Rwanda : Congolese refugees refer to embassies in Kigali

Rwanda : Congolese refugees refer to embassies in Kigali

Representatives of more than 70,000 Congolese refugees living in Rwanda on Monday (January 23rd) submitted a petition to various embassies in Kigali, calling on the international community to help end killings and persecution targeting the Tutsi community in the east of Congo. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

They are essentially Rwandophone Congolese, originating from the provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu. They say they want to call the international community to witness about the insecurity in the DRC. They also demand a peaceful repatriation to their country. These refugees, some of whom have spent more than 25 years in camps, say they are at risk of being “stateless”.

These Congolese have filed their petition with the embassies of France, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Uganda in Kigali. They intend to seize other embassies, we have been told.

The petition comes more than a month after the organization of peaceful protests against ethnic violence, which they call genocide, in the provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu in eastern DRC.

This also follows another petition from the Congolese refugee community in Kenya which was submitted last week to delegations from the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union, the East African Community and embassies of the United States, of France, among others in Nairobi.

“The situation in eastern DRC continues to worsen in full view of all these countries which have just received our petitions”, declared to the press, John Nsengiyera, one of the refugees who lives in the Kigeme camp, in Nyamage district, southern Rwanda.

“Even as we speak today, our brothers and sisters who remained in the DRC are being killed and more and more refugees are coming to Rwanda. The only reason for their persecution is the fact that they are Tutsis”, Nsengiyera added.

“We call on the international community to react to Congolese Tutsis’ grievances in particular on the issue related to the denial of citizenship, the protection of tye Congolese speaking Kinyarwanda against stigmatization. We are also advocating for the urgent repatriation of Congolese refugees living in the region”, he said.

“There are more than 450 ethnic groups in Congo. But we do not understand why only one group, that of the Tutsis, is the target of genocidal killings, sexual harassment with the complicity of government forces”, said Bosco Maniragaba, a representative of Congolese refugees from the Nyabiheke camp in the district of Gatsibo.

The petition also calls for the dismantling of negative armed groups, in particular the genocidal FDLR militia, formed by former perpetrators of the 1994 genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda and their descendants.

“The FDLR came from Rwanda, but they chased us out of our ancestral land”, said indignantly representatives of the Congolese Rwandophone communities who have taken refuge in Rwanda.

According to representatives of Congolese refugees of Tutsi origin based in the region “the return to peace in eastern Congo is conditioned by our repatriation”.

“Our children who were born in exile 27 years ago will continue to demand their right to have a country, a nationality”, they insist while denying the influence of Kigali in their approach.

Relations between the two countries of the Great Lakes of Africa have continued to deteriorate since the resurgence of the March 23 movement, the M23.

The former Tutsi rebellion which took up arms again at the end of 2021 accusing Congolese authorities of not having respected their commitments on the reintegration of its fighters is made up of Congolese Tutsis.

Congolese authorities remain convinced that it enjoys the support of Rwanda, which the Rwandan government continues to brush aside.

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