Tag Archives: Rwanda

MEPs: DRC conflict escalation concerns

Strasbourg 24.11.2022 Forced displacement of people as a result of escalating conflict in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). (Image above: European Parliament, Strasbourg)

MEPs express their deep concern regarding the escalation of violence and the alarming and deteriorating humanitarian situation in the DRC, caused by the armed conflicts in the eastern provinces. They denounce the full range of threats and human rights violations and abuses, particularly experienced by women and girls, who are often specifically targeted.

Parliament strongly condemns the ongoing brutal aggressions of armed groups and calls for the M23 armed group to withdraw from its positions and disarm.

They urge Rwanda not to support M23 rebels, and all governments concerned to ensure that any political settlement does not include an amnesty for those responsible for grave international crimes.The international community should take concrete actions to stop the ongoing violence by supporting the regional mediation Luanda process, MEPs add.

The resolution calls for the EU and its member states to impose sanctions against perpetrators of human rights violations in Eastern DRC, provide humanitarian aid to the region, and continue increasing its development and humanitarian funding for the country.

More than 232 000 civilians have been displaced in the Eastern Region, and 2.4 million Congolese children under the age of five suffer from global acute malnutrition. An estimated 7.5 million people are currently in need of assistance with no access to water and sanitation.

The resolution was adopted by 546 votes in favour, 2 against with 24 abstentions. For further details, the full version will be available here. (24/11/22)

Gorilla Day Kwita Izina

Brussels 24.09.2021 Today is World Gorilla Day Kwita Izina, Rwanda’s annual gorilla naming ceremony will take place. Kwita Izina, an initiative of the Rwandan government, is an exciting time for Fossey Fund staff and our devoted followers, who are going to celebrate the baby mountain gorillas born to the gorilla families of Volcanoes National Park.

https://twitter.com/wwf_uk/status/1441311595208929284?s=20

At this year’s celebration, 24 baby gorillas will be named — including nine baby gorillas born into families that are protected and monitored by the Fossey Fund.

Who names these babies? Each year the Rwanda Development Board selects honored guests to choose the names. During last year’s naming ceremony, which was help virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the 24 baby gorillas were named by trackers, rangers and other frontline conservationists, with a few named by members of England’s Arsenal football club. This year’s honorees have not yet been announced.

“As the world battles the devastating effects of COVID-19, I would like to draw attention on this important day, and to reflect on how the pandemic has affected gorillas with whom we share 98.4% of our DNA. All four gorilla subspecies are endangered or critically endangered; their survival threatened by human activities and intensive agriculture that lead to habitat loss, poaching, bushmeat trade and disease. These include mountain gorillas and eastern lowland gorillas found in east and central Africa and western lowland and cross river gorillas found in central and west Africa” writes Philip Lymbery the Chair of the President of Eurogroup for Animals.

However the poaching remains a threat, and to reduce it, Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) also works closely with coffee farmers who we support to help maintain a steady market and fair price. By training farmers to grow coffee using sustainable agricultural methods, which results in a greater yield and a higher quality of coffee this target can be achieved.

The conservation Fund offers above market prices for their premium and specialty coffee, which is sold to tourists and conscious consumers who wish to support gorillas and purchase ethical, sustainable quality products. During this pandemic, international sales of coffee have enabled Bwindi farmers to earn a living in the absence of tourism, helping to mitigate the threats to mountain gorillas.

Nyiragongo volcano: no victims reported

Brussels 23.05.2021 The volcanic eruption seems to have subsided, according to the Goma Volcano Observatory, which monitors the volcano. Authorities in the city activated an evacuation plan as a precaution.
The volcano’s last major eruption in 2002 killed 250 people and displaced thousands.
Goma is on the edge of Lake Kivu on the Democratic Republic of Congo’s border with Rwanda. The current urban area population of Goma in 2021 is 670,000, according to a projection by the UN, World Bank and others.

Peyre-Costa from Norwegian Refugee Council, who is residing in Goma, said a number of nongovernmental organisations in the region believe Goma’s population is closer to one million.

Volcanologist Honore Chiraba of the Goma Volcano Observatory told CNN there are two fractures in the volcano. Chiraba is following the volcanic activity closely with the governor of North Kivu, the province where the city of Goma is located. “The lava is flowing but not very fast,” Chiraba said. “At this stage we don’t think anyone is injured but we can’t know for sure.”

Kabuga transfer to Arusha UN Court

High-level Rwandan genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga,84, can be handed over to a United Nations tribunal for trial, a top French court ruled on 30 Septembere.

Kabuga is suspected of playing a major role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which hundreds of thousands of Tutsi Rwandans were murdered by a Hutu uprising. Prosecutors accuse Kabuga of chairing a radio station that helped orchestrate the genocide, as well as working to create and fund a genocidal militia in the capital, Kigali. He used to be a wealthy businessman at the time.

The 84-year-old had evaded justice for 25 years but was caught outside Paris in May of this year.

The Court of Cassation in Paris upheld an order from a lower court to send Kabuga to a UN tribunal on charges including genocide, persecution and extermination.

He will now stand trial at the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) based in Arusha, Tanzania. The MICT took charge of prosecuting Rwandan genocide suspects after the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) formally closed in 2015.

His lawyers had argued that he should not be extradited due to his frail health and claimed that the UN tribunal would be biased.

Nantes: Rwanda migrant admits arson

The Rwanda irregular migrant has been arrested again, he had previously been questioned and then released after the July 18 blaze that destroyed the precious baroque organ, shattered stained glass windows, and blackened the insides of the Cathedral of St.Peter and St.Paul of the French city of Nantes.

The 39-year-old, a failed asylum-seeker from Rwanda who has lived in France for several years, was detained again on July 25 after laboratory analysis determined that arson was the highly likely cause of the cirminal blaze, the local prosecutor’s office said.

The man had previously been questioned and then released after the July 18 blaze that destroyed the organ, shattered stained glass windows, and blackened the insides of the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul of the western French city of Nantes.

«My client is cooperating,» lawyer Quentin Chabert said at a news conference in Nantes, without speculating what prompted the attempt to burn down the Cathedral,and destroyed precious orgue and other artefacts.

«Obviously it was a relief for him to show, as he would say, his repentance. As a believer, it’s important for him to show this effort,» he said.

BFMTV, citing a source close to the investigation, said that the defendant had been in France since 2012 and was obliged to leave French territory at the end of 2019. His residence permit expired in March of this year and became invalid, and he has exhausted all the legal procedures to stay in France further. Before the fire in the cathedral, the perpetrator had no record of law violations.

The rector of the Nantes cathedral, Hubert Champenois, admitted that he fully trusted the accused, who served in the church for several years.

The version of deliberate arson was a priority from the early stage of the investigation.The fires appeared simultaneously in three places at a considerable distance from each other. Upon closer examination of the consequences of the fire, experts found traces of a flammable liquid.

The accused was the last one to leave the cathedral before the fire and lock its doors. During the first interrogation by the police, he was confused in testimony regarding his future pastime and was the main suspect.

The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul is the cathedral of the Diocese of Nantes, the largest Gothic church in historic Brittany and one of the largest in France, just 6 meters below Notre Dame Cathedral, and surpasses it in the height of the nave under the arches.

The cathedral was built for almost five hundred years – from 1434 to 1891. This is the fourth church in this place. It was preceded by an early Christian Roman chapel at Namnet (3rd century), a 6th-century cathedral, and an 11th-century Romanesque cathedral.

The ‘grand orgue’, the masterpiece of Jacques Giradet, was constructed in 1620, escapting fire in 1972, has been destroyed to ashes this time.

The instrument of the master Jacques Girardet was equipped with 27 stops. Over the centuries, the organ has been in constant evolution while surviving the upheavals of French history. It has undergone five restorations, bringing their number to 74, or 5,500 pipes.

Rwanda: fugitive Bizimana pronounced dead

Serge Brammertz said fugitive Augustin Bizimana, who was indicted on 13 charges including genocide, murder and rape, is believed to have died in Pointe Noire, in the Republic of the Congo in 2000. His remains were identified by DNA testing.

Brammertz is prosecutor of a successor U.N. court with dual offices in Arusha, Tanzania and The Hague, Netherlands, that continues to function for remaining suspects and appeals.

“Bizimana was alleged to be responsible for the murders of former Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian United Nations peacekeepers, and for the murder of Tutsi civilians” in five Rwandan regions, Brammertz said in a statement.

The announcement of Bizimana’s death follows the arrest in Paris last week of Felicien Kabuga, another of a handful of prominent suspects from the Rwandan genocide who had been on the run for more than two decades.

“The key lesson from the death of Augustin Bizimana is that the world should give timely justice,” said Naphtal Ahishakiye, executive secretary of genocide survivors’ organisation Ibuka.

“The suspects should be brought to justice before their deaths, also to avoid survivors dying before hearing the cases of those