Rwanda Diaspora Petition Obama Over DRC

Rwandans living in the US have petitioned President Barrack Obama over the Eastern DRC crisis.

The petition asks the US President to ‘thoroughly evaluate the current conflict in the DRC, within the context of its roots in ethno-nationalist conflict, including the divisive governance of DRC which for the last several decades has provided safe haven to genocidaires and their sympathisers.’

In a letter dated December 11, 2012, they explain to Obama the origin of the Congo crisis and accuse the international community, including the United Nations, of orchestrating a propaganda campaign against Rwanda.

The war-torn eastern DRC early this year again plunged in another crisis following the creation of a new mutinous rebel group, the M23, that accuses the Kinshasa leadership of violating a March 23, 2009 peace agreement.

The letter, signed by Yvette Nyombayire Rugasaguhunga on behalf of the Rwandan Community in North America, also called urged Washington DC to work with involved parties to implement the Kampala communiqué, an initiative led by leaders of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).

The group also asked President Obama to hold the concerned parties accountable for breaking the March 23, 2009 peace deal, setting a solid foundation to implement the outcome of the ongoing talks between the government of DRC and M23.

In June, Rwanda was accused of supporting M23, a group of mutineers that has been at war with the Congolese army (FARDC) in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

In response, Rwanda submitted a comprehensive rebuttal to the allegations by a UN Group of Experts.

“The deeply rooted, and well-orchestrated propaganda campaign against Rwanda obliges us, as concerned citizens of Rwanda and legal residents of the United States of America and Canada, to faithfully defend our country by adding our voice to many others that strive to bring the truth out in a quest to restore the image of Rwanda and to pursue justice, peace and security in DRC and the Great Lakes region…So far the international community has shown no interest in investigating further to fully understand the ongoing crisis in DRC. Instead, Rwanda was rendered guilty without trial,” reads part of the petition.

In the letter, the members expressed dismay over a decision by some donor countries to withhold the disbursement of budget support to Rwanda, based on the dubious allegations.

“We would like to remind you that Rwanda has been consistently praised for its proficient utilisation of foreign aid as well as its overall efficient fiscal management, which have resulted in successful reconstructive efforts in the last 18 years,” the group said.

Over the last five years, Rwanda has lifted over one million people out of poverty.

“Cutting or freezing aid at this moment will not resolve the crisis in the DRC,” they said.

They also explained that the roots of the cycle of violence in the DRC lay in the original ethno-nationalist conflict that has plagued the entire region since colonial days.

It said it is a continuation of the anti-Tutsi propaganda campaign that led to the Genocide against Tutsi in 1994 that claimed the lives of more than one million people in the most inhuman ways while the International community stood by.

The letter, which is also copied to the Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, adds that learning from the country’s history, the group advises the involved parties to help Congolese create an environment where all its citizens will be guaranteed equal rights.

“We thus remain committed to work with any party vested to restore peace and security and welcome you to join Rwanda in this effort by restoring human rights and international law for all by addressing this crisis from the root causes of the conflict,” reads the petition.