More flaws in UN dossier on DR Congo – new report

The latest report on Congo conflict has further cast doubt on allegations contained in the UN Group of Experts (GoE) controversial report that claimed Kigali is backing the M23 rebels in the DR Congo.
Senator Jean Damascene Bizimana (C) chats with Rose Mukantabana, the Speaker of the lower chamber (R) and MP Jeanne d’Arc Uwimanimpaye  after releasing the report yesterday. The New ....
Senator Jean Damascene Bizimana (C) chats with Rose Mukantabana, the Speaker of the lower chamber (R) and MP Jeanne d’Arc Uwimanimpaye after releasing the report yesterday. The New ....

The latest report on Congo conflict has further cast doubt on allegations contained in the UN Group of Experts (GoE) controversial report that claimed Kigali is backing the M23 rebels in the DR Congo.

The findings contained in a 160-page report by a special committee of Members of Parliament from both chambers, reaffirms a previous government rebuttal submitted last year to the UN sanctions committee. Released yesterday, the report established that, the allegations that fuelled hatred against Rwanda were mostly driven by individual selfish interests.

The seven-member committee was chaired by Senator Jean Damascène Bizimana.

It gives details of the role played by the UN, international NGOs and human rights activists in DRC in perpetrating hatred against Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese, Rwanda as a country and its leadership.

The report questions the credibility of UN Group of Experts which was headed by Steven Hege, noting that most of them were not qualified to be called ‘UN experts’, since they had specific selfish interests that compromised their report.

“Hege himself had a project worth US$ 5 million of monitoring minerals in DRC; he could not fault this country for fear of losing the chance to operate there,” said Senator Bizimana, adding, Hege’s previous sympathy and advocacy for the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) compounded the problem.

In one of the articles, Hege criticised the joint Rwanda-DRC military operations, which had brought relative peace to Eastern DRC. He claimed FDLR had rightly been disappointed by Kinshasa’s growing ties with Kigali following the 2009 peace deal between the Congolese government and the then National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) rebels.

In the article, “Understanding the FDLR in the DR Congo: Key facts on the disarmament & repatriation of Rwandan rebels”, published by Peace Appeal Foundation, on February 24, 2009, Hege wrote: “The FDLR must be viewed in light of the regional history of armed rebellions formed by refugees and/or political exiles who have eventually taken power back from undemocratic regimes”.

The FDLR, a militia group based in the DRC, comprises elements responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi that left more than one million people dead.

The report narrates the beginning of the DRC contradiction against the fate of Kinyarwanda speaking citizens who belonged to the country since 1885 before the colonial regimes split countries.

Based on historical background, it showed that people in southern and northern Kivu have suffered from hatred during colonial and post colonial era. This was followed by rebellions which drove thousands of Congolese refugees to Rwanda.

The report singles out the Jesuits priests and Catholic NGOs like Pax Christi for providing wrong information to the UNGoE, some of whom had links with catholic congregations.

The group was unprofessional, the report says, that it used to leak its report to organisations like Human Right Watch before without including Kigali’s position on the allegations. Apart from UNGoE, previous researchers on DRC problems were also reportedly biased, according to the lawmakers.

Monusco castigated

The lawmakers also castigated UN peacekeepers–Monusco, and the new UNGoE. Most cited is Hege’s successor, Bernard Leloup who, it is alleged, openly says that he hates Rwandans and their president and thus, cannot produce a fair report.

The MPs expressed surprise that some countries suspended aid to Rwanda based on the controversial report. In several recommendations, the legislators requested those countries to now refer to this report and make informed decisions.

The report commended UN member countries, who, ‘despite some evil wishers did not base on rumours but understood the reality and voted for Rwanda to the UN Security Council.’

The report, that took the committee two months to compile, looked at documentation from UN, international organisations, the report by the UN group of experts itself, and testimonies from individuals.

The legislators hope the report will help different people to understand the real situation on DRC and the non involvement of Rwanda in the conflict. MPs recommended the report to be translated to English and French and be distributed to UN and other stake holders.

Several international scholars have also said insecurity in eastern Congo can be traced from a historical background of brutal colonisation by the West, successive dictatorial regimes, and the appetite of industrialised countries for the country’s natural resources.

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