- The root of the problem of Rwandan refugees in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and around the World is the prevailing political situation in Rwanda. Hence, the solution to the problem cannot be found neither in military operations against refugees nor in repression targeting the Rwandan political opposition.
- Since 1996, several military operations, some qualified as “acts of genocide” by the United Nations have deliberately and systematically targeted Rwandan refugees, leading to millions of dead, including Congolese civilians. These operations have all failed to bring peace in the region. Instead they have led to unspeakable human tragedy, massacres and more instability in the region.
- The best solution to bring peace in the Great Lakes region is a demobilization process that offers security guarantees to the combatants, their dependents, and Rwandan refugees as a whole.
- These securities guarantees must be agreed upon and endorsed by competent institutions such as SADC, ICGLR, MONUSCO and the governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda.
With the understanding of the above, NDC has always been ready to contribute to the peace process. Indeed, in 2008 in Rome, with the mediation of Sant Egidio Community, SIK Norway, and the Church of Christ in Congo (ECC), the DRC government and the CND engaged in an initiative aimed at bringing durable peace in the Great Lakes region.
Based on the Rome Process, on July 31, 2008 in Kasiki in Lubero territory, North Kivu province, the NDC initiated a process of voluntary disarmament and demobilization of combatants. The ceremony to launch the process was conducted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DRC in the presence of leaders of MONUSCO, the African Union, the European Union and the delegation of the Rwandan government led by the Head of external intelligence. The weapons were handed to MONUSCO and hundreds of disarmed combatants and their dependents were regrouped in the Kasiki camps, awaiting organized repatriation to Rwanda or relocation on the Congolese territory for those who did not wish to return to Rwanda.
Tragically, it is when a delegation of the refugees had returned from an exploratory visit to Rwanda to get a feel of the conditions awaiting them home and when another group of 500 combatants was on their way to join the voluntary disarmament, that the government of Rwanda decided to launch military operations against disarmed refugees, including children, women, the elderly, regrouped in the Kasiki camps. These military operations did not aim the repatriation of these refugees with dignity. These operations had, as usual, the objective of killing or dispersing disarmed combatants and their dependents to prevent organized repatriation.
We offer again our readiness to contribute to the peace process, using peaceful solutions, the only ones able to bring durable peace, prevent human tragedy, while promoting security, cooperation, and sustainable economic development in the Great region
Our offer for peace may be summarized in the following points:
- This offer consists in the demobilization and the disarmament of combatants under the conditions of security guarantees and accompanying measures such as convened between the DRC Government and NDC leaders in Rome and outlined in the Kisangani Roadmap.
- Our offer could serve as a model for the demobilization and the disarmament of combatants belonging to armed groups based in eastern DRC.
In return, the NDC expects the following from the United Nations and the governments of Rwanda and the DRC:
- The United Nations would ensure that the Rwandan Government does not undermine the process.
- The United Nations would establish a mechanism to ensure that the disarmed combatants repatriated to Rwanda would no longer be forced to join armed groups.
- The United Nations Secretary General would appoint a Special Representative for Refugees in the Great Lakes Region, as provided in the Rome Agreement of 27 January 2009 between the Government of the DRC and NDC, signed with the facilitation of Sant Egidio community, SIK-Norway and the Church of Christ in Congo (ECC). A major role of the Special Representative will be to:
- Facilitate contacts and mediate between the Rwandan Government and the leadership of NDC, so that they engage into genuine negotiations aimed at exploring the application of our proposal.
- Oversee the implementation of any agreement between the Rwandan government and the leadership of NDC.
We once again urge General Paul Kagame, the current President of Rwanda to take this positive path being offered by NDC in order to solve once for all the problem of refugees that has become a scourge on the Rwandan people and a heavy burden for Rwandan neighbors. As we noted in our statement of January 24, 2008 in Kinshasa and on July 31, 2008 in Kasiki, General Paul Kagame , as President of Rwanda and as someone who has spent more than half his life in exile, has the primary responsibility and should be particularly understanding of the plight of Rwandan refugees.
We are ready to meet General Paul Kagame or his ministers, President Joseph Kabila or his ministers, SADC , ICGLR and MONUSCO officials, to discuss the offer contained in this offer.
Our offer is rational and practical
Our offer is valid after it receives the approval of the United Nations, SADC, ICGLR, and the governments of the DRC and Rwanda. Demobilization and disarmament of combatants will begin as soon as the parties formally agree upon the security guarantees and the support measures. We believe that our offer is rational and practical because it avoids military operations advocated by warmongering actors, who prefer to overlook the human and financial costs of such wars and the tragedy that the world body can no longer afford to ignore.
Friday, December 26, 2014
Felicien Kanyamibwa, PhD
President, National Democratic Congress (NDC) - Congrès National pour la Démocratie (CND)
Washington, D.C., USA.
National Democratic Congress (NDC)
Congrès National pour la Démocratie (CND)