Dear MR Secretary General, the Rwanda People’s Party RPP would like to express our concern regarding the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and their failure to adhere to the deadline to disarm, which expired on January 2, 2015, as agreed by the ICGLR and SADC regional interstate groupings and backed by the African Union as well as the UN Security Council.
The UN is held in high regard and has a good reputation in Africa. The RPP believes that the UN if it chooses to act in a forceful manner could make a real difference in the eastern part of the DRC. It is the UN’s duty to intervene in areas like the DRC. According to the United Nation’s Charter;
“Under the Charter, the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security’’.
The United Nations is duty bound to ensure that all militias groups are disarmed in the DRC. The disarming of such groups would send a message that political and ethnic violence is no longer tolerated by the international community in the DRC. The RPP calls for the complete implementation of the Security Council Resolutions No. 2098 of March 2013 and Resolution 2147 par 4b: of March 2014. Both resolutions calls for the swift disarmament of the FDLR and other armed groups operating in the DRC as necessary for stability, and for the protection of civilians in the DRC and the Great Lakes region, in line with the wider commitment made at the 28th March 2013, Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) framework for the DRC, to disarm all armed groups operating in the eastern part of the DRC.) The failure of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo which has not taken any action against those who are still armed in defiance of the international community is unacceptable and wrong. This is despite the UN Presidential Statement on the 5th of November 2014 calling for MONUSCO and the Congolese government to draw up plan for military action against the FDLR. MONUSCO was established to facilitate post-conflict peace building, to prevent a relapse into armed conflict and ensure there is a sustainable peace in the region. The failure to stabilize the DRC means that the Congolese will continue to endure violence and the many displaced refugees cannot return to their homes. At present MONUSCO is failing in its duty to disarm and neutralized armed groups like the FDLR that threaten civilians and undermine the sovereignty of the DRC.
Dear Mr. Secretary General, the failure to take immediate action may result in devastating consequences that could have an impact on the DRC as well as Africa. The current state of terror caused by the FDLR including the killing and raping of innocent people and the group’s continued threat to Rwanda could provoke conflicts between Rwanda and its neighbors’, in particular Burundi and Tanzania. The FDLR needs to be disarmed by MONUSCO in order to ensure peace and stability in the region and Africa. The RPP believes the UN has enough manpower and the authority to dissolve the armed groups and prevent the crisis we are facing in the region today, without involving troops from other countries.
The recent meeting on the 16 January 2015 in Pretoria, South Africa, of The African Union (AU) Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui and South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane discussed implementing the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the region, in particular the disarmament of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), concluded with the Minister reiterating the determination and commitment of South Africa to contribute troops, for the possible use of force to disarm the FDLR.
The Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region in Africa , Saïd Djinnit, also met in Pretoria, with South African Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, as well as Minister of Defence, Ms. Noluthando Mapisa-Nqakula, and State Security, Mr. David Mahlobo . They held discussions regarding the FDLR as well as the ADF, and all parties agreed that military action was necessary to disarm the groups. We believe that the UN has the power and authority to dissolve the armed groups and end the crisis we are facing, without involving a large contingent of troops from other countries.
The Great Lakes Peace guarantors that include; the US Special Envoy for the Great Lakes and the DRC, Hon Senator Russel D. Feingold, the current Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC); H. E. President Jacob Zuma, the current Chairman of the International Conference on the Great Lakes of Region (ICGLR), H. E. President Eduardo do Santos, have all condemned the FDLRs failure to lay down their arms by Jan 2, 2015. They have reiterated the need to force the FDLR to comply with the international community’s agreement that requires the FDLR, to lay down its arms voluntarily, so as to restore the rule of law and order in the DRCs and its territorial integrity. A concern that has also been voiced by the European Union Foreign Affairs Council Meeting of 19/01/2015. However no decisive action has taken place to ensure the FDLRs disarms in compliance with the demands of the international community. This will only embolden the FDLR and similar groups in the future to engage in more violence in the region.
Dear Mr. Secretary General the FDLR have called for peace talks before they will consider disarming. The RPP would like to reiterate the need for political dialogue along with the need to fight against impunity. Unfortunately, we do not believe that the FDLR demand for peace talks should be a condition to disarm. Any negotiations with the FDLR would mean talking to those who perpetrated the Rwandan genocide before crossing into the DRC. Reasoning with such a group is a waste of time given their past record. The RPP is surprised that immediate action was not taken to enforce the Security Council resolution 2149 par 4b: of March 2014 and the ICGLR demands in line with the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework of 28 February 2013. The RPP is very saddened that over two years since the PSC protocol was signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by 11 heads of states of ICGLR, guaranteed by the African Unity that the UN, has not stopped the violence in the DRC.
The RPP as a party, continue to fully support the international community’s efforts to disarm all rebel groups that have been terrorizing the people in the east of the DRC. We support the restoration of the rule of law and order in the east of the DRC. We respect the territorial sovereign of the DRC that has been plagued by different armed gangs, competing for control of the DRC’s mineral resources. The RPP also supports the international community’s effort to bring to justice the leaders of the FDLR responsible for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and other terrible crimes committed against the DRC people. The RPP do not wish to be a part of any peace talks with those that condone the 1994 genocide against Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Rwanda as a nation has been characterised by impunity for those who commit terrible crimes dating back to 1959. It became the norm that Rwandan politicians and military elites could kill and maim their fellow Rwandans and rape children and women with impunity. In 1959 over 100,000 Tutsi were massacred, yet none of the perpetrators has ever been brought to justice. The first, Rwandan President Kayibanda and 730 of his colleagues were cruelly murdered by the heinous regime of President Habyarimana. The late President Kayibanda and his colleagues were fed on faeces and urine until their last breath. The perpetrators were also not brought to justice
Previous Rwandan regimes used the bankrupt ideology of ethnic hatred for their own ends and this was their infamous trade mark, This helped to create a culture of impunity in Rwanda. There is no doubt the culture of impunity in Rwandan politics was one of the causes of the 1994 genocide in the country. The killers’ in the 1994 genocide knew that, as usual, they would not be held accountable for their actions. The RPP therefore, believes that negotiations with the FDLR or with any group responsible for murdering our people, betrays the Rwandan victims of genocide, the survivors and is against the moral values of the Rwandan people. The people killed in 1994, were not members of the RPF, nor responsible for the death of Habyarimana and not even a party to the Rwandan civil war. They were the innocent, the defenseless and downtrodden ones, whose lives were brutally cut short by those who believed they could act with impunity. The RPP calls upon the international community to stand firm and to fight against impunity and ensure that criminals are always brought to justice.
