The second day pf verification of refugees in Goma marked still by a low turn up: Someone should take the blame

The second day of the refugee verification in Goma, North Kivu, the Democratic Republic of Congo

As it was yesterday, we again observed a low turning up of refugees for this verification and this was much expected to be in this way. Today Tuesday more than 100 families were around and waited for their verification, this time the number was big because yesterday refugees who were present were not verified and no explanation was given.

No one knows about the objectives, and refugees are not familiar even with the venue, no one knows why the failure to communicate and to engage refugees on this exercise, only UNHCR and her partner CNR know but yet this is public taxpayer’s money being used in this way.

The big number of refugees coming up are those from Burundi and other countries who do not have much security concerns in North Kivu, but also those from Burundi are divided into two groups: The first group is composed of true Burundian refugees in Goma and they have been coming for the verification. The second group is composed of those who are alleged to be Congolese but registered as Burundian refugees, this group is still waiting for a better moment when they can do the verification without being seen. Unfortunately the CNR Goma has remained silent to our calls to investigate these allegations of Congolese being considered as Burundian Refugees.

On the other side of Rwandans things are more complicated, some who talked to us indicated that they fear being taken to Rwanda, some refugees have sent us messages to know if there is a plan to deport them back to Rwanda but we could not answer because both UNHCR and CNR do not provide us with important information we need.

Most of the Rwandans we turned up today are mainly composed of women and children and they were in slam numbers.

We still do not know yet why this verification was called in such a hurry and what do UNHCR and CNR have as objectives.

We believe this verification should be put to the hold and focus on a better communication plan with refugees in North Kivu. Surprisingly as it was yesterday our team members who went to the verification site again today were threatened of arrest and were expelled from the venue by CNR officers. We have already addressed a protest letter to CNR Goma.

Author: Kuliloshi Pecos