The Minister of Foreign Affairs has said Rwanda is aware of a new fundraising effort by Human Rights Watch to ‘release another batch of recycled rumours designed to implicate Rwanda’.
In a statement posted on the government website, the minister hastened to warn that the region is not a playground for non-state actors to play politics or raise money while fomenting violence and human suffering.
“We will not fall for all these provocations and so-called leaked reports designed to inflame tension and create conflict. Far from it. Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have been working even closer than before to resolve the situation in DRC,” said Mushikiwabo, who also doubles as the government spokesperson.
Her statement came a day after she categorically dismissed UN reports claiming that Rwanda is supporting the war in the DRC.
In her admonition, the Minister pointed out that HRW’s conduct has resulted into human suffering, including more than 100 women raped by DRC-based Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and other rebels who have taken advantage of the insecurity breach.
FDLR is a terrorist group that is mainly composed of elements responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
“Who benefits from continued instability in the eastern DRC? Not the Rwandan people, not the Congolese people. The primary beneficiaries are the FDLR terrorists who feast on insecurity. But unaccountable actors like HRW also profit from this by raising millions of dollars through the dissemination of simplistic reports based on the same old unverified reports and lies,” Mushikiwabo stated.
She added; “The irresponsible words of lobbies like Human Rights Watch are no less dangerous than bullets or machetes”.
Mushikiwabo referred to a story published in the Guardian newspaper of the United Kingdom about killings and the disfigurement of dead bodies, pointing out that, Rwanda knows these tell-tale signs too well.
“These are the same forces that killed over one million people in Rwanda in 1994. We know their modus operandi. Their actions today carry a chilling ring of familiarity”.
Rwanda has requested UN Special Representative to the DRC, Roger Meece, to visit Kigali to explain why MONUSCO spreads false rumours aimed at aggravating the volatile situation in Eastern DRC, undermining ongoing collaboration between the Rwanda and DRC governments to manage insecurity and shelter refugees fleeing the conflict.
“We are not involved in internal DRC political or military affairs. Allegations to the contrary have no basis in fact. Even the source of this week’s rumours has backed off them, admitting there is no evidence of any involvement by the Rwandan Government,” Mushikiwabo said.
The BBC had earlier reported that the internal UN report cited “defecting soldiers, who said they had been trained in Rwanda under the pretext of joining the army, before being sent over the border to fight.”
But, according to Mushikiwabo, “Rwanda has maintained from the outset that the current instability in the eastern DRC is a matter for the Congolese government and military. Rwanda’s national interest is served by containing conflict and building deeper bonds of peace with our neighbours.”
She further accused the international community for “neglecting the real issues of stability by limiting itself to symptoms instead of the root cause of suffering in our region,” and called on the UN force in the DRC (MONUSCO) to return “to its original mandate instead of spreading rumours and generating reports.”
Since the BBC released the confidential UN report, MONUSCO seems to be trying to alter the version of the story, by claiming that there is no evidence that Rwanda was involved – a contradiction from their previous assertions.