The UN must also do everything it can to help the Rwandan refugees. The RPP calls on both MONUSCO and UNHCR to protect the welfare and wellbeing of the Rwandan refugees’ currently the virtual prisoners of the FDLR. The RPP calls upon the UN to use every means necessary to ensure the safety of these Rwandan refugees currently held by the FDLR and allow those who wish to return home voluntarily to do so. At present some 18000 Rwandan refugees are held by the FDLR. The UN must reassure these Rwandan refugees held by the FDLR that they are in no way threatened by the disarmament of the FDLR.
Some are fearful that FDLR may again harm innocent civilians if threatened with disarmament. The RPP also reject the argument, that disarming the FDLR will encourage them to kill innocent civilian as they did in Rwanda in 1994, if the international community carries out their duty to bring lasting peace in the DRC, the local civilians will not be in danger. The FDLR political and military leadership should be hold accountable for any single injury or death of Rwandan refugees or Congolese citizen that may be as a result of the FDLR cowardly act to take them hostages or kills them. The UN must send a firm and clear signal that any group that threatens to attack or hold civilian as hostages will not be tolerated. The People of the DRC have experienced every sort of terror in the past 21 years. The RPP believes that all the world’s nations, have a sacred responsibility to stop the gruesome suffering of the people of DRC. Mr. Secretary General, allow me to inform you, that the past 21 years has been a living hell to the people of the DRC. Children and women have been raped in front of their families; husbands separated from their wives, parents from their children, many more left orphans, widows and widowers, villages vandalized, schools and hospitals destroyed. The people of the DRC in the past 21 years have suffered greatly. They have suffered years of grieving and weeping. Millions in the DRC have become IDP while many others’ have been forced to seek a refugee in neighbouring countries with no hope, of being united with their beloved or of returning to their respective communities for the foreseeable future.
Dear Mr. Secretary, the RPP calls up the UN to look into the terrified eyes of these young girls and women whose bodies were shattered and torn apart as a results of gang rapes, or the eyes of the orphans that have grown up without parents because families were torn asunder and those whose, loved ones, were murdered by gunmen that have terrorized communities for 21 years. The UN has a duty to help and protect these people.
The people of the DRC are hostages, in panic and despair and they are at the crossroads; they are only seeking viable solutions that could free them from the gun men that operate freely to kill and rape in their neighborhood. Mr. Secretary General, undoubtedly, as peoples and nations, we have the ultimately the responsibility to end the infamous 21 years of brutality, the killing and raping of people in the East of the DRC. What is happening in the DRC has not been caused by a Tsunami or any natural catastrophe that is beyond the human ability to prevent or change. The violence in the DRC is a result of the actions of armed groups like the FDLR. The UN can save the people of the DRC. It is a man-made tragedy and can be alleviated, or ended by humanity. The first step in this would be to disarm the FDLR and all those other armed groups that terrorize the citizens of the DRC.
Dear Mr Secretary General, it is imperative that the MONOSCO immediately disarm the FDLR. Failure to do so will discredit the UN and encourage other violent groups and terrorists to continue defying the international community. It will also put a question on the continued presence of the MONUSCO in the DRC. If the FDLR are allowed to continue to destabilize the DRC, and possibly provoke conflicts between Rwanda and its neighbors, then the future of the region and even the continent could be jeopardized. The RPP calls on you and your highly respected organization to ensure that action is taken to disarm the FDLR. This is essential for the future of the DRC, Africa and the UN. The UN needs to take decisive action in the DRC if it is to retain its moral authority and continue to be recognized as a champion of peace and justice.
Dear Mr. Secretary General, you (UN) must act now to end this insanity of the FDLR and other armed rebel groups wreaking havoc upon the people of the Great Lakes of region, mainly in the South and North Kivu provinces of the DRC and the people of Rwanda. Where the raping of women, the terrorizing of communities and fighting for control of mineral resources on behalf of foreign companies has become the infamous trade mark of the DRC.
Dear Mr Secretary General, I thank you very much for your time and kind consideration and look forward to a speedy response on this matter.
John V Karuranga, President
Rwanda People’s Party
C.c. The Chairman of the ICGLR, H.E. President of Angola, Jose Eduard dos Santos
The Chairman of the SADC, H.E. President of SA, Jacob Zuma
The UN Security Council Presidency, H.E. Ambassador, Cristian Barros
The AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Mr. Smail Chergiu,
The European Union Foreign Affairs and Policy Secretary, Ms Federica Mogherini
The US Special Envoy for the ICGLR and DRC, Hon. Senator, Russell D. Feingold,
The UN Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, Mr. Said Dunni
The High Commissioner of the UNHCR Hon. António Guterres,
The Head of MONUSCO, Hon. Martin Kobler,