Rwanda has once again showed its stand on the recent UN group of Experts’ report on the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC).
During the UN security Council meeting on the report, Rwanda’s Permanent Representative to the UN Amb. Clever Gatete explained areas that show bias of the group of experts, which undermines regional efforts in bringing peace in Eastern DRC.
The Rwanda’s envoy said that the regional efforts to bring peace to the DRC have registered significant milestones, most notably, the ceasefire and withdrawal of the M23 from most of the previously occupied areas.
More about Rwanda’s position on this report of UN Group of Experts:
Unfortunately, the recently released Report of the Group of Experts overlooks these ongoing regional peace efforts that are supported by the United Nations. It also fails to acknowledge the well-documented efforts by the DRC to frustrate the Nairobi and Luanda processes, including the work of the East African Community Regional Force deployed in Eastern DRC. The report further ignored the multiple violations against Rwanda’s territorial integrity by the DRC including 3 cross border shelling attacks and multiple airspace violations since last year.
The UN Group of Experts report documented an intense proliferation of xenophobia and hate speech inciting discrimination, hostility, and violence against Rwandophone populations, particularly the Banyamulenge and Tutsi communities. However, the report deliberately minimizes the threat of ethnic cleansing of Congolese Tutsi communities and shockingly holds the targeted communities responsible for their own suffering. This contradicts the reports of the UN and other organizations and mirrors the rhetoric of those who deny genocide and hold ideological biases.
In view of the hateful anti-Tutsi and Rwandophone rhetoric by DRC’s defense, security, and political figures that has spread nationwide, we wish to recall that the United Nations Special Advisor on Genocide Prevention, Alice Wairimu Nderitu, has repeatedly expressed concerns about “warning signs” creating conditions for genocide in eastern DRC.
In addition, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, has also conveyed alarm over the fact that “armed groups continue to perpetrate despicable attacks against the civilian population, with complete impunity.”
Consequently, we are concerned about the Group of Experts’ failure to reach out to the refugees in neighboring countries of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and accurately assess the human rights violations endured by the victims mostly because of their ethnic identity.
In regard to the alleged support of Rwanda to M-23, the Group’s allegations closely echo the narrative adopted by the Government of the DRC since the re-emergence of M23. However, the Group fails to provide credible evidence to support its allegations, relying instead on questionable evidence such as inconclusive aerial footage, unclear pictures, handwritten notes, and weapons and ammunition.
On the equipment used by M-23, the Group ignores numerous reports, including those from MONUSCO, which confirm that most of M-23’s military equipment, weapons, and ammunition consist of equipment abandoned by the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC). In addition, all the equipment mentioned can be acquired from the international market and are, in fact, not manufactured in Rwanda.
The quality of any research product is reflected in the methodology employed by the researcher. The biased methodology of the Group of Experts cannot go unnoticed. It is unclear why the Group sends letters inquiring about the information gathered from their informants to Rwanda but fails to mention any explanations provided by Rwanda. A case in point is the so-called North Kivu Operations that was allegedly commanded by Rwandan Generals, whereby the Group went on to list Rwanda Defence Forces Generals, in their hierarchy, including top active and longtime retired Generals. Surprisingly, the Group failed to mention any response from Rwanda, especially considering the severity of the allegations.
As a matter of fact, the sources used by the UNGoE include the DRC Government, former combatants, anti-Rwanda Congolese civil society campaigners, and current members of illegal armed groups, including elements of the so-called “Wazalendo” coalition. This coalition comprises illegal armed groups, including the UN Sanctioned FDLR militia, allied with and coordinated by the FARDC. FDLR, which is responsible for committing the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda, is also responsible for the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Congolese Tutsi in areas abandoned by M-23.
The report also reveals how the financial, military, and political support provided to the FDLR by the DRC government has considerably strengthened the militia’s capabilities, enabling them to spread their genocidal ideology and giving them cover to continue threatening Rwanda’s borders.
Given that Kinshasa has made many public declarations of its intent to cause regime change in Rwanda and continues to integrate FDLR into FARDC, the government of Rwanda views these actions as a deliberate strategy to escalate hostilities, threaten Rwanda’s territorial integrity, and further destabilize the Great Lakes region. In light of these demonstrated threats, Rwanda’s reinforced defensive and preventive mechanisms will remain in place to guard against any violations of our borders and airspace.
Unfortunately, the Report of the UN GoE remains silent on DRC’s provocative stance that seeks to sabotage ongoing regional peace initiatives. In the future, we hope that the UN Group of Experts will opt for a better approach and methodology.
Nevertheless, Rwanda continues to reaffirm its commitment to regional mechanisms and reminds the DRC Government that resolving their issues requires the political will for inclusive dialogue, implementation of signed agreements, and addressing the problem of accountability within the DRC.
Thank you for your attention.