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Requesting CNR Goma DRCongo to end threats and intimidation against those in the field of refugees rights

Me Samy Mukombozi Kahindo,

Head of Antenna of the

National Commission for Refugees

(CNR) Goma, DRCONGO

 

Copy for information to:

To the Permanent Secretary

National Commission for Refugees,

CNR Kinshasa. DRCongo,

National Commission for Human Rights

North Kivu branch

Goma DRCongo,

The President of the North Kivu Civil Society

Goma, DRCongo,

The Commander of the Congolese National Police,

Goma, North Kivu / DRCongo

His Excellency the Governor of the Province

Goma, North – Kivu DRCongo

 

Re: Call for an end to threats, attacks and intimidation against Refugee Rights Defenders and Refugee Opinion leaders in Goma North Kivu, the Democratic Republic of Congo by CNR Staffs.

We humbly come to you in order to engage you on the above situation as faced by those who believe in the protection and promotion of refugee rights in Goma North Kivu, DRCongo.

Dear the Head of CNR Antenna of Goma RDCONGO, our only interest that we think could also be yours is to protect each refugee in North Kivu as this is one of the means to Promote Peace in this province.

Based on the United Nations Declaration on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders of 1998, and provincial provision of 2019 on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders,

We observe that some CNR Goma agents are opposed to this approach at the same time they do not offer anything as sustainable solutions to the problems of the refugees in North Kivu.

From the month of February 2021 until now we continue to observe the lack of tolerance of CNR Goma agents towards our colleagues who are not looking for anything other thing than the Protection of Refugees while you have not yet shared with us why the CNR would not be favorable to ideas on the Protection of Refugees in North Kivu as you are the structure of the Government in charge with the Refugees.

However we continue to observe the massive violations of the Rights of Refugees and intimidations, threats and attacks against critical voices by CNR Goma RDCONGO Agents. But also we have already alerted you on the allegations of duplication of the Refugee Leadership by creating another Team which seems to play the role of the current leaders of the urban Refugees of Goma, whose main cause would be the work between us and the leaders of the refugees that some CNR Goma agents would think they were closer to us.

Let us bring to your attention that these negative reactions from CNR Officers started in April with the visit of the UNHCR Boss to Goma and have continued up to date. We believe that the disappearance of Angelo may be connected to these intimidations and could aim at putting pressure on us in order to abandon this struggle, which is not the case. Our struggle for refugee rights in Eastern DRCongo will continue until our last breath.

We have already alerted you on threatening remarks by certain CNR Goma agents during certain meetings against those who believe in the Rights of Refugees especially during our meeting at the CNR Office in May 2021, in which an officer of the CNR known as Reginalde threatened us with arrest in your presence. Surprisingly this seemed to have gone unnoticed and yet it is related to the life of many people. But also vocal refugees have reported to us how they continue facing threats by CNR Agents on allegations that they are close to our offices.

We also inform you that on Monday and Tuesday September 06, 07, 2021 our Team which visited the Refugee Verification site in Goma suffered threats of arrest and humiliation by your agent known as Reginalde, on the pretext that they are not refugees, while the CNR Goma knows very well that we are working on refugee issues and would like to follow closely this case of Verification of Refugees in Goma, which is taking place in conditions which may bring provocative questions about the sincerity of this verification. We also remind you that we wrote an email to CNR expressing our desire to participate in this verification exercise as observer two weeks ago but we have not yet had any feedback.

We believe that this exercise should be more inclusive, transparent, and accessible to every person in a public place to help every Congolese observe what you are doing for us. If at least you don’t have something to hide or reproach yourself about it.

We all have a patriotic duty to defend this country and put the country’s interests first, but we have the impression that some Congolese in the management of Refugees seem to be carrying out actions that would serve foreign interests more by sacrificing their own country.

While this country deserves better from us by fighting to bring solutions to the problems of the refugees in North Kivu, because these problems have existed since 1994 until now, and that we believe that it is already time to solve them.

Some Congolese in the National Commission for Refugees (CNR) Coma seem to be playing the mercenaries’ games for the sake of the Rwandan Government, which would have much to gain to perpetuate the problem of refugees by moving away from all avenues of Sustainable Solutions and by doing so at the same time attaching to those that preach Durable Solutions to refugees in North Kivu DRCONGO.

These Congolese would fabricate stories to show how the problem of refugees in North Kivu is difficult, dangerous, complicated, political and very complex when all this is not necessary true, and does not fit with our demands for leadership to meet a need.

We are strongly convinced that the solution to this Refugee Problem is possible and Durable Solutions exist, and we are well available to make our part of contribution. Although you have not planned any outreach to the refugees, we would like to inform you that for two weeks our colleagues conducted meetings and physical contacts with the refugees to explain them about the verification and encourage them to actively participate in it.

The solutions to the problems of the refugees in North Kivu are there and it is very possible to solve these problems for the interest of the country.

Yesterday Monday September 6, 2021 the CNR and the UNHCR began a verification of the Refugees in the discretion that some observers perceive as a maneuver to eliminate thousands of refugees, especially Rwandan refugees who would present yet legitimate allegations of security. This would benefit more Rwanda, which will have evidence to demonstrate the existence of a small number of Refugees on Congolese soil but also the DRCongo may lose a large part of the United Nations contribution to what the Convention of Geneva called “Sharing responsibility in the management of refugees”.

While this is false, the Refugees’ allegations show a large concentration of Refugees in Goma who remain without CNR documents. We are impressed by a large number of refugees who arrive at our office and ask for only one thing: To be protected by the CNR.

At the same time the CNR does not show how those which will not be either verified or recognized will be handled afterwards.

We denounce the CNR Nord-Kivu’s way of managing Refugees and the lack of seriousness in the effective management of Refugees in North Kivu. This way of doing things seems to move away from the vision of the Congolese Head of State who qualifies the DRCONGO as a “Land of Refugees”.

We continue to ask the CNR to put in place a strategy that gives Protection to every Refugee in North Kivu,

We continue to call on CNR Goma to put an end to all forms of threats and intimidation against all Human Rights Defenders engaged in the Promotion and Protection of Refugee Rights, as well as Refugee opinion leaders in North Kivu,

We call on CNR Goma to take disciplinary action against its agents who abuse their power and threaten those who are critical of the way refugees are managed. Having shown that Mr. Reginalde is very contested by some of the refugees and is very confrontational, we ask you to either replace him with another Congolese or transfer him to another corner of the country,

We alert you to the need to make reactions that would not put the lives of our colleagues at risk, especially in this province where human life is trivialized. Create conflicts with our colleagues since they offer different ideas, would expose them to security risks,

 

We reserve the right to seize the Authorities and bodies of the country if we notice the continuity of such threats.

 

Kulihoshi Musikami Luc Pecos

Founder and President of Global Refugee Leaders Forum / Humanite Plus

Author: Kuliloshi Pecos