ALERT: REMIND THE D.R.CONGO GOVERNMENT, THE UNHCR GOMA AND OTHER ACTORS TO ENSURE THE RIGHTS OF 19 RWANDAN ASYLUM SEEKERS ARRESTED IN NORTH KIVU AS THEY CROSSED INTO CONGO ILLEGALLY
We have been informed through local media in Eastern D.R.Congo that military Authorities in Goma, North Kivu arrested 19 people from Rwanda who crossed the border illegally and were found on Congolese territory yesterday May 19th, 2021.
This happened in a place called Kibati, in Nyiragongo North Kivu, and they are composed of 14 children, 4 women and 1 man according to the media.
These people are facing risks of being deported back to Rwanda and at the same being perceived as “spies” as indicated by some local media and that may seriously affect their desire to be granted protection in D.R.Congo.
We have sent an email to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR Goma) and the Congolese National Commission for Refugees (CNR Goma) calling upon them to get involved in order to ensure that asylum seekers are not deported by the Military Authorities.
Despite the current state of emergency in North Kivu, and despite the negative approach well maintained by humanitarian actors against the protection of refugees, we remind each one that still D.R.Congo has the obligation to offer asylum to anyone who seeks for it.
This happens at a moment when both UNHCR and the Congolese Government are making priorities the approach of “repatriation” of refugees which we believe is “forced repatriation”.
The quick instinctive reaction is that welcoming these new asylum seekers may affect these repatriation operations and other plans which are likely to be implemented like “the secession clause” against Rwandan refugees in D.R.Congo which UNHCR is advertising currently and on which we are also opposed.
We humbly request you to engage D.R.Congo Government, the UNHCR and the UN Mission to ensure that these people are fully well received and to put in place an open door policy which favors free entrance to all those who wish to seek asylum in the country.
We humbly call upon everyone to get involved and closely follow this situation but also quickly respond to our call of actions if we view it urgent and necessary.