As Rwandans mark the 29th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi, two eminent personalities of global reputation have called for ‘urgent action’ to stop another looming genocide in the neighbouring DR Congo. In an open letter, Adama Dieng, the ex-UN advisor on Genocide Prevention, and Gareth Evans, the former Australian foreign minister, called on the Congolese government to take necessary steps to end targeted persecution of their nationals of Tutsi origin. The letter was written through the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), a body that aims at saving lives by mobilising the international community to act in situations where populations are at risk of mass atrocity crimes. For years, Congolese of Tutsi descent have faced persecution, which intensified last year following the resurgence of the rebellion by M23, a rebel group that operates in eastern DR Congo. The letter coincided with the 29th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda which begins on Friday April 7. Also, at the global level, April was dedicated as a Genocide Prevention and Awareness Month. “As we observe Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month it is critical that we learn from the past, and take effective action to address both the immediate and underlying causes of mass violence to break the cycle of abuse and impunity. We owe it to the victims of the Genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda,” reads part of the letter. Over a million Tutsi were killed in Rwanda within just three months in 1994. To make matters worse, various reports including by the UN, indicate that among the people targeting the Congolese Tutsi population include FDLR militia, which was formed by perpetrators of the Genocide in Rwanda. Also Read: UN confirms FDLR active in DR Congo, warns of genocide They have lived in DR Congo for nearly 30 years, having fled there after they genocidal regime was defeated in Rwanda. The FDLR has formed a partnership with the Congolese national army, FARDC, and have been operating together in the military campaign against M23. “Active in eastern DRC for years, FDLR fighters have a long history of killing and maiming and sexual violence against civilians in North and South Kivu,” reads the letter by the two imminent persons. Besides advising the UN on Genocide Prevention, Dieng, a Senegalese national, has previously worked as the Registrar of the former International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, a UN court that tried dozens of genocide perpetrators. Anti-Tutsi sentiment According to the letter, since the resurgence of M23, there has been a “dramatic escalation” in disinformation, xenophobia, hate speech and incitement to discrimination and violence, particularly targeting Tutsis/Banyarwanda individuals and others of or presumed to be of Rwandan descent. “There is a history in eastern DRC of dangerous anti-Tutsi sentiment and rhetoric targeting people who speak Kinyarwanda that have long been perceived as “foreigners” or “invaders” in the DRC,” adds the letter. The hate speech has of recent been spearheaded by senior government officials, including senior military and police officers but no one has been reprimanded for such acts. The letter adds that similar to what is happening in DR Congo, atrocities are often preceded by incitement to violence through hate speech, drawing to events in Rwanda and what happened in Nazi Germany shortly before the holocaust. “In Rwanda, the (RTLM) station was instrumental in inciting the genocide through its broadcasting of hate speech about Tutsi “cockroaches” and urging Hutu to turn on their neighbours. Media outlets also helped recruit and coordinate mass killing operations,” they said.