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Congrès National pour la Démocratie - National Democratic Congress  

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 Presse Release  PP/No. 01/May/22 

Rwanda to Host Refugees from UK, while Rwandan Refugees all over the World are"'Persona non Grata":  Rwandan Refugee Lives Matter. 

It is with deep concern that our organization, the National Democratic Congress (NDC/CND),  has learned that the United Kingdom (UK) Government has signed a "so-called" agreement to relocate asylum seekers from UK to Rwanda. It was reported that the Government of the United Kingdom has already paid its first installement in this deal. When one looks into this deal, it raises more questions than answers. 

Kigali and its supporters are going around touting the UK deal while Rwanda has hundreds of thousands of refugees all over the world that are not even recognized as such. The Rwandan government has successfully lobbied the UNHCR to implement the cessation clause arguing that the country is peaceful, safe, and democratic. For independent observers, this rosy picture is far from the truth. Political blackmail, coercion, intimidation, abductions, kidnappings,  even assassinations  have become a system of governance. A lot of forced disappearances have been reported as well as unlawful imprisonment cases of individuals who dared to criticize the Rwandan regime led by Paul Kagame and the RPF. Recent reports from foreign goverments and independant human rights organizations have shown how basic fundamental rights are being trampled upon for ordinary citizens unless they submit to the RPF repression and dictatorship.

Meanwhile, a lot of the regime supporters make arguments intended to justify the denial  of democratic and civil rights in Rwanda by the Kagame's regime based on what happened in our country's recent history. While no one will deny what our brothers and sisters went through since 1990 and the abominable crimes committed since 1994 and still ongoing today, there is no moral ground to deny basic rights such as presumption of innocence and fair trial to innocent rwandans irrespective of their ethnic groups. Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa criminals shall be held accountable for their acts before fair, independent and impartial jurisdictions whereas innocent fellow rwandans shall be left to enjoy their fundamental inherent rights and freedoms. This has been the  position  and the firm conviction of our  coalition, the National Democratic Congress (NDC/CND),  since its  inception. 

In  recent media reports, it appears the  UK government has already identified the first contingent of asylum seekers to be forcifully sent to Rwanda.  It is appalling to note that a country like the government of the UK has resolved to ignore the international laws and/or treaties that apply to asylum seekers and immigrants. When it comes to Rwanda, Paul Kagame's regime has only shown contempt towards Rwandan refugees all over the world, especially those languishing  in neibhoring countries. 

It is important to recall the experience our organization has gained when it was actively trying to peacefully solve the Rwandan refugees problem in the region. In fact, our organization NDC/CND  was actively working and partnering with the governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),  with the help of the Sant Egidio Community, the United Nations, and several governments and organizations around the World,  in Kisangani Roadmap discussions that led to the establishment of the Kasiki Refugee Centre in Eastern DRC.

Kasiki - Beacon of Hope SHATTERED

Subsequent to the process that led to the Kisangani Roadmap, the Kasiki Refugee Centre was  officially inaugurated on July 31, 2008. The Centre represented a glimmer of hope for the local people, the Rwandan refugees, and international organizations,  as well as numerous observers. The hope that was palpable on the day of the inauguration in spite of a lot of logistic shortcomings, continued to shine during subsequent high profile visits from local dignitaries, representatives of several churches, and ambassadors of western countries. It is important to remind of the presence of an official delegation of the Rwandan government during the aforementioned ceremony.  
On that occasion,  a significant number combatants accepted  to voluntarily disarm and hand out their arms. The Rwandan refugees in the region expressed their committement to voluntarily return home if their inherent rights and security would be effectively guaranteed by the International Community.

The Kasiki event was a real testament of  willingness and committment of the combatants and Rwandan refugees  to actively contribute in finding peaceful solutions to the instability that has gripped the region for several years. 
In fact, the firm desire to return to their homeland was subsequently confirmed by individual surveys in which rwandan refugees re-stated it to the MONUC personnel.

That is when an exploratory visit by a delegation of the Kasiki Centre resettlers requested to pay a visit to Rwanda in order to assess the conditions of their return. Thereafter, an ad-hoc report was made public after this visit of few days that started on January 23, 2009. 
However, towards the end, it was apparent that there were underground forces that did not want the Kasiki process to succeed. Although, on January 27, 2009 an agreement was signed in Rome, Italy between a delegation of the NDC/CND and the DRC government in the presence of independent observers to declare Kasiki and its surroundings as a peace heaven entity, it was not put into effect. On February 10, 2009 elements of  the coalition of Rwandan Defence Forces (RDF),  FADRC, and CNDP attacked the  Kasiki site with goal to dismantle the centre by all means and massacres the refugees and the disarmed combattants.

Luckily, the occupants managed to find refuge in nearby communities and surrounding jungle avoiding to be either forcefully repatriated or killed in case of refusal. Unfortunately most of these refugees have been subsequently unaccounted for. 
It is important to mention that the Kisangani Roadmap and subsequent agreements stated clearly three options for the Rwandan refugees: voluntary return to Rwanda, resettlement in local communities or resettlement in other countries.

Unfortunately, the attack of the Kasiki Centre dealt a huge blow to the entire Kisangani Process. Based on past experiences, the destruction of the centre was reminiscent of what happened in 1996-1997 when hundreds of thousands of Rwandan refugees and Congolese civilians were savagely killed by the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) and its allies. After the  destruction of their camps in Eastern DRC,  these refugees were hunted down over the entire DRC territory. 

These massacres were subsequently qualified as acts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity by several independent organizations including in the 2010 UN Mapping report. It is important to remind the International Community that, even today,  the main perpetrators of such horrendous crimes still hold leadership positions in the current Rwandan military administration and Rwandan government and no one has ever been brought to justice. 

The destruction of the Kasiki Centre was a clear message from Paul Kagame's regime and its supporters towards the Rwandan refugees in the region. Since then, things have gone from bad to worse. 

Based on this picture of the Kigali regime, one may wonder how can the UK government even consider dealing with a despicable dictator like Paul Kagame. Instead of sending the asylum seekers to Rwanda, the UK Government should  have  the agreement voided and push the  Rwandan regime to address the lack of the basic human rights of its citizens and to genuinely solve the overwhelming problem of the Rwanda refugees,  especially in the region.

Road to Lasting Peace in the Region:

  1. NDC/CND remains committed to peace and peaceful solutions as it has already demonstrated during the short-lived Kisangani Process that led to  the Kasiki settlement Centre. 
  2. Our organization remains convinced that the principles that were laid in the Kisangani Roadmap and subsequently updated in Rome on Jan 27, 2009 may form a foundation in contributing to the lasting solution of the Rwandan refugees problem in Eastern DRC and the region.
  3. As our Organization has always pointed out, the Rwandan problem is political in nature and requires political solutions. It is our firm conviction that as long as the Rwandan problem is not resolved the Africa Great Lakes region will remain unstable. 
  4. In order to foster a reconciliatory Justice system, the only foundation of genuine Reconciliation, we urgently ask to hold, under the auspices of the International Community, an Inter-Rwandan Dialogue. In addition, our Organization calls for the organization of a "Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation" Commission in our homeland that would help heal a traumatized society.
  5. We remain convinced that only this Dialogue would lead to lasting peace, stability, and the establishment of new political, judiciary, and security institutions that would be the reflection of the legitimate aspirations of all the constitutive groups of the Rwandan society.
  6. Our organization has the firm commitment to constructively and actively contribute in finding lasting and peaceful solutions to the problems that have plagued our homeland and the Africa Great Lakes region.


13  May  2022

Dr. Augustin Dukuze


National Democratic Congress