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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rwanda kufikiria uhusiano wake na UN

Rwanda imesema itafikiria kuendelea na ushirikiano wake na Umoja wa Mataifa, haswa katika masuala ya kulinda amani--ikiwa repoti inayokosoa vikali jeshi la Rwanda itachapishwa.

Repoti hiyo, ambayo inajumuisha matukio kuanzia mwaka wa 1993 hadi mwaka wa 2003, inasema wanajeshi wa Rwanda huenda wamehusika na mauaji ya kimbari wakati wa mapigano katika Jamhuri ya Kidemokrasia ya Congo.

Waziri wa sheria wa Rwanda, Tharcisse Karugarama, alisema Umoja wa wa Mataifa uliichoma kisu mgongoni Rwanda na haupaswi kuchapisha repoti hiyo isiyokuwa na ukweli wowote.

Rwanda inachangia maelfu ya wanajeshi katika kikosi cha kulinda amani katika jimbo la Darfur nchini Sudan.

Ripoti hiyo, iliyosomwa na BBC inasema kuwa maelfu ya Wahutu wakiwemo wanawake, watoto na wazee waliuawa na Jeshi la Rwanda lenye askari wengi wa kabila la Kitutsi.

Ripoti hiyo vile vile inaorodhesha ukiukaji wa haki za binadamu uliofanywa na vikosi vya nchi nyingine zilizoshiriki kilichokuja kujulikana kama ''Vita vya kwanza vya Afrika''.

Ripoti kamili ya shirika la haki za binadamu la Umoja wa Mataifa itachapishwa hivi karibuni. Ingawaje mgogoro huo umemalizika rasmi, hali katika eneo la mashariki mwa Congo lililopakana na Rwanda bado ni ya wasiwasi.

Ripoti hiyo yenye kurasa 545, iliyotayarishwa na maofisa 20 wa shirika la haki za binadamu, inaorodhesha kilichoitwa mashambulio yaliyopangwa na kutekelezwa na jeshi la Rwanda pamoja na waasi wa AFDL.

Dozens of French leaders 'supported Rwandan genocide' claims new report

The government of Rwanda today called on the international community to "bring to justice" 33 French politicians and military leaders it accuses of involvement in the 1994 genocide which claimed the lives of 800,000 people.

The late president Francois Mitterrand and former prime minister Dominique de Villepin are named among dozens of others in a sensational report.

It accuses them of giving French support of a "political, military, diplomatic and logistic nature" as well as alleging that French soldiers carried out rapes and killings.

Complicit: French troops patrol alongside Hutu troops in Rwanda in 1994

The then prime minister Edouard Balladur is also named. Rwanda's government and genocide survivor organisations have frequently accused France of training and arming the militias and former government troops who led the slaughter.

But the latest accusations are the most detailed - and point to the very top of the French administration. An independent Rwandan commission said France was aware of preparations for the genocide and helped train the ethnic Hutu militia perpetrators.

The report names 33 senior French military and political figures that it says should be prosecuted.

The French foreign ministry said officials were still studying the accusations.

Hundreds of thousands of minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were butchered by Hutu militias during-the genocide, which lasted from April to July 1994.

French officials have repeatedly denied that France assisted or directed the Hutu forces.

"French soldiers themselves directly were involved in assassinations of Tutsis and Hutus accused of hiding Tutsis," according to the Rwandan report, which was compiled by a governmentappointed team of investigators from the justice ministry. "French soldiers committed many rapes, specifically of Tutsi women."

A statement from the justice ministry said: "Considering the seriousness of the alleged crimes, the Rwandan government has urged the relevant authorities to bring the accused French politicians and military officials to justice."

The commission spent nearly two years investigating France's alleged role in the genocide.

In 1998, a French parliamentary panel absolved France of responsibility in the slaughter. But the politicians said that French governments had given diplomatic and military support to Rwanda's extremist government between 1990 and 1994.

PHOTO: Congolese soldiers in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. (NeonCobra)

For sometime now, the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) thorough investigation into the death toll in war-ravaged Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been used as the founding basis for extra peacekeeping deployments and a huge influx in relief aid. That some 5.4 million people had perished as a result of the war and it’s consequences in the DRC seemed beyond horrific. This single statistic though was enough to raise the call for intense military and humanitarian action to save the central African region.

Now, with millions of lives still on the line, the Human Security Report Project at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada is questioning rather or not the data gathering the International Rescue Committee used to discover the death toll was accurate.
How Many Have Perished?

For now, the IRC has stated that it stands by it’s statistic, saying conflict epidemiology is an” inexact science,” and that the actual death toll could be as low as 3 million or as high as 7.6 million.

The two key issues the Human Security Report Project is claiming is that the interview-based sampling that the IRC carried out in the war torn region do not represent the reality of all regions of the nation and the figure the IRC used for the “normal mortality rate” (the average mortality rate for sub-Saharan Africa) in DRC may be wrong due to lack of reliable prewar statistics.

If the Human Security Report Project is correct, the death toll in the DRC may be much less than the IRC estimate, perhaps even cutting it in half. Either way, there is no exact number on how many have perished due to the series of wars, rebellions, and human right’s atrocities that have been carried out in the DRC over the past several years.
Regardless of Correct Death Toll, Saving Congo Must Remain the Focus

With much of the international community now focused in on whether the IRC statistic is correct or not, the simple fact that at the very least over one million have already perished should continue to bring more focus towards solving the crisis. Statistics cannot continue to be the single reason why the world reacts to a conflict. Regardless of the death toll, all would agree that what is happening in the DRC is beyond tragic and that too many have already perished.

The international community must look at the humanitarian, social, political, and economic consequences of this war and find solutions to ending it. If the response to Congo begins to slack off now due to a new statistic that still has not been proven, the violence will continue and overtime will claim hundreds of thousands of more lives. Now, more than ever, is the time to step into Congo and end one of the world’s deadliest wars.

D.R. Congo: Arrest Laurent Nkunda For War Crimes
Military and U.N. Should Act to Protect Civilians
(New York, February 1, 2006) - The transitional government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and U.N. peacekeeping troops must immediately arrest Laurent Nkunda, a former officer in the Congolese army who has been charged with war crimes and whose rebel forces have renewed military operations in eastern DRC, Human Rights Watch said today. Nkunda’s whereabouts have been well-known to the Congolese authorities and U.N. peacekeepers since the warrant for his arrest was issued in September 2005.

“An arrest warrant was issued against Nkunda for war crimes, crimes against humanity and insurrection months ago but the police and army have done nothing about arresting him,” said Alison Des Forges, senior advisor to the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch. “So long as Nkunda is at large, the civilian population remains at grave risk.”

On January 18, rebel forces attacked and occupied several towns in Rutshuru territory, North Kivu province, after routing Congolese government soldiers stationed in the area. After a brief period of calm, combat resumed during the past weekend. The rebels were said to be under the orders of Nkunda, an allegation confirmed by the provincial governor in a communiqué issued January 26. Local sources report that both rebel forces and Congolese army troops have raped and otherwise attacked civilians and looted their property. Tens of thousands of Congolese have fled to neighboring areas or across the border to Uganda.

In September 2005 the government issued an international arrest warrant for Nkunda, who had been implicated in numerous war crimes and other serious human rights abuses during the past three years. In past investigations, Human Rights Watch has documented summary executions, torture, and rape committed by soldiers under Nkunda’s command, in Bukavu in 2004 and in Kisangani in 2002.

Nkunda was a senior officer in the Rwandan-backed Rally for Congolese Democracy-Goma (RCD-Goma), one of the main rebel groups fighting in DRC from 1998 to 2003. In 2004 he was named general in a new national Congolese army created from troops of the dissident forces at the end of the war. He refused the post and withdrew with hundreds of his troops to the forests of Masisi in North Kivu. In August 2005 he announced a new rebellion but launched no military operations at that time.

Nkunda has remained at large even though provincial government authorities, the Congolese army and U.N. peacekeeping forces knew of his whereabouts. Local journalists and civil society sources reported his frequent visits to Goma, seat of the North Kivu provincial government, and a major operations center for Congolese soldiers and U.N. peacekeepers.

In October General Gabriel Amisi, a former colleague of Nkunda from the RCD-Goma and commander of the 8th military region of North Kivu, told Human Rights Watch researchers that he knew where Nkunda was but gave no explanation why he did not arrest him.

On October 21, 2004 the Security Council in resolution 1565 directed the U.N. troops to cooperate with Congolese authorities “to ensure that those responsible for serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law are brought to justice,” a directive it repeated with added emphasis on December 21, 2005 (resolution 1649). Asked by Human Rights Watch researchers why U.N. peacekeepers had not assisted in arresting Nkunda, one senior U.N. official mentioned possible repercussions from Rwanda as one reason.

“The U.N. and the Congolese government need to muster the political will to take action. Every civilian who was the victim of war crimes during the recent fighting paid the price of continuing impunity in the DRC,” said Des Forges. “It’s long past time to arrest Nkunda.”

Background on Laurent Nkunda

Laurent Nkunda (known also as Nkundabatware), born in North Kivu, joined the RCD-Goma rebel forces in 1998. He received military training in Rwanda, including at Gabiro military camp, and became the commander of the Seventh Brigade of RCD-Goma forces.

Laurent Nkunda: wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Congolese government. © 2004 Reuters
Laurent Nkunda: wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity
by the Congolese government. © 2004 Reuters

In May 2002 Nkunda, together with General Amisi, was among the RCD-Goma officers responsible for the brutal repression of an attempted mutiny in Kisangani where more than 160 persons were summarily executed. In one incident, forces under Nkunda’s command bound, gagged, and executed twenty-eight persons and then put their bodies in bags weighted with stones and threw them off a Kisangani bridge. After the U.N. began investigating these crimes, Nkunda and several armed guards entered the U.N. premises and abducted and beat two guards.

At a Security Council briefing on July 16, 2002, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson called on Congolese authorities to arrest those who ordered or were involved in the massacre, and warned of further bloodshed if they were not brought to justice.

Despite the supposed end to the war and the establishment of a transitional government in 2003, dissident soldiers loyal to RCD-Goma clashed with other Congolese army forces in South Kivu in May 2004. Nkunda and troops loyal to him took control of the South Kivu town of Bukavu on June 2, claiming his action was necessary to stop a genocide of Congolese Tutsi, known locally as Banyamulenge. During the fighting, Nkunda’s troops carried out war crimes, killing and raping civilians and looting their property. In one case on June 3, 2004 Nkunda’s soldiers gang-raped a mother in front of her husband and children while another soldier raped her three-year-old daughter.

After U.N. peacekeepers negotiated Nkunda’s withdrawal from Bukavu, he and some of his forces headed into the forests of North Kivu while others, commanded by Col. Jules Mutebusi, found safety in Rwanda. The Congolese government has issued an international warrant for the arrest of Mutebutsi, charged like Nkunda with insurrection, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Congolese Foreign Minister also wrote to Rwanda, requesting Mutebusi’s return to Congo, but Rwandan authorities have not handed him over.

In August 2005 Nkunda declared the current government corrupt and incompetent and said it must be overthrown. In September 2005 a large number of Rwandaphone soldiers belonging to the former RCD-Goma deserted the national army in North Kivu and some of them went to join Nkunda in the forests of Masisi.

On January 18, forces loyal to Nkunda took several North Kivu towns, including Tongo, Bunagana and Rutshuru. After a lull following a show of force by the U.N and national troops combat resumed on January 28 in Rutshuru town, causing the remaining residents to flee.

War orphans of the DRC

There is a well known African expression "A child with a full tummy will sleep in peace, even if it is under a tree".

The fighting is intense in Goma, our area of operation in the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo). The offices of our partner organisation there had its simple offices ransacked at gunpoint earlier in the year. The innocent victims of the bloodshed are as ever, the children, many of whom have been orphaned by the conflict.

Our program of running feeding stations in the region ensures that at least the children do not go hungry.
Latest Report from Goma: 2nd November 2008. The situation here is now critical, hundreds of starving, homeless families and children come to us every day begging for help but our funds are limited and we cannot help them - we desperately need more donations.
It costs as little as $2 a week to feed a child for one week; $500 will feed 20 children for 3 months.
Can you help?

CONGO-Minerals Causing The Deadliest War In The World

The Enough Project is an organization that I'm proud to be a part of. It leads the way by making enough noise to stop the genocide and crimes against humanity. The DRC (Congo) is known as Africa's worst war, more people have died there than in Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur combined. To others it is known as the War Against Women. In the last ten years in Congo, hundred of thousands of women have been raped, most of them gang raped. The women aren't only in physical pain but also psychological pain which has literally ended their lives.

Now, the question here is WHY? Ha, is there ever an answer to that? Correction, will there ever be a legitimate, logical, reasonable, understandable, humane answer to that? The Answer..OF COURSE NOT...but to understand what started this deadly war I will take you back more than decade when the genocide took a million lives in the infamous Rwanda The violence ended up spreading from Rwanda to neighboring country, Congo. Since then, the Congolese army, foreign backed rebels, and home grown militias have been fighting over power and land which has the world's biggest deposits for minerals (such as gold). Let me bottom line this for you, Congo's war has been ignored far too long, Let's End the Silence..


Update: The latest against the war on Minerals in Congo
Increasing pressure on electronics companies to ensure that their products do not contain illicit minerals from the killing fields in eastern Congo is beginning to have a significant impact. With bills on conflict minerals moving through Congress, the electronics industry has spent about $2 million per month lobbying Senate offices to relax the legislation, which would increase transparency in the supply chains for tin, tantalum, and tungsten, or the 3Ts.

These mineral ores, as well as gold, are key elements of electronics products including cell phones and personal computers, and also are the principal source of revenue for armed groups and military units that prey on civilians in eastern Congo. Congo’s mineral wealth did not spark the conflict in eastern Congo, but war profiteering has become the fuel that keeps the region aflame and lies beneath the surface of major regional tensions.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton highlighted the link between armed conflict, sexual violence, and minerals when she visited eastern Congo in August 2009, arguing that the world needs to do more “to prevent the mineral wealth from the DRC ending up in the hands of those who fund the violence.”

The most effective way to achieve this goal is to ensure transparency in the consumer electronics supply chain to certify products as conflict-free. But many electronics companies maintain that their supply chains are too complex for this, because of the sheer number of actors involved in moving minerals from mines in Congo all the way to the gadgets in our pockets.

"British budget support killed our dads, mums, uncles and aunts, our sisters and brothers..."

What these children have in common?

The Killer of their relatives, dads and mums still stay at large and enjoy impunity.

The Rwandan genocide and 5,000,000 Congolese and Hutu refugees killed are the culminating point of a long British battle to expand their influence to the African francophone Great Lakes Region. The UK supported Kagame’s guerrilla war by providing military intelligence, advice and equipment. The UK refused to intervene to stop the genocide because they were confident that Kagame will win the war at any cost. All Kagame’s 20,000 fighters were on the Ugandan payroll paid by UK budget support.

· 4 Heads of State assassinated in the francophone African Great Lakes Region.
· 2,000,000 people died in Hutu and Tutsi genocides in Rwanda, Burundi and RD.Congo.
· 500,000 Hutu refugees killed in R.D.Congo, Uganda, Central African Republic and Congo.
· 5,000,000 Congolese dead.
· 3,000,000 internal displaced people.
· 200,000 permanent Rwandan and Burundian Hutu refugees, and Congolese refugees around the world.

Everything was destroyed by war. Everything. Families gave daughters to the military in return for their lives. Soldiers came and went, leaving girls as young as twelve alone with children of rape that are now starving, the husbands and fathers lost as adult males were conscripted or slaughtered. Teacher’s salaries are 1,000 francs a month, less than three US dollars, and teachers weakened by hunger cannot last to noon. Parents in small villages cannot pay school fees of about one US dollar a month per child.

The FDLR and local Congolese journalists claim that the Rwandan military and their criminal networks and militias continue to plunder raw materials from the DRC and ship them out through Rwanda. In turn, the Kagame government claims the FDLR seeks to destabilize Rwanda and finish what the 1994 genocide started. As violence escalated this spring, officials in Rwanda claimed "genocide against the Banyamulenge" was underway in eastern Congo.

"We would certainly not use the term genocide," said Andrew Philip, spokesman for Amnesty International's Central Africa Team, in a June 15 communication with this reporter. He dismissed claims by RCD commanders and Rwandan officials, noting that all combatants looted, raped and killed civilians of all communities.

A Human Rights Watch statement of June 12 echoed the SRI calls. It also pointed to accounts of Rwanda grooming Congolese proxy forces. "Local sources claimed to have identified Rwandan military working with the dissident forces," HRW noted, "an accusation Rwanda has emphatically denied."

Heritage Oil & Gas was founded by Tony Buckingham, an executive linked to a confusing network of front companies and offshore island holdings. De Standard reported June 19, 2003, on Heritage Oil's maneuvers in DRC and Uganda, and its links to companies like Branch Energy and Diamond Works, both exposed for operations in war-torn Angola and Sierra Leone.

Buckingham is a veteran of the UK's elite SAS military corps, and played a founding role in the private military companies Executive Outcomes of South Africa and Sandline International. De Standard suggested that Buckingham seeks the pacification of Ituri to exploit minerals in the region.

Buckingham's ties to US government officials are detailed in Wayne Madsen's book Genocide And Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999 (Edwin Mellen Press, 1999). The SAS mercenary soldier Simon Mann arrested this March with a posse of followers in Zimbabwe (allegedly en route to institute a coup in Equatorial Guinea) is a co-founder with Buckingham of Executive Outcomes.

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