Open Letter to the European Union and the USA Missions in Kinshasa over the DRC support to FDLR

Subject: Open letter to His Excellency the Ambassador of the European Union in Kinshasa/Gombe, Democratic Republic of Congo


Your Excellency,

We have the honor to come to you to share our observations on the problematic of the Armed FDLR group operating especially in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We often follow with attention the various press release that you make public and it helps us to be informed of your position on peace in the DRC, we also follow the various press release of the FDLR on peace in the great lakes region but also the declarations of the M23 and the Rwandan Government on the FDLR, we do not have enough information on the position of the Congolese Government which you accused of supporting this armed group of FDLR.

We take this opportunity to share once again with the USA, the European Union and the various Diplomatic Missions in the DRC and the Rwandan Government that in principle a large part of the FDLR combatants would be refugees in search of protection and security against the attacks of the Rwandan Army since 1996 until now in DRC. These victimized and vulnerable refugees should not be exploited for political ends in order to seek compromises with the authorities of the DRC.

We continue to read ambiguous Communiqués from the USA, the European Union and other Diplomatic Missions on the situation in the DRC, asking the Congolese Army to stop all collaboration with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) based in the DRC. While reminding each party to prove to us how the FDLR pose a real danger to Rwanda, and asking all parties to observe how Rwanda poses a danger against Hutu refugees in the DRC from 1996 to the present, we wonder if the USA, the European Union and other Diplomatic Missions were in the place of these refugees what would they do exactly?

Basing on our work with Rwandan refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we observe that Rwandan Hutu refugees are better protected by the FDLR than the United Nations and the Congolese Army, which moreover would be in complicity with Rwanda to expose these refugees to forced repatriation back to Rwanda, of which the USA and the European Union would be the largest financiers of several operations of forced repatriation of refugees to Rwanda through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the National Commission for Refugees (CNR). The testimonies of those who were sent to Rwanda indicate that a large number were recruited to join the M23, and curiously neither the USA, nor the European Union, nor the United Nations, nor international organizations nor the DRC security services, no one gives us a real information on the fate of Hutu refugees repatriated to Rwanda by force over the years.

The FDLR composed of Rwandan Hutu refugees in the DRC would be 85% young people who were either born on Congolese soil or left Rwanda too young. They live in the DRC without security and everyone keeps silent against the attacks of the Rwandan Army towards these refugees who however do not ask for anything other than protection and security, since 2021 several FDLR Communiqués ask for the international protection of Rwandan Hutu Refugees in the DRC, one wonders why the USA, the European Union and other development partners do not take the first step for the protection of these refugees, when all the indicators show that the effective protection of refugees will contribute to the end of the FDRL’s armed struggle and would greatly reduce the number of FDLR combatants in the DRC.

We observe that despite the allegations of the various crimes committed by the FDLR against even certain people, especially Hutu refugees and the Congolese population, which should be punished, a large part of the Hutu refugees on Congolese soil would be better protected by the FDLR more than the United Nations and the CNR. Moreover, several testimonies would indicate strong suspicions of the participation of certain agents of the United Nations, the CNR and other security agents in the abuses against the Rwandan Hutu refugees under their protection in places occupied by the Congolese Government.

Currently Rwandan refugees in North Kivu continue to mourn one of their own known as Angelo who was abducted here in Goma and is believed to be currently in Rwanda. Beyond cases of serious abuses, would be added disappearances, assassinations and deportations of Hutu refugees to Rwanda under the silence of those who should protect them. Based on the testimonies of several refugees who access our services at our Office, at least 4/10 people have already been victims of forced repatriation to Rwanda by the United Nations and the CNR.

But also it seems a bit difficult at the present, especially for the USA, the European Union and other actors who are perceived as close to Rwanda to access real information on Hutu refugees in the DRC, when we should even understand which category of the FDLR that we are talking about because some FDLR would even be working with the security services of Rwanda, in the same way we observe that some Rwandan Hutu refugees would be working on behalf of Rwanda.

Currently, some Rwandan refugees, especially those born in the DRC, feel more Congolese and do not know much about Rwanda, and often feel obliged to resist against Rwandan aggression by forming a self-defense group like so many other armed groups in the country, and among them we find this group of FDLR Foca who claim to fight for the protection of refugees. By misreading the situation the USA, the European Union and the United Nations often offer inadequate solutions to the problems of peace in the DRC, especially by considering the victims as problems.

Curiously the USA, the European Union and other Diplomatic Missions do not seem to offer alternative solutions to the problem of refugees in the DRC in order to put an end to this pretext of the FDLR. While on the other side in Uganda and Rwanda the USA, the European Union and others are the main financiers of the funds for the refugees, while these same refugees are recruited by these two countries to destabilize the DRC, this for us an imbroglio on the real foreign policy of the USA, the European Union and other Development Partners in the Great Lakes

Instead of asking the FARDC to strengthen their cooperation and collaboration with the FDLR to ensure the protection and security of the thousands of Rwandan Hutu Refugees and Congolese citizens in the areas under FDLR control and to also reduce human rights violations in these areas , the USA, the European Union and other Diplomatic Missions seem to be attacking the only option that would exist to finally expose these refugees to massacres by the Rwandan Army present on Congolese soil as it was in the past.

We remain certain that the USA, the European Union and other Diplomatic Missions would not be able to collect the real information on the FDLR following the proximity between these countries with Rwanda.

The good management of refugees in the Great Lakes region remains one of the best solutions for peace in this region. President Museveni, Paul Kagame, in Burundi, in South Sudan… refugees were used in order to capture power, currently the M23 is essentially made up of people who were refugees in Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC. It is therefore high time to mobilize and organize a major conference on the situation of refugees in the Great Lakes region.

It is more than urgent to work for the protection of Rwandan Hutu refugees and abandon this debate of DRC support for the FDLR.

Done in Goma, on July 10th, 2023


Programmes’ Officer

Jean Pascal MUGARUKA


The Collective of Youth Organizations for Solidarity (COJESKI/DRC, Coordination of North Kivu),


Tel: +243853191163, Email: