Meeting with refugees in Goma DRCongo on Sunday November 14th, 2021 at our offices in Goma

Report on our weekly meeting with refugees in Goma, the Democratic Republic of Congo held on Sunday November 14th, 2021 at our offices

Despite the rain that destabilized the movement of people in Goma, still more than 38 refugees attended our meeting among them 21 women and 17 men.

The meeting started at 2:10 pm from a prayer conducted by a volunteer.

Minute One: General information about refugees in Goma

The meeting was informed about two refugees who died and they did not have access to medical treatment, some refugees who were sick and in critical condition and those who were chased from their homes because they failed to pay for house rent. The meeting was also informed about refugees who were arrested by security forces, those who have conflicts with other people in their communities and those who came to seek for food at the office.

The meeting also was informed about some refugees who have expressed fear to be repatriated back to Rwanda by force in case they show up,

Minutes Two: Issues at hand

Refugees shared information about the survey being conducted in Goma by a team from UNHCR which is only focusing on refugees from Burundi and that is viewed as discrimination, the questions of the survey and how refugees are not happy with what is being done. Still more was done discussed among refugees on what have UNHCR presented to the UNHCR Executive Committee about the situation in Goma, the participants from Burundi indicated how they are highly infiltrated by Congolese and more was about the team from Geneva that failed to engage with concerned refugees but interacted by people who are maintained in place by the refugee regime.

On the election of refugee representatives: Refugee shared information among themselves and indicated how UNHCR, CNR and AIDES are already preparing their own people who they want to be impose on refugees as their representatives, and also that CNR is planning to exclude some vocal refugee leaders from the competition to participate in elections. Refugees were encouraged to be mobilized in order to fully participate in the elections once they are set up but also come up with candidates who can defend their interests.

On the issue of information from UNHCR: Refugees from Rwanda complained that UNHCR officers are telling them that they will not benefit from assistance next year 2022 on ground which are not yet clear, this includes the medical support to those who do benefit from it. This is viewed as UNHCR war against Rwandan refugees.

Registration of those who are not yet recognized: Refugees observed with concerns that up to now refugees are not being registered especially those of 1994, asylum seekers are not granted the refugee status, and these is no plan yet for those who missed the verification in September 2021.

On the issue of their money: Refugees indicated that some among them did not receive their money for COVID19 in 2020, others received only half of, and others did not receive the money for the education of their children while others were excluded.

We informed refugees how we have tried to engage UNHCR on all these issues but UNHCR Goma has been sending us to the refugee urban committee when we ask the committee they have also said they don’t know and that we should ask UNHCR Goma, and the committee has also indicated that they do not know which one because apparently there are two refugee committees in place.

Minute Four:

This was mainly on any other business in which money was contributed amongst participants in order to help a refugee woman who was sick and collapsed from the office during the meeting.

We also took note of various issues which will constitute our advocacy and lobbying, and promised to report back to them in the next meeting.

The meeting ended at 4:20 pm


Author: Kuliloshi Pecos