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February 16-22, 2015

Media Monitoring Report for Rwanda
Posted on February 23, 2015

Compiled by Berta Fürstová

Report content:

1. Some UNSC members and regional states accused of having benefit from the existence of the FDLR
2. German Ambassador wants more cooperation with regional countries in defeating FDLR
3. US Ambassador pledged her government’s advocacy to return peace in eastern DRC

1. Some UNSC members and regional states accused of having benefit from the existence of the FDLR
Private, pro-government newspapers

New Times, 16th February 2015

“‘FDLR: Is the delayed offensive an inside job?” by Edwin Musoni

  • Speaking to The New Times, the Ugandan High Commissioner to Rwanda, Richard Kabonero, said DR Congo has a primary obligation to tackle with the FDLR. “We have heard enough of these speeches and resolutions, we need action now. DR Congo, as a member of the ICGLR, should respect the Nairobi Pact that clearly states that no country should harbour a rebel or militia group,” said Kabonero.
  • The ICGLR Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region was signed in Nairobi in 2006 by all the 11 member states and came into force in 2008. Article 6 of the pact urges member states to „abstain from sending or supporting armed opposition forces or armed groups or insurgents against a member state, or from tolerating the presence, on their territory, of armed groups or insurgents engaged in conflicts or involved in acts of violence or subversion against the government of another state.“
  • Kabonero said: “If the Kinshasa government is unable to act, they can always invite in neighbouring countries to help as has happened in different operations like ‘Umoja Wetu’, ‘Kimia I’ and ‘Kimia II’. Again, it doesn’t matter if Monusco is playing delaying tactics, DR Congo can go after FDLR by itself since they are primarily responsible of flushing out the militia.”
  • Kabonero also pointed to „the UN double standards“ saying that when it came to attacking the M23, Monusco and the Congolese Army acted in full force, but when it came to FDLR, instead of applying the same, „the players resorted to games of rhetoric.“
  • While addressing MPs, Rwanda’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Amb. EugeneRichard Gasana criticized the UN Security Council: “Who has interest in seeing conflicts coming to an end in DR Congo? None of those at the Security Council! It’s so sad, it’s frustrating but that’s the fact. Security Council was created to prevent conflict but what it is doing is to manage conflicts. If they prevented conflicts, that would mean they would not have more work to do.“
  • He alluded to some actors that may have interests in DR Congo conflicts since they continue to spend billions of dollars on Monusco, well aware of the fact that the heavily equipped force is not going to deliver on its mission. “We are aware of the fact that these countries are business-minded and result-oriented but why would they continue spending billions of dollars every year on a force that is not delivering results? This is the explanation of FDLR and Monusco’s existence in DR Congo,” Amb. Gasana said.
  • According to Gasana, there is little hope for the UN to go against FDLR, which leaves one alternative: regional bodies to work out a new plan without the UN and draw up offensive against FDLR.
  • The head of the European Union delegation in Rwanda, Michael Ryan, agreed that regional actors have a primary goal to push for an offensive against the FDLR. “Everyone knew that an offensive against the FDLR would be harder than how it looked on paper but what needs to be done is mounting as much pressure on the Kinshasa government as possible to see something being done,” said Amb. Ryan.
  • He also observed that there are “skilled and complicated games” games that are being played when it comes to the FDLR question.
  • The author of this article reminds that certain members of the ICGLR and SADC are being accused of having a soft spot for the FDLR militia. Among those on spot are Tanzania and South Africa, whose leaders have been cited as being sympathetic toward the militia.
  • Musoni also refer to some pundits who say that the difficulties created in delaying an offensive against the FDLR is an inside job within the UN since it has much to benefit in the existence of the militia group.
2. German Ambassador wants more cooperation with regional countries in defeating FDLR
Private but pro-government newspapers

New Times, 18th February 2015

"Africa should take lead in flushing out FDLR - German envoy“ by Athan Tashobya

  • The German Ambassador to Rwanda, Peter Fahrenholtz, said that the African Union should take the lead in bringing an end to the issue of FDLR and ensure peace and security in eastern DR Congo.
  • “This [FDLR issue] is taking place in an African country, we can’t come in and violate the sovereignty of the continent. We want to do this together with African leaders and the African Union… We are in the 21st century; African problems have to be solved by Africans, but we can come in and support in goodwill,” the envoy said.
  • Amb. Fahrenholtz insisted that regardless of the delays to neutralise FDLR, he believes MONUSCO will end the violence caused by FDLR fighters. “Monusco has never been in a better shape than they are in now. They have all the resources; FDLR has to be dissolved. It is 20 years after the Genocide, we have to end this conflict and focus on rebuilding the region,“ he said, adding that Germany contributes about $100 million to this force.
  • Speaker Donatille Mukabalisa told the reporters: “We asked the German MPs to be our voice in the international community, push for FDLR to be flushed out and also enact laws that criminalise Genocide revisionism and promotion of genocide ideology.“
3. US Ambassador pledged her government’s advocacy to return peace in eastern DRC
Private but pro-government newspapers

New Times, 19th February 2015

"US envoy visits Gihembe refugees, pledges advocacy to pacify DR Congo" by Theogene Nsengimana

  • The US Ambassador to Rwanda, Erica Barks-Ruggles, has pledged her government’s support to ensure peace returns to eastern DR Congo so that refugees can return home. Amb. Barks-Ruggles visited the Gicumbi-based Gihembe Refugee Camp which has hosted thousands of Congolese refugees for nearly two decades.
  • “We will work closely with partners such as the ICGLR and others to see how peace can be restored in the DR Congo so that you can repatriate. However, as long as there is no peace in DR Congo, we will always keep on supporting you in education, health and other needs,” she said.
  • The envoy added that her government has continued to resettle some of the Congolese refugees, and that, last year, 3,000 were successful resettled in the US.
  • In an interaction session, the refugees were allowed to raise their concerns. Jean Nsengimana, the president of the committee of parents in the camp, said the households have remained in the same three-by-four metre houses for almost 20 years, yet they have been growing. "Even those who want to expand their houses are not given tents. We need urgent support,” he said.
  • Addressing the refugees, Minister for Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, Seraphine Mukantabana said there is no need for them to expand their houses but rather it was better to identify those who have attained adult age among household members to be assisted to have their own houses.
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