Human Rights Watch published a press release on Monday claiming involvement of Rwandan military officials in the mutiny of Bosco Ntaganda in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. On Monday afternoon, RNW spoke with Rwanda’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Imaculee Uwanyiligira, to hear why she believes the international human rights organization is “fuelling an already grave security situation by such false reports”.
Human Rights Watch claims that Rwandan military have allowed Bosco Ntaganda to enter Rwanda and that local military officials have supplied him with new recruits, weapons and ammunition.
Research conducted by HRW in the region last month also revealed that an estimated 200 to 300 Rwandese men were recruited – sometimes with force – by Rwandan army officials in order to support Ntaganda’s mutiny in Rutshuru territory.
These declarations were released one week after the divulgement of a confidential UN report stating that Rwandan citizens were recruited and trained to fight in support of the army mutineers.
Rwanda’s ambassador to the Netherlands believes the two documents are in fact stating the same thing. Above all, Ambassador Uwanyiligira denies any involvement by Rwanda in the DRC. Referring to the HRW press release and the UN report, she says: “One is quoting the other. And neither one has proof – I would be interested to see that proof.
Lack of proof and veracity
The former report of the UN was also lacking in its proofs and veracity. My government is not involved in the DRC. We have been exchanging with the DRC envoys, we have re-established diplomatic relations and we enjoy good relations with the country. Therefore, we are very worried by the report of HRW.”
“It’s sad that there is continuous instability in the region,” notes the ambassador. Clashes between the Congolese army and the mutineers have pushed thousands of frightened villagers to flee the DRC for the safety of neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda.
Lack of stability
Ambassador Uwanyiligira says: “DRC is a next-door neighbour to us and lack of stability affects us as well. We are recipient to a number of refugees in the region. We are affected directly by what happens in eastern DRC.”
She also believes the UN and HRW are pointing fingers at the wrong people. "The UN itself – regardless of the large installation of a large peace-keeping force since 2000 – has failed to stem off this. We need to see action by the UN on the ground instead of passing the buck.”