His Excellency Mr. Ban KI-MOON, Secretary General of the United Nations (UN)
Her Excellency Mr. François DELATTRE, Chairperson of the UN Security Council and Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations;
His Excellency Mr. Joseph KABILA KABANGE, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC);
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. Robert MUGABE, President of the Republic of ZIMBABWE, current Chairperson of the African Union (AU) and Chairperson of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC);
His Excellency Mr. Jacob ZUMA, President of the Republic of South Africa and Chairman of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Co-operation;
Her Excellency Dr Nkosazana Dlamini ZUMA, Chairperson of the African Union Commission;
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. Barack OBAMA, President of the United States of America.
His Excellency Mr. François Hollande, President of the Republic of France
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. 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
FOCUS ON THE PROGRESS IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FDLR PEACE PROCESS INITIATIVE IN THE AFRICAN GREAT LAKES REGION
The present memorandum is an update with regard to the challenges encountered by the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) in their effort to fully materialize their unilateral initiative of voluntary disarmament process launched at the end of 2013.
These last months, some stakeholders have been putting the FDLR under pressure as to disarm and relocate to the famous KISANGANI transit camp although the same stakeholders are not exercising similar pressure on the RPF-Inkotanyi regime in place in Kigali to engage into a political dialogue with the FDLR and other Rwandan political opposition organizations.
Moreover, the same stakeholders, instead of advocating for peaceful solutions, have been pushing for a new war in the DRC against the FDLR. And yet, beginning of January 2015, the DRC Authorities announced that they were going to launch military attacks against the FDLR without the support of the MONUSCO and intervention Brigade.
On February 25th and 26th 2015, RDC Authorities declared that they had attacked the FDLR in South and North Kivu respectively and those operations were to continue. The result of this was the displacement of thousands of abandoned Rwandan refugees and Congolese population who are living in those areas.
It is unfortunate and beyond human understanding how attacks against disarmed refugees and civil population can be carried out indiscriminately while the FDLR are still implementing the voluntary disarmament process reference, see the invitation letter of January 28th, 2015
SOME peace initiatives in which the FDLR were involved so far
1. On December 30, 2013 the FDLR have committed to disarm and continue their struggle politically and have requested the international community at large to understand, assist, support and go along with them towards implementation of their commitment for a sustainable peace process. But this was not the first initiative.
2. Since the inception of the organization in May 2000, the FDLR have spared no effort to help restore peace in the African Great Lakes Region. Some facts and gestures as well as various events below speak for themselves to illustrate the efforts of FDLR in their march to the search for peace without bloodshed. It is in that respect that since May 1st, 2000, the FDLR launched an appeal to Rwandan regime to engage a dialogue with its opposition i.e. the FDLR. The response of the RPF-Inkotanyi regime was NIET.
3. In 2001, the FDLR agreed to voluntary disarm and decided to confine more than 2,500 fighters in the KAMINA military base, DRC.
4. In May 2002 in KINSHASA, the international community through its representatives in UN Security Council namely, the United States of America, France, Great Britain, Germany plus the EU has witnessed the destruction of 1,000 weapons that the FDLR had deposed the previous year.
5. From September 30 to October 10, 2002 a delegation of the FDLR conducted an exploratory mission in RWANDA to evaluate security and socio-economic development in order to encourage the return of refugees and combatants to RWANDA. Subsequent to that mission, the FDLR made multiple calls for a negotiated solution to the conflict that opposes them and the RPF-INKOTANYI regime as well as the problem related to the return of Rwandan refugees in vain. The response of the RPF-Inkotanyi regime was NIET
6. At the beginning of the year 2005, the FDLR held talks with the DRC Authorities in Rome, Italy under the hospice of the Sant’Egidio Community. These talks resulted in the historic “Declaration of Rome” on March 31st, 2005.
