The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has welcomed the recent engagement by the President of Angola, João Lourenço, with the Mouvement du 23 mars (M23), which resulted in the announcement of a ceasefire beginning on March 7, in compliance with the decisions of the African Union Peace and Security Council on February 17, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Angolan leader who, according to reports, recently met with representatives of the M23 rebels, is also the African Union champion for peace and reconciliation. According to a March 6 statement issued by his spokesperson, “the Secretary-General urges the M23 to respect the ceasefire in order to create conditions for its full and effective withdrawal from all occupied areas” in eastern DR Congo, in line with the decisions of the Luanda Mini-Summit held on November 23, 2022. ALSO READ: No sign of FDLR disarming as Luanda deadline lapses But the statement makes no clear mention of the Rwandan genocidal militia group, FDLR, a UN sanctioned terrorist group based in eastern DR Congo for close to three decades. The genocidal militia has launched attacks on Rwanda throughout the years, including in 2019 when fighters of its RUD Urunana faction killed 14 civilians in Musanze District in Northern Province. ALSO READ: Why Congolese army-FDLR alliance is an evil enterprise Peace talks aimed at restoring order in DR Congo have, in the recent past, been held in places including Nairobi, Kenya, Angola’s capital, Luanda as well as in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and in New York, USA. Regional leaders have called for a cease-fire in eastern DR Congo and for the M23 rebels to withdraw from territories they are holding, and the genocidal militia to disarm and embark on an unconditional repatriation. The M23 rebels withdrew from some areas but the genocidal militia has not budged. Unlike the FDLR whose sole purpose is driven by an anti-Tutsi genocide ideology, the M23 rebels are fighting for the rights and safety of their communities - Congolese Tutsi, who, for nearly 30 years, have been targeted and killed based solely on their ethnicity. The continued persecution and a consistent threat to the lives and livelihood of Kinyarwanda speaking Congolese have forced more than 80,000 to seek refuge in Rwanda. Hundreds others are in other neighbouring countries and in other countries. The government of Rwanda has noted that the preservation of the genocidal militia by the Congolese government, whose army, FARDC, continues to arm and fight alongside the genocidal militia is a major cause of conflict and human rights abuses in eastern DR Congo, and a serious threat to Rwanda’s security. ALSO READ: Kagame questions silence on FDLR crime A 2022 report by Pole Institute, a non-governmental organization operating in DR Congo, indicates that the genocidal militia makes enormous amounts of money in different illegal trade activities in eastern DR Congo. It shows that the economic empire of the FDLR is based on three pillars – illegal exploitation of the country’s timber, poaching, and collection of royalties for agriculture as well as transport exploitation. Relations between Rwanda and DR Congo have soured in the past two years. Kinshasa accuses Kigali of supporting the M23 rebels’ resurgence in eastern DR Congo, an accusation Kigali has denied. The Rwandan government maintains that the sustained collaboration between the Congolese army and armed groups in eastern DR Congo, especially the FDLR, is at the heart of the insecurity affecting the region. Lately, 17 provincial members of parliament in North Kivu have asked President Felix Tshisekedi to address the issue of FDLR’s presence in eastern DR Congo as part of efforts to find a lasting solution to the crisis. ALSO READ: Anger as Congolese minister Muyaya absolves FDLR terrorists President Paul Kagame is of the view that blaming Rwanda without addressing the root causes of the conflict, which include failure by successive Congolese governments to honour several agreements it had signed with M23 to reintegrate them will not solve the problem. Refrain from hate speech and incitement to violence In the UN statement, the Secretary-General “condemns all violence against civilians and renews his call on all Congolese and foreign armed groups to lay down their weapons and disarm unconditionally.” “He urges all parties to the conflict to ensure an immediate and unfettered humanitarian access to the affected population and to ensure protection of civilians and respect for international humanitarian law. He also calls on all actors to refrain from hate speech and incitement to violence.” ALSO READ: Macron to DR Congo leaders: Do not look for culprits outside your country It is also noted that the Secretary-General reaffirms the continued support of the UN to the Luanda and Nairobi processes, through his Special Representative in the DR Congo and his Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region, and its readiness to step up efforts to bring about peace and security in eastern DR Congo. Following her official visit to the DR Congo from November 10-13, 2022, on November 30, 2022, Alice Wairimu Nderitu, the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, condemning the escalation in fighting in the DR Congo indicated that she was “deeply alarmed” about the escalation of violence in the Great Lakes Region where a genocide - the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda – happened. “The current violence is a warning sign of societal fragility and proof of the enduring presence of the conditions that allowed large-scale hatred and violence to erupt into a genocide in the past,” she said. ALSO READ: DR Congo crisis: Understanding FDLR’s source of funding In eastern DR Congo, she noted, the current violence mainly stems from the refugee crisis that resulted as many individuals involved in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda fled to eastern DR Congo, forming armed groups such as the FDLR “which is still active” in the region. At the time, her statement also stressed that the abuses currently occurring in eastern DR Congo, including the targeting of civilians based on their ethnicity or perceived affiliation to the warring parties must be halted. “Our collective commitment not to forget past atrocities constitutes an obligation to prevent reoccurrence,” the Special Adviser stressed.