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Weekly Meeting with refugees in Goma: Many refugees are worried about rumors aiming at demotivating them

Briefing about our weekly meeting with refugees in Goma held on Sunday November 7th, 2021

First of all, we would like to apologize because this report has delayed due to electricity shortage at our offices.

The meeting started with a prayer conducted by one refugee, then a brief introduction of the participants. As usual the meeting witnessed the presence of a high number of refugees, among them women as the majority, but also men and young people.

Point One: Information in various community areas

Refugees informed the meeting about those who are sick and do not have access to medical treatment because they are not yet registered, those who have lost their dear ones, refugees whose documents have expired and who are wondering about their fate in case they are arrested and refugees who have not yet received their money for education of their children,

Clarification was made that CNR is receiving refugees without problem and all these concerns have no answers because both UNHCR and CNR have not yet responded to our various messages. We do not know yet who does it benefit to deny information to refugees.

Refugees were concerned about various rumors attributed to the UNHCR Implementing Partners of cutting the aid to Rwandan refugees, of encouraging Rwandan refugees to move to Uganda, the secession clause to Rwandan refugees among others. Actually we have already requested UNHCR Goma to engage with her partners about information they should pass on to refugees especially when these staffs interact with refugees individually.

Point Two: The meeting between refugees and the Delegation of UNHCR from Geneva,

Refugees were informed and wondered how UNHCR field workers only engaged with Burundians on ground, but also refugees were informed about the presence of a Delegation from Geneva in Goma and the meeting with a category of refugees. Questions were raised about who are those who represent refugees, how are they selected, who selects them, what do they say in the meeting and why are refugees not aware. Refugees were also concerned if their views will be taken into consideration in Geneva during the year 2022 and what will be the main priorities of UNHCR,

Point three: Recommendations of refugees during consultative meetings in Geneva,

Refugees suggested their ideas on what are their recommendations and another meeting was programmed on Wednesday November 11th, 2021. Various meetings are taking place through Zoom on refugee issues and we regretted to observe that refugees in Eastern DRCongo are represented.

But also refugees discussed more about the election of their representatives and were concerned about the criteria which are being put in place by CNR which are likely to exclude some refugees who would like to compete for the leadership.

Point Four:  Awareness about the refugee status

This focused on sharing information helping refugees to know more about how refugees can start the process of the refugee status.
The meeting ended at 4:20 pm with a concluding prayer by a volunteer.

Thanks

Author: Kuliloshi Pecos