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The instability in the Great Lakes region of Africa constitutes not only a moral problem, but also a World security problem. The political situation inside Rwanda and its enduring consequence, the problem of Rwanda refugees, are at the heart of the instability. Resolving the problem of Rwandan refugees is the key to stabilizing the region.

A. MAJOR PRINCIPLES

  1. The crisis Rwanda has been going through since the 1990s is political in nature and its solution must be political;
  2. A political solution is viable if it is fair and equitable and preserves the interests of all the components of the Rwandan society and concerned parties;
  3. The respect of the fundamental rights of the citizen, particularly the right to life, remains a sacred principle;
  4. The law must protect the rights of the minorities;
  5. The sovereignty of the Rwandan state and the territorial integrity of the neighboring countries must be preserved according to the Charter of the Organization for African Unity;
  6. International conventions and international treaties and pacts ratified
  7. by Rwanda must be enforced;
  8. Regional integration constitutes a paramount priority;
  9. To end the circle of impunity all criminals must be prosecuted regardless of ethnic group, national origin, region, religion, or other criteria.

B. FRAMEWORK FOR RESOLVING INSTABILITY IN THE GREAT LAKES REGION

African leaders and Western and other governments have usually sought to play a major positive role in Africa in general, and in the Great Lakes Region in particular. Unfortunately, the partners they chose at some time in the past and so far, especially General Paul Kagame and Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), did not and cannot offer good results, abused their confidence, and will continue to deceive as they assert their legitimacy through sham electoral processes, manipulations, and other criminal maneuvers.

Because of their Human Rights abuses, the massacre of millions of Congolese and Rwandans, their warmongering policies disregarding African unity and regional cooperation and integration, their arrogance, and the hatred most people in the regions feel towards them, General Paul Kagame, his regime and his close associates, have become a liability for their allies and for the friends of Rwanda. General Paul Kagame and the RPF can only maintain themselves in power by repression, hence complicating the problem of Rwandan refugees, therefore the problem of peace and stability in the Great Lakes Region.

We propose the framework articulated around the following realities:

  1.  Rwandans must assume the responsibility of their problems. They first and foremost have the primal responsibility for the crises and instability in their country and share most of the blame for the regional instability;

  2. However, Rwandans cannot solve theirs problems alone. The divide among Rwandans has become so deep that they need the help of true friends around the table. Hence, Great Britain and the United States of America, as the friends of Rwanda may play the critical and authoritative role of mediation and facilitation;

  3. The political problem in Rwanda is first of all ethnic and of democracy. The rogue governments in the Great Lakes region come from and rely on a small clique within an ethnic group. Hence, the inexorable demise of these governments usually lead to human tragedies, in which innocent civilians from a target ethnic group pay for the crimes and abuses committed by the rogue governments.

  4. Therefore, the friends of Rwanda should avoid working with one ethnic group to the detriment of others. The credibility and interests of these friends are at stake. In fact, people who suffer from crimes by rogues states and the militias usually associate the Western powers with the rogue governments in the region. Therefore, the friends of Rwanda have vested interests in supporting initiatives that strive to establishing strong institutions where all Rwandans feel represented and that the basic human rights, such freedom of expression, freedom of association, and justice are guaranteed;

  5. The mediation needs to facilitate contacts and negotiations between the opposition in the diaspora and the key Tutsi leaders of the current Rwandan government, genuinely interested in the peaceful and durable resolution of the Rwandan political impasse. These contacts and negotiations will establish the framework for:

    • security guaranties; 
    • political, social, and economic participation inside Rwanda; 
    • judicial system;
    • regional cooperation; 
    • economic integration;
    • investment and trade.
  6.  A permanent solution to the Rwandan refugee problem is paramount. The mediation, the UNHCR, the opposition, and the Tutsi members of the current Rwandan government must commit to a roadmap for resolving the problem.

    The permanent solutions may include: 

    • voluntary repatriation to Rwanda;

    •  relocation or reinsertion in the countries the refugees currently reside; 

    • resettlement of refugees to a third country.

  7. Both the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front army, the Rwandan Defense Forces,  and armed opposition groups  have critical shortcomings. They must be disbanded once for all. It is imperative to build a new army that draws from both the RDF and the armed opposition, with the strict criteria of professionalism, respect of human rights, integrity, capacity, and social sensitivities.

C. ROADMAP AND ACTIONS

The return of the peace, security, and sustainable development in the Great Lakes Region require the commitment and deep involvement of the friends of Rwanda, especially CIRCGL and SADC countries,  the  Security Council Members, including the United Kingdom,  the United States of America, and France in addressing the roots of the problematic. The framework of the roadmap to peace should include the following:

  1. The pressure on the current Rwandan Government in order to stop it from interfering in internal affairs of the other states in the region, the DRC, Burundi, and Tanzania in particular, must be reinforced;

  2. To provide the country with consensual and stable democratic political institutions that will reflect the will of all the components of the Rwandan society and reassure the Rwandan neighbors, direct negotiations between key positive Tutsi leaders within the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and the armed opposition must start immediately under the following conditions:
    • The current government of the Rwanda must, without delay and/or conditions, free all the political prisoners and/or of opinion and liberalize the political activity. It must be ready to resolutely engage itself in a frank political dialogue with the opposition;
    • • Direct negotiations should be organized and held in conditions guaranteed by the United Nations Security Council and led by The United Kingdom and The United States of America, with the participation of the governments of Tanzania, Angola, DRC,
    • Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Uganda. Under these conditions, the opposition would cooperate in the repatriation of the refugees and the disarmament of the combatants in the framework of the formation of a true army that meets the aspirations of the Rwandan people;
    • • The direct negotiations would jumpstart a democratic transition with inclusive institutions as well as a development plan built on the legitimate aspirations of the whole Rwandan society and the preoccupations of the Rwandan neighbors.
  3. The Rwandan opposition, especially the armed opposition, will commit to cooperating with the international judiciary systems, such as the ICTR or the ICC, for a more equitable, impartial, and independent justice. To break with the culture of impunity, all alleged criminals, including those within the RPF, will be prosecuted for the crimes committed in Rwanda and in the DRC.

  4. The transitional Government stemming from the direct negotiations will guarantee the repatriation of Rwandan refugees and the formation of a national army from the merger of the governmental forces and all other armed groups having consensual democratic objectives. This will be done in the framework of a national program of demobilization, reintegration, and reinstatement.

  5. The UN will supervise the grouping and the stationing of the Rwandan civilian refugees residing on the DRC territory, for repatriation or resettlement;

  6. The length of the transition period will be determined and agreed upon by all the partners that will participate in the direct negotiations along with the UN Security Council, the United States and the The United Kingdom and the governments of Tanzania, Angola, DRC, Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Uganda.