7. On April 2nd, the FDLR met the representatives of the international community in order to discuss the implementation of “Declaration of Rome” particularly the accompanying measures. All representatives of the international community saluted the letter and the spirit of the Declaration and committed themselves to positively support its full implementation. Once again, the Kigali regime rejected any idea of talks with the FDLR and made everything possible to topple the implementation of the process. Under the pressure of Kigali, the international community did not fulfill its commitment.
8. In January 2008, the FDLR gave an important input in the Goma Conference for Peace, Security and Development held from 6 to 14th of January 2008 through a memorandum addressed to the conference. The FDLR contribution was considerable and saluted.
9. At the end of January 2008, the FDLR made peace proposals to Rwanda during a meeting held in Chambucha, DRC with the Church of Christ in Congo (ECC).
10. On August 6th 2008 in Nyabiondo, DRC, a high-level delegation of the FDLR held a meeting with a joint delegation RDC Authorities – ECC in which they reiterated their offer to Rwanda for peaceful solution to the Rwandan political problem. The answer of the Kigali regime was NO, we can not talk.
11. In 2009, the FDLR reiterated their offer for a peaceful settlement of the problem of their presence in DRC and called for a large and inclusive inter-rwandan dialogue to analyze the root of the Rwandan political problem and find a genuine and sustainable solution to it. Instead of welcoming the idea and responding positively to the proposal, Rwanda, DRC and the UN Mission in DRC (MONUC) decided to launch during 4 years joint military operations against the FDLR. Not only one, but not less than FIVE operations (Umoja Wetu, Kimia 1 & 2, Amani Leo and AMANI Kimilifu), the result of which were thousands of innocent lives lost, hundreds thousands of displaced population –congolese and Rwandan refugees alike-, and many infrastructures destroyed.
12. On December 30th, 2013 at Lusamambo, DRC, the FDLR made a unilateral peace declaration in which they committed to disarm and engage into a political struggle aimed at allowing the Rwandan refugees to return home in peace and dignity on one hand and fully participate to the development of their mother land through a fair and regularly open political space. To that end, they reiterated their demand of a dialogue between the RPF-Inkotanyi regime and the FDLR and other opposition organizations. Once again Rwanda rejected the idea of a dialogue. Instead, it called the UN Mission in DRC and the DRC Authorities to crush militarily the FDLR and threatened to send its soldiers into DRC as by the past.
13. Later on, on February 22nd 2014, the FDLR held a meeting at Buleusa with a joint delegation of DRC Government and MONUSCO. The 3 parties worked on the preparation of cantonment of disarmed men of the FDLR in a pre-transit camp at KATEKU in North Kivu.
14. On April 18, 2014 the FDLR invited the International Community to witness the voluntary disarming and handing over their weapons to SADC. A preparatory meeting of the event was held on May 29th, 2014 at Buleusa between the FDLR and a joint delegation DRC Government-MONUSCO.
15. On May 30, 2014, at KATEKU in North Kivu, the International Community, local and international media witnessed the handover of 100 weapons by the FDLR to SADC. On this occasion, 105 FDLR combatants have been disarmed and routed to KANYABAYONGA. It was agreed to put in place a joint technical team of SADC-DRC Government – MONUSCO – FDLR requested to set up a timetable for the upcoming activities. Rwanda was invited but it did not dare send a representative.
16. On June 8, 2014 the Technical Staff in North Kivu held its first working session.
17. On June 9, 2014, at Kigogo in South Kivu, the International Community, local and international media witnessed the voluntary disarmament of 83 FDLR fighters and the handover of their weapons to SADC. Along with their 234 dependents, the combatants were taken to Walungu in a pre-transit camp.
18. On June 10, 2014 the Technical Staff in South Kivu held its first working session.
19. On June 22, 2014, at Buleusa, a meeting was held between the FDLR and a large joint delegation SADC-DRC Government-MONUSCO. On this occasion, the FDLR expressed their grievances to SADC, given the slow progress of the process as result of activism and fury of some actors who were still ignoring the legitimate concerns of FDLR. The SADC representatives committed to be represented in technical team and confessed that some political aspects should be taken into consideration.
