In a statement released on June 22, 2023, Rwanda pointed out that the report affirms the grave threat posed by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a genocidal militia backed by Kinshasa, and highlights their increased capacity to jeopardize Rwanda’s security.
The report further reveals the financial support, weaponry, and political cover provided to the FDLR by the government of the DRC. It also acknowledges that the FDLR has been fighting alongside the Congolese armed forces (FARDC), which have repeatedly violated Rwandan territory over the past year.
Rwanda’s statement highlights that the UN Group of Experts’ report heavily relies on questionable evidence and unreliable sources that perpetuate the false narrative blaming Rwanda for the insecurity and internal problems in the DRC.
Besides, Rwanda said that the report fails to include Rwanda’s responses to the accusations against the Rwanda Defence Force where the sources used by the UN Group of Experts include the DRC Government, former combatants, anti-Rwanda Congolese civil society campaigners, and current members of illegal armed groups, including elements of the so-called "Wazalendo" coalition allied with the FARDC.
Rwanda asserts that the report disregards the ongoing regional peace efforts, where the United Nations plays a supporting role, and fails to acknowledge the documented efforts by the DRC to obstruct the Nairobi and Luanda processes, including the work of the East African Community Regional Force deployed in the eastern DRC. The report also overlooks multiple violations against Rwanda’s territorial integrity and the DRC’s potential path toward all-out war.
Rwanda’s statement expresses concern that the report downplays the risk of ethnic cleansing targeting Congolese Tutsi communities and shockingly blames the victims for their own suffering. This contradicts the findings of the UN and other organizations, echoing the rhetoric of genocide deniers and ideologues. Rwanda emphasizes that these assertions contradict the testimonies of numerous Congolese refugees who have been compelled to flee to neighboring countries, including Rwanda, over the past two decades.
Additionally, Rwanda clarifies that the report inexplicably fails to mention the statements made by the UN Special Adviser on Genocide Prevention in November 2022 and January 2023, in which the adviser expressed alarm over the killings of Tutsi in the DRC and warned of the potential for genocide if steps are not taken to protect the targeted communities.
The statement from Rwanda regrets that the UN Group of Experts continues to perpetuate dangerous distortions and fabrications that obscure the root causes and realities of the conflict in the eastern DRC. This not only prolongs the conflict but also endangers the lives of millions of people in the region while perpetuating insecurity and threats along Rwanda’s border.
Rwanda asserts that it will maintain reinforced defensive and preventive measures to safeguard its airspace and borders, and to counter any spillover from armed groups, ensuring total security for its territory and people. The statement reiterates Rwanda’s commitment to working within regional mechanisms, particularly the Nairobi and Luanda processes, to contribute to stability in the Great Lakes Region.