The Crisis in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has recently escalated to the point where a major city of an estimated one million inhabitants has been taken by the Rwandan-backed M23 rebels. Hundreds of thousands of Congolese in the North Kivu province have been rendered homeless and displaced due to the Rwandan-backed rebel movement. OXFAM reports that "Congolese are suffering violent abuse on a massive scale – including rape, kidnap and murder."
The response from the international community has not been commensurate with the dire conditions faced by the Congolese people. In spite of several United Nations (UN) studies that document the source of the instability and the role that Congo's neighbor, Rwanda has played in arming, training and financing the destructive M23 rebel movement inside the Congo, the response from the international community has been tepid at best and equivocal at worst.
Immediate and robust diplomatic action is required at the international level particularly at the United Nations and specifically by the United States, arguably the strongest supporter of Rwanda in the global community. The recently published UN Group of Experts report documents clearly the role that Rwanda and Uganda are playing in directing the M23 rebel movement. British Foreign Secretary William Hague and International Development Secretary Justine Greening said "We judge the overall body of evidence of Rwandan involvement with M23 in the DRC to be credible and compelling.”
In light of the UN report, the UN Security Council’s own resolution calls for decisive action. Section 8 of Resolution 2076 says “Expresses its intention to consider additional targeted sanctions, in accordance with the criteria set out in resolution 1857 (2008), against the leadership of the M23 and [those providing external support to the M23] and those acting in violation of the sanctions regime and the arms embargo, and calls on all Member States to submit, as a matter of urgency, listing proposals to the 1533 Committee;”
Take Action Now!
Send a tweet to Ambassador Rice at @ambassadorrice or call the US Mission to the United Nations at 212-415-4404 and demand that the US take decisive action against Rwanda at the UN.
1. Rwanda should be explicitly named in resolutions calling for an end to the aggression against the Congolese people by the Rwanda-backed rebels.
2. Sanctions should be imposed on high-level officials in the Rwandan government who are backing the M23 such as Minister of Defense James Kabarebe and Chief of Staff, Charles Kayonga.
3. Rwanda should be sanctioned for violation of UN embargo on supplying weapons to armed militias in the DRC.
Demand for US/UN Action Grows
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By Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
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