20. Despite land and space constraints, the FDLR have committed to do everything possible to regroup with their dependents at KANYABAYONGA and prepare the second track of contingent to disarm with dependents in South Kivu before June 26. This was done in time.
21. On June 26, 2014, under the facilitation of the SANT’EGIDIO Community a meeting was held in ROME between Special Envoys in DRC and delegations of the DRC government, MONUSCO and the FDLR. The KIGALI regime condemned such a meeting with the FDLR.
22. On June 28, 2014 at BULINYI South Kivu, 68 FDLR combatants laid down their weapons and handed them over to SADC. They were with 190 dependents.
23. On July 13rd, 2014, a meeting was held between the FDLR and joint SADC-DRC Government-MONUSCO delegation at Lusamambo to share the conclusions of the SADC- ICGLR inter-ministerial meeting held in LUANDA on July 2nd, 2014.
24. On August 06, 2014 a meeting between FDLR and a high-level joint SADC-ICGLR- DRC Government -MONUSCO delegation has held at Lusamambo. It was aimed at sending a strong message to the FDLR leadership. The latter did not shrink from its commitment. Instead they decided to continue the implementation of their commitment.
CHALLENGES AND OBSTACLES TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FDLR DECLARATION
By their new initiative for peace, the FDLR have taken a firm commitment to which they remain loyal and ready to comply in good faith.
However, the proper outcome of this initiated process does not depend only on the FDLR goodwill. The peace prospect must involve many actors and stakeholders at different levels and at different steps. Unfortunately, a series of difficulties and obstacles have been encountered during the implementation process. They deserve a special attention of all actors and all stakeholders to a united effort in order to eliminate them in favor of the normal progress of the process for a greater satisfaction of all:
25. The KIGALI regime has categorically and systematically rejected any idea to hold talks with the FDLR and the Rwandan opposition organizations and any FDLR offer or approach for a solution to the Rwandan political problem by peaceful means.
26. An international pressure on Kigali to open a free and secured political space in Rwanda and negotiate with its opposition including the FDLR has been lacking. Instead, the international community is under Kigali’s pressure.
27. Embargo imposed out to all of the FDLR leadership.
28. A deliberate confusion of the process to the MONUSCO- DDRRR program or an action of surrender and/or the capitulation.
29. A lack of a clear perspective for the disarmed FDLR members and their families. The international community has not made any clear lasting solution to the problem
30. Continuous threatening and intimidating statements from MONUSCO leadership, the US Envoy in DRC and some Congolese officials.
31. A lack of security guarantees and assistance in the Kisangani transit camp.
32. The recently waged war by the FARDC against the FDLR and other Rwandan refugees in DRC without any voice calling for a peaceful settlement.
33. The FDLR are determined to go through with the process and hope that their voice will be heard, understood, supported and assisted in its implementation. The FDLR are convinced that, what has been possible elsewhere in Africa whereby peaceful means were applied in resolving conflicts is also possible for Rwanda under the RPF-Inkotanyi of President General Paul Kagame regime. For this purpose, it is time for the International Community to take responsibilities and seriously take action and put an end to its hypocritical approach and behaviour of the double standards.
34. The international community should take immediate action and exercise pressure on the RPF-INKOTANYI regime in place in Kigali to urgently open and guarantee a free and secure political space in Rwanda and the acceptance of dialogue with all of its opposition including the FDLR.
35. The international community, UNHCR and SADC, should make immediate steps towards protecting the Rwandan refugees in Eastern DRC against the attacks of the proxies of the Kigali regime infiltrated in the FARDC.
36. The FDLR will not watch idle their Rwandan brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and Congolese brothers and sisters being slaughtered.
May God bless you all and bring peace and stability in the African Great Lakes Region.
Done at Walikale, DRC on March 11th 2015.
Acting President of the FDLR.
-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)