwandan President Paul Kagame, according his attitude, is not the man to contribute to peace in the GLRA, or even less in Rwanda as evidenced by his various controversial speeches, in which he advocated a policy of discrimination and hatred between the different ethnic groups that Rwandan population is made of.

In order to exit the political enlissement and impose peace in GLRA, we would like to ask the envoys of the UN and the United States in the Great Lakes Region of Africa and Western governments that provide assistance to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to:

1. Denounce and condemn the rwandan military and logistical support to the M23 rebels, and support the imposition of sanctions against senior Rwandan officials involved in supporting the M23 rebels since its creation;

2. Make sure that any agreement between the Congolese government and the M23 rebels exclude integration into the Congolese army, the leaders of M23, who are under the United Nations and the United States States sanctions, and those accused of war crimes and other serious abuses;

3. Exert pressure for the arrest and initiation of legal proceedures against the rwandan military commanders, including the members of the M23, who are involved in war crimes and other serious human rights violations;

4. Suspend all military aid to the Rwandan army as it will continue to support Congolese armed groups responsible for abuses.
Done at Brussels, July 25, 2013

For the Center (CLIIR)

Joseph MATATA, Coordinator