Rwandan Refugees to Lose Ration Cards
Refugees according to their ration cards but considered “odd refugees out” by government.
The international community and UNHCR should take heed of the messages sent by the current Rwandan government through cracking down on political opposition leaders, long and unjust sentences, and ambiguous laws to silence freedoms. They should also consider reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders and others warning of the consequences of their decision to strip protection from Rwandan refugees who fled their country before December 1998.
Nearly 18 years ago the Rwandan genocide led to a massive exodus of people from the country, many of whom fled to Kenya and were recognized as refugees by UNHCR according to the 1951 Convention on Refugees. Now, UNHCR has recommended that governments should revoke the refugee status for this group, who should be encouraged to return to Rwanda. In Kenya, the worst morning is awaiting those who are still alive when the cessation clause comes into effect on June 30th, 2013, revoking their Refugee Brand “Ration Card” that allows them to queue up for food just as Somali, Burundi, Sudanese, Ethiopians, Zimbabwean, Tanzania, Congolese, Ugandans, Iraqis and refugees of other nationalities do.
Rwandans’ view of refugee life.
Several Rwandan refugees in Kakuma have indicated that their lives in the camp are not the best and that their stay in the camp is only a stop over to their hoped for peaceful and democratic changes in their home country. However, it seems UNHCR fatigue has yielded to Rwanda’s request to cancel the refugees’ status.
“We know we are survivals of the bad politics that have troubled Rwanda ever since. It is not about who is in power, it’s about our security issues back home and even here. Unfortunately we do not decide on our fate but a Rwandan requested ‘Cessation Clause’ will determine.” Mutsinzi Elias said.
When you look into their statements they point fingers at UNHCR not to have done enough to protect them in order not to see again the deaths, cries, threats etc…that they experienced in the past. “UNHCR should change participating countries games playing refugees as balls. What happened to us is countless and needs to be understood. Our women were raped in broad light, parents and children killed, sons and daughters were forced to join the army and we never saw them again, we left everything to save our own lives and ultimately found ourselves in the camp,” Sibomana Aimable a 50 year old Rwandan refugee said in speaking with a Kanere journalist.
“Every where people die. Nature can not be printed to take its course, but in Rwanda man kill man. We die before our days and people are watching. Our warnings are not accepted but after the deaths soft and strong speeches are uttered Never Again. The genocide started in Rwanda, crossed the boarder to Congo and perhaps the supervisor is in his last method to complete his work.” JM Ntarwanda said.
KANERE visited the Rwandan refugees’ community in Kakuma, and learnt that the refugees from this community were traumatized and living in fear as they wait for June 30th 2013 when UNHCR will revoke their refugee status. “Please, we appeal to our friends not to accept any politician’s apology when things have gone wrong in Rwanda. There could be no genuine reason for Rwanda to initiate the cessation to us. Animal in the forest is protected but we Rwandans even when we flee for our lives we are handed over to one who is hunting us!” said Jean Biragoye, an NGO staff at Kakuma
“All refugees are equal but some of them are more than equal, other refugees in the camp are taken for safer third countries, but it is a taboo to Rwandans here in the camp. Those who read these words take a pen and write the books for the generation to come.” Leah Bugingo.
There have been reports of deaths of Rwandan refugees in the region and abroad. Refugees say that the Rwandan government is behind these killings. International Agencies had warned refugees and requested them to be vigilant that Kigali had planned to harm them in the UK. It is very obvious that if refugees are not safe at this level they will not be safer when forced to go back home.
Rwanda’s international face today.
According to an IMF report, Rwanda has gained famous economic growth of 8%. Foreigners are attracted when they are driven past clean and tall towers that characterize the Kigali of today. Nearly everybody whose home is not Rwanda will believe these glittering glass fronts and new and attractive roads.
The owners of the country in their deepest hearts shed tears. They always traumatized when foreigners enjoy a short stay and praise the leaders for reconciling the tribes torn apart tribes and reaching this stunning development. The use of force by the current government has taken over the inner voluntary party of the brain and fear and self denial became the humble manner of the majority of Rwandan people. The leaders praise their achievement when the citizens are hungry for truth, respect, and freedoms for any common person.
Currently young men and women, prisoners, and destitute children are forced into the army to go and support the M23 forces in Congo. A UN report has revealed this although Rwanda, as it has always done in the past, has denied the involvement. Already here are some young men who escaped the recruitment to destabilize, loot resources and kill innocent Congolese.
Appeal to international community.
The Rwandese agony is known first by Rwandans who suffered years of dictatorship. Refugees know how life in the camp hurts and they know the best time to repatriate. There would be no need to force them to go back home if there had been fundamental change in Rwanda’s political space. To solve Rwanda’s problems, it would be better if Kigali is told, taught, supported, and monitored to open doors to the political space and respect of human rights.
Arrogant words of the Kigali politicians against Human Rights workers and opposition leaders do not only create fear among refugees but remind them what this government did to them. There has been no healing but the Cessation Clause will be as bad as not sending armies to stop the genocide in 1994.