Reactions to the interview of the Special Envoy of the Secretary General of the United Nations in the Great Lakes Region: We call on the United Nations to recognize their role as a belligerent in the conflict and insecurity in the east of the DRCongo in order to finish this war.
We followed with disappointment the interview of the Special Envoy of the Secretary General of the United Nations in the Great lake granted to Radio France Internationale (RFI) on the morning of Monday, May 1st, 2022 on peace in the East of the DRCongo which essentially was based on the repatriation of members of the M23 refugees in Uganda and to strengthen relationship with Uganda and Rwanda, this is the option recommended by the Special Envoy of the Secretary General of the United Nations.
By forgetting or deliberating not to allude to the active roles that the United Nations plays in the violence in eastern DR Congo since 1996 either directly or indirectly, we risk being presented with wrong solutions that do not lead us to anything like it has been for a long time.
The members of M23 are generally made up of Tutsi from Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi, many of whom came to the DRCongo as refugees and settled in the highlands of Fizi in South Kivu. These refugees who should be under the protection of the United Nations are currently problems for this country which had given them everything they have. How comes that the United Nations has failed to protect them and ensure that they do not take guns?
A large number of M23 members have refugee status in Uganda and Rwanda and with that they benefit from the cover of the United Nations, all receive humanitarian aid mobilized by the United Nations and all often leave the refugee camps in Uganda and Rwanda to fight in the eastern on frontline of the DRCongo and still return to these same countries with the same refugee status and enjoy the same refugee protection.
But the M23 also benefits from the support of Rwandan refugees forcibly repatriated to Rwanda by the United Nations and who are either recruited from Rwanda or move to Uganda where they join the movement. The United Nations mission in eastern DRCongo are much aware of the movement of those who are repatriated to Rwanda by force and still this is considered as the best option.
The M23 and other armed groups in the east of the DRCongo also easily recruit among the thousands of refugees scattered throughout the DRCongo since 1994 and who have never had any form of protection and whose United Nations have not yet claims their protection. We estimate that the eastern DRCongo has more 1,500,000 refugees among them only less than 300,000 refugees are recognized by the United Nations among them only less than 200 refugees enjoy some form of protection.
And the last part of M23 comes from the Rwandophone refugee population in Uganda attributed to more than 75% of Congolese refugees according to figures from UNHCR Uganda, this population although in large part are Rwandans and Burundians, they are all granted the status of refugees as Congolese by the United Nations through a well set corrupt system.
For peace in eastern DR Congo, the United Nations should review its policy and put an end to the militarization and politicization of refugees. Durable solutions to refugee problems exist and the laws that manage refugees prohibit the involvement of refugees in subversive activities neither against their own country of origin nor against the country of asylum.
Refugees are still returning to their country through a well-ordered process of voluntary repatriation advocated by the United Nations, and that the DRCongo should also benefit from the responsibility-sharing policy and encourage Uganda, and Rwanda as well as Burundi to establish a climate of dialogue with their respective armed groups especially those operating in eastern DRCongo.
To make the task more complicated the United Nations in Uganda has deliberately chosen to remain inactive and silent to the requests for protection of certain Congolese refugee Human rights defenders and journalists who denounce the policy around refugees in Uganda, and the militarization of refugees over the years, some have been murdered, others push to leave Uganda, others hide and do not receive any form of aid.
Thus, being a stakeholder in the conflict, the United Nations would not be well positioned to facilitate but rather join the negotiating table to present its specifications for peace.
Kulihoshi Musikami Luc Pecos
In- charge of the Migrant Forces
Collective for Solidarity of Youth Organizations in Congo Kinshasa, COJESKI – DRC Coordination of North Kivu,
Kyeshero, after Sampientia University, Goma