Calling upon the UK to abandon the deal to send refugees to Rwanda

The United Kingdom Ambassador and

High Commissioner in Kinshasa,

the Democratic Republic of Congo

Your Excellency,

Re: Requesting the United Kingdom to abandon the proposed agreement to send some refugees and asylum seekers to Rwanda.

The information that was for some weeks rumored was now confirmed by the United Kingdom Government about the deal to send refugees and asylum seekers to Rwanda.

We do strongly enjoy the United Kingdom contribution towards the protection of refugees in the world through financial support, the existence of strong institutions and organizations engaged in the protection of refugees across the world which are based in UK, and the UK space for free discussions to shape the debate about the whole well-being of refugees through OXFORD University, the media like BBC among others that are so great in the whole protection of refugees in the world. In the Great Lakes Region of Africa, the UK is omnipresent in the field of refugees through various forms of support, and in DRCongo particularly the UK supports the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees financially in order to alleviate the plight of so many refugees. On top of that the UK has a diversity of people from various places in the world and have integrated the society, much as we have not yet been in UK but when we watch the Premier League football games, the UK sends a clear message of hospitality to various groups of people including former refugee children who are in some teams.

It is therefore shocking to learn about the deal between the UK to send refugees to Rwanda which may strongly affect all these inspiring examples of humanity which makes the pride of the United Kingdom. There is no logic and no moral explanations that may justify the move to send refugees to Rwanda.

We therefore bring to your attention that despite the above mentioned engagements, and the high presence of the UK Aid in various remote areas in Eastern DRCongo, refugees especially Rwandan refugees who fled from the genocide in 1994 do not benefit from the services funded by the UK Aid and thousands among them have not benefited from your willingness to have them identified as refugees.

Ignoring the existence of these thousands of refugees may lead to wrong impression about Rwanda.

Each single day that passes in Goma, we do receive Rwandans who are running away from their country due to persecution, restrictions to enjoy their rights, and the confiscation of their land and properties by the government which deprives them with economic activities. Unfortunately here in Goma both UNHCR and the CNR have not yet put in place mechanisms to help them to seek for the refugee status. Such move denies the world opportunities to understand better the situation in Rwanda and replaces it by propaganda which portrays Rwanda as a paradise on earth.

We believe that more than 700,000 Rwandan refugees are living in eastern DRCongo among them only 170,000 are identified by UNHCR and CNR. The United Kingdom contribution towards UNHCR which could have facilitated the protection of these refugees has instead implemented programs that are exposing them to all forms of forced repatriation towards Rwanda where their lives are at risk, in the process many among them do not stay in Rwanda but take directions either towards Burundi, come back to DRCongo, go to Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, where many are registered as Congolese refugees because they fear being persecuted by Rwandan security services operating in these countries.

It is a dream and daily prayer for many people in Rwanda currently seeking the intervention of God to help them to leave Rwanda towards DRCongo where they can live in freedom and earn at least 1$ USA per day. Such environment is not appropriate to receive refugees from UK who need protection and aim at better opportunities for their development and protection.

We therefore get this opportunity to make the following recommendations:

We call upon the United Kingdom to distance herself for this deal and engage Rwanda to first create a conducive environment for her citizens especially those who are refugees,

We call upon the UK to hold firm on her engagement to provide a free space for all refugees and asylum seekers in the world despite the growing anti-migrants activism. The issue of refugees and migrants may not be subjected to the game of democracy but requires a strong leadership,

We call upon the United Kingdom to deploy all her necessary influence to work with Rwanda in order to reduce the current oppression and brutality against Rwandans, to observe human rights in Rwanda and provide equal opportunities to all Rwandans to access economical activities and own land, and put in place free space for Rwandan citizens to express their opinions on governance issues,

We call upon the United Kingdom to engage and work closely with Rwanda in order to create a conducive environment which may favor the return to Rwanda of all thousands of Rwandans living in different countries as refugees, and put to the end the causes of Rwandans displacement,

We call upon the United Kingdom to put in place services to all Rwandan refugees especially to the thousands of Rwandan refugees in eastern DRCongo who mostly need services and other measures for their protection,

We invite you to follow closely the situation of Rwandan refugees in eastern DRCongo so that you may make better and informed recommendations to the United Kingdom Government on how best it may help refugees and have a clear view on the situation in Rwanda in order to make informed decisions.

May we implore your consideration,

Kulihoshi Musikami Pecos

In-charge of Refugees and Foreigners.