Tuesday, February 14, 2006


14 February 2006

From The Rwandan Community
C/O Dzaleka and Luwani Refugee Camp
P. Bag 189 Lilongwe
Republic. Of Malawi
E-mail: twese2006@yahoo.fr
Telephone: +265 (0)9 918 709 or (0)9 260 650

To The Commissioner for Refugees
Ministry of Disaster, Preparedness, Relief and Rehabilitation
P. BAG 336 Capital City
Lilongwe 3
Republic of Malawi

Dear Sir,


We learned with great concern the above decision to repatriate by force the Rwandan Refugees and Asylum Seekers.

This information reached us following the meeting held on 13 February 2006 in Dzaleka Refugees’ camp, when the Rwandan Community was selectively isolated from other communities and warned that they are to be repatriated by force in their home country.

This brings back into our minds what happened in 1997, when there was such forced Repatriation and a number of returnees were killed on their arrival. Others managed to escape once again and came back to Malawi; we believe that the Refugees services in Malawi got this information.

While we are grateful to the Malawi Government who kindly granted us Refuge, we deplore the lack of neutrality on behalf of the UNHCR to give real interpretation of International Laws governing Asylum.

A Refugee, who feels that it is safe for him/her to go back home, should FREELY and INDIVIDUALLY request for repatriation, but his/her decision should not be used as an indirect propaganda to morally force other refugees to take the same decision.

RPF invites countries hosting Rwandan refugees to assess by themselves the situation in Rwanda.

Do these guests visit areas of their choice in the country? Are they not only taken to pre-selected places/sites that lead to biased reports? Who takes them around, a neutral party or RPF officials? Do these guests talk independently to the villagers about the repetitive reports on disappearing of Hutus, the RPF militia called Local Defence, how new skulls are gathered every year, the intimidation system of the drama kangaroo Gacaca court, etc.?

RPF is campaigning for refugees repatriation in the time when several senior administrative officials, political leaders, army officers have fled and are still fleeing the country.

In line with this development, we have noted some strange moves in Refugees and Asylum Seekers situations:
- Lists of Asylums Seekers who were notified that they had been granted Refugees Status have been cancelled and Applicants were recently urged to re-apply;
- Interviews for Refugees Status were suspended for some time now, and Asylums Seekers were not notified of what was taking place;
- In the current Verification Processes taking place in Refugees’ camps, Ration Cards for Refugees and Asylums Seekers who are believed to live in towns are being withheld, without any explanations;
- We deplore that the ultimatum set on 28 February 2006 for Refugees to move into Refugees camps did not take into account various Refugees situations as human beings, for instance with regards to the transfer of their kids between schools, getting rid of their immovable properties; some Refugees have already paid rentals and taxes for longer periods, appointed medical staff in various government hospitals who have to move promptly, to name but a few.

What we expected from the International community (especially the organisations which deal with refugees) was to bring the RPF to create conducive environment of peace, reconciliation, rule of law so that refugees opt the way home by themselves as it is done else where in the world. Should the UNHCR be requested by countries hosting refugees to move them elsewhere we feel it would be better to resettle them in other countries that are willing to offer them protection.

Many Refugees wondered if the UNHCR has completely failed both options, namely to negotiate full integration into the local community or to secure Resettlements into other countries.

The RPF government is preoccupied with a handful of Hutus who live outside the country when it is faced with a backlog of social problems at home including over hundred thousands prisoners of opinion, an impoverished population of more than 80%, HIV/AIDS infected population at alarming levels including those allegedly infected through selective injections by some elements within Tutsi extremist organizations such as IBUKA. (IBUKA means “Forgive Not”).

Who would really force Rwandan Refugees to go back home while more than 10,000 (ten thousand) Rwandans have very recently crossed to the neighbouring Burundi? Refer to ‘Agence Burundaise de Presse’ of 9 February 2006. As we are writing now, Rwandans Asylums Seekers are still crossing borders to countries including Malawi. We believe Karonga Transit Shelter can provide details.

Isn’t it questionable for the President of Rwanda to declare in the interview by the journalist Francois Soudan, of ‘ The Jeune Afrique, Intelligent’ No. 2351 that “…Rwanda is too small for its population and that those who return from exile are mostly peace disturbers…” In the same interview he compared Rwanda with a glass of water in which one cannot poll more water once it is full.

The Rwandan government should cease the allegations that the Rwandan population is fleeing hunger or Gacaca traditional courts.
How can a population flee hunger to a country where their citizens are equally hungry? Burundi has declared the state of emergency in some of its Provinces, but despite the food situation, Rwandans refugees are still crossing into Burundi.
As far as Gacaca courts are concerned, in international public law, one would expect the crimes of genocide to be tried by the court or a jury of the gurus in the legal field, if justice is to be arrived at, bearing in mind the likely serious sentence, which follows the conviction. It is regrettably however noted that such justice was laid in hands of ordinary peasants politically selected on the grounds of being partisans to RPF discriminative ideology.
A scandalous example would be the case of the Belgian Catholic Priest (Guy Theunis) whom Gacaca classified into Category one of Genocide Crimes, but who was later on cleared by the same Rwandan Government on simple talks between Foreign Affairs ministers of the 2 countries. He is now free in his country.

Given all the above, we strongly urge the Malawi Government and other interested Non-Governmental Organisations to denounce/dismiss the conspiracy by the Rwandan government to repatriate Rwandan Refugees and Asylum Seekers by force.

Thank you.

On behalf of the Rwandan Community living in Malawi,

Nazar Bikorabagabo Delphine Bahati Frodouard Nsabimana Egide Manzi

CC: His Excellency the President of the Republic of Malawi

The Chairperson of the African Union

The Minister of Information and Tourism, Lilongwe

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Malawi

The Minister of Homes Affairs and Internal Security, Malawi

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva

The Representative of UNHCR Malawi

The Representative of UNDP, Malawi

The Chief Immigration Officer, Malawi

The Representative of European Union in Malawi

The Ambassador of USA, Lilongwe

The Ambassador of Germany in Malawi

The Ambassador of Zimbabwe
The Ambassador of Mozambique
The Ambassador of Tanzania
The Ambassador of Zambia
Amnesty International
The Human Rights Watch
The International Crisis Group, Nairobi
Sant’Egidio, Rome
The International Migration Organisation

The ICRC, Geneva

The Archbishop the Catholic Church in Malawi

The Chairperson of MHRC

The Jesuit Refugee Service

Ligue des Droits de la personne dans la region des Grands lacs africains (LDGL), Kigali

Tuesday February 14, 2006 - 10:42pm (CET)


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