We are highly concerned about the silence of the Democratic Republic of Congo towards the situation of Refugees, we cannot afford the high price of that silence on Refugee Lives anymore, here is our Press Statement ” Press Statement Fabrice Pwela Geneva
You can also read it here bellow through the translation
Press Release: Appeal to end the culture of silence towards refugees by the Democratic Republic of Congo Government
On one side we continue observing a deliberate culture of silence towards refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the move to continue ignoring their existence yet they are with us in this country is a violation of various articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.
While appearing to the United Nations Human Rights His Excellency Albert Fabrice Pwela the Democratic Republic of Congo Minister of Human Rights totally ignored the situation of refugees in his submissions to the United Nations, since he occupied that post his Ministry has done almost nothing on the situation of refugees, not even a field visit, not even a meeting, not even a consultation with Actors of the Civil Society working on refugees issues, not even an inquiry on the situation of refugees. This goes far as since last year 2021 when the current Premier Minister occupied the strategic post in DRCongo, he has never said anything about refugees, has never done anything about refugees, and the entire Government is totally silent about the plight of refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The situation becomes more complicated because even the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is vague on the issues of refugees in DRCongo, UNHCR has no clear policy that favors the protection of refugees, most of her staffs especially those working in the field in the eastern are perceived as close to Rwandan Government, and the maintaining in place of the sexy project of repatriation of refugees back to Rwanda has taken away the little credibility UNHCR could have played on the lives of refugees.
The last time UNHCR DRCongo talked specifically about refugees in the media was in April 2021 during the visit of UNHCR Boss in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the rest of times UNHCR hides itself into the Internally Displaced Persons, both the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Congolese Refugee National Commission (CNR) have never made a single statement about refugees, actually efforts by the media to engage CNR Officers to share with them information about refugees have been futile as CNR calls it is a “sensitive issue” and needs authorization from the Government, some journalists have indicated facing threats and ban from getting opportunities from UNHCR in case they publish some information about refugees.
The situation of refugees is extremely bad and cannot hold to our silence anymore, we must come up and shout loudly in order to save life, and “silence is killing thousands of refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo”.
We estimate that DRCongo hosts more than 2million refugees who have remained unidentified since 1994 up to now, UNHCR presents to us only ¼ of the entire refugee population that is around 500,000 refugees, among them 200,000 are claimed to be in North Kivu but even UNHCR cannot clearly trace where they are living and how they are living, and currently only 2,500 refugees have valid documents in North Kivu.
The United Nations Human Rights has currently the opportunity to engage the Minister of the situation of refugee rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo, if we still believe in the principles of human rights in inclusive manner,
How comes only refugee issues were left out during the presentations of the Minister? Is that another form of exclusion and discrimination?
Kulihoshi Musikami Pecos
Refugee Programme Officer