Calling upon the United States of America, the state members of the European Union, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia and other Donors to urgently freeze all forms of Humanitarian Relief Aid to Uganda and Rwanda because of their support to armed refugees of M23 who are fighting in eastern D.R.Congo, forcing thousands of more people to leave their homes.
Through the history of the current regimes in both Uganda and Rwanda, refugees have been at the center of all forms of military recruitment and deployed to fight on frontline instead of being protected in refugee camps.
In 1980 President Museveni of Uganda used refugees in order to capture power and the world remained silent, in 1990 President Paul Kagame of Rwanda used refugees in order to capture power in 1994 during the genocide, in Burundi since 1990 up to now many political actors are still using refugees in order to capture power. In 1996 Uganda and Rwanda used refugees to launch a war in current Democratic Republic of Congo, and up to now refugees in these countries are still used in all forms of wars in eastern D.R.Congo, and the world has remained silent.
The most active rebel group fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is the M23, which is based in both Uganda and Rwanda where the members hold a refugee status. Since 2008 up to now this group has been used to destabilize the eastern D.R.Congo, and in the process thousands of civilians have been killed, thousands have lost their properties and thousands have been sent to exile in Uganda and Rwanda where they are living in refugee camps. The recent attacks in Rutshuru North Kivu, DRC by M23 in March and April 2022 proves the contribution of refugees who are being recruited in Uganda and Rwanda and being deployed on the frontline as fighters in order to abuse civilians. Currently some of these refugees recruited are visible in Goma where they come either to visit their relatives or some are simply deployed in Goma as spies and informants on behalf of M23.
In various refugee camps in Uganda and Rwanda, these refugees’ members of M23 have enjoyed the support of the international community through the Humanitarian Relief Aid given to Uganda and Rwanda. This relief aid has helped them to contribute money among themselves for military activities in eastern D.R.Congo, this aid has helped them to remain healthy and strong in order to fight, this aid has helped them to organize transport in order to travel from Uganda, Rwanda up to Rutshuru in DRCongo in order to fight, this aid has helped their families remained in various camps in Uganda and Rwanda to survive, to communicate and share what they have. This aid has helped the economies in Uganda and Rwanda and contributed to sustain this refugee business in Rwanda and Uganda.
When thousands of refugees are forced to run away from eastern D.R.Congo, the international community and donors have responded by urgent humanitarian relief aid to Uganda and Rwanda in the name of support to refugees, on ground this aid does not reach to refugees and unfortunately the international community closed the eyes towards threats faced by vocal refugees who could denounce the deviation of the said aid, up to now there are few or just no single voices in Uganda and Rwanda that can blow the whistle on the usage on this aid.
It may be ironic and may be a lack of information to think that refugees from eastern D.R.Congo living on a fertile land can be protected in Uganda and Rwanda especially in refugee camps in both Uganda and Rwanda. We cannot claim that someone from Masisi, Rutshuru or Nyiragongo in North Kivu, DRCongo can be protected in a refugee camp in both Uganda and Rwanda where there are no economic opportunities, no social networks, where there are no freedoms and where they face reduced space for their fundamental human rights.
Due to what we have observed, in order to promote peace and stability in the eastern D.R.Congo in particular and in the great lakes region in General we call for the following:
We urge the International Community, the United Nations, the donors and other well-wishers to urgently freeze all forms of relief aid to both Uganda and Rwanda,
We urge the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to stop humanitarian aid in various camps which host M23 rebels in Uganda and Rwanda, and withdraw the refugee status from all those who opted for military activities,
In line with the 1951 Geneva Convention and the African Union Convention on refugees of 1969 we call upon Uganda and Rwanda to cancel the refugee status to all those who are involved in subversive activities against D.R.Congo, and all key players to make pressure on Rwanda and Uganda to stop using refugees in military and political activities,
We urge the International Community, donors and other well-wishers to capitalize on various better opportunities existing in D.R.Congo as alternatives to the protection of civil population that have been forced to leave their homes. With the fact that D.R.Congo hosts more that 6millions people in Internally Displaced Camps it is also possible to host the less than 1million Congolese refugees in Uganda and Rwanda. Repatriation of these refugees back to D.R.Congo should be considered as priority.
We urge the donors and the United Nations to shift the priorities of relief aid from Uganda and Rwanda in the name of supporting refugees to D.R.Congo in order to create better conditions which may favor the return of Congolese living outside of the country.
We remain convinced that freezing refugee relief aid to Uganda and Rwanda will highly contribute towards peace and security in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo,
Kulihoshi Musikami Luc Pecos
In-charge of Forced Migrants
After the Sampiatia Catholic University, in Kyeshero, Goma, North Kivu- DRC