Peace and Security in Eastern DR Congo depends on the protection of refugees in neighboring countries and Dr Congo
By Jakson Mulindwa Ntamuzinda,
Regional Coordinator/ Goma North Kivu – DRCongo
Sep 14, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — This week Radio Okapi which is the UN Mission Radio in DRCongo published a story of Congolese refugees who have been deported from Uganda back to DRCongo through unknown border point of Mobili in Beni North Kivu, find more in this article.
As per now there is less information about the identities of the 30 refugees who were deported but we are concerned with the way they were deported in total secrecy, through unofficial border and being sent in placed which is highly affected by attacks from ADF the Uganda Rebels in DRCongo.
This has just added a series of provocation by Uganda against DRCongo using “refugees” as a reminder while Uganda was in total lockdown, surprisingly media reported that a group a armed refugees members of M23 moved from Uganda up to DRCongo with their guns towards the end of April 2020, but also in July the Congolese Army alleged that it killed rebels in DRCongo who had refugee identities from Uganda, and now the deportation of these 30 refugees.
The local community in Mobili village in Beni were these refugees were taken to do not believe that they are simply refugees, they believe they are rebels who have been sent in order to fight. The said origin of these refugees is also another problem, some claimed to come from Walikale, Masisi and Rutshuru which are highly dominated by various armed groups currently killing innocent people.
The militarization of refugees in the region is a common practice through the history since 1980 and the current violence in Eastern DRCongo is highly connected to the movement of refugees in the region. This rises up questions on the quality of refugees who are protected by humanitarian actors in Uganda, the kind of refugees in different refugee camps in the region and the kind of refugees who are assisted by funding from the International Community.
As the Heads of States are organizing a Summit in Goma on the security in the region, we are concerned with the currently violence and killings in Burundi where the perpetrators are alleged to come from DRCongo mainly in Fizi, a region which has witnessed the activism of Burundi refugees into armed groups against the current regime in Burundi. The failure to protect refugees is a serious problem to us and the deliberate move to introduce warlords in refugee camps and hide in the name of refugees should not be tolerated anymore in the region.
It appears more and more visible that many refugee camps in the region do host warlords who pretend to be refugees and who only wait for opportunities to join the fighting again. This should push us to make strong research and scrutiny about refugees in these countries in order to promote peace in the region. It is unacceptable that countries host refugees with guns and it is equally unacceptable that refugees are recruited from some countries for war in DRCongo and in Burundi. We strongly condemn that militarization of refugees and recall everyone that refugees should be victims of persecutions but not warlords.
We encourage refugees to be more organized and work hard to ensure that they are not infiltrated by warlords and stand firm to denounce activities of warlords.
And the international community support should be extended to refugees who are the victims but not to perpetrators of massive human rights abuses.
In order to improve the situation, we continue requesting for the Conference in the Great Lakes Region on Refugees in the region, respective countries should do all what it may take to ensure the protection of refugees but also the international community should impose sanctions against countries who abuse refugees in this way.
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