Nkamira refugees meet ambassadors
Refugees from the Eastern DRC sheltered in Nkamira transit center on Wednesday hosted six African ambassadors accredited to Rwanda, as well as UN officials. “We are here to show our sympathy to you, fellow Africans, for what you have lost throughout the Eastern Congo war,” said the Uganda’s ambassador and the dean of the African ambassadors accredited to Rwanda, Richard Kabonero.
Kabonero took the opportunity to remind that it’s unworthy for people to be refugees. “Irrespective of the language you speak, your nationality still counts”, he argued. “Protecting the human rights of the citizens is a government’s duty; the DRC has abandoned its people but we are not ready to do the same, we are going to inform our respective governments about the situation and we’ll reflect on how we can play our part in solving the problem.”
Ambassador Kabonero thanked the Rwandan government, which has taken the initiative of hosting the refugees. “We eagerly want the war to stop and these people to return to their mother country so that they can resume their normal lives,” he said
The refugees also expressed their gratitude to the Rwandan government which welcomed them despite FARDC their home army and the UN mission MONUSCO’s failure to protect them.
“We fled the bullets but also persecutions,” testified Wivine Uwimana, the representative of refugees in Nkamira camp. “MONUSCO didn’t receive us when we ran towards them; sometimes they did but selectively, because later on we found out that they were just selecting beautiful women so as to rape them. Whenever fighting breaks out, Monusco soldiers take their tents and leave.
“We were also abandoned by the FARDC which used to say: go to Rwanda, that’s where you belong. Even the North Kivu governor said it when he told Radio Okapi that ‘Rwandans have joined their motherland’ referring to us,” Uwimana said. Another refugee, Chantal Nikuze, added that the FARDC also accuses Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese of being part of M23, a militia at war against the DRC government.
Antoine Ruvebana, the permanent secretary in the ministry in charge of refugees, said the African ambassadors will advocate for a solution to the Eastern Congo war. “This is not only a problem for Rwanda or DR Congo, but a worldwide problem. Yet we believe that the solution will come from Africans themselves,” he said. “This is a sign that Africa is united against any kind of human rights violations.”
Currently, Rwanda shelters 16,148 Congolese refugees, 11,034 of them at Nkamira transit center and 5,056 already settled in Kigeme refugee camp. Another 58 have joined their relatives through the family reunification program in Kiziba, Nyabiheke and Gihembe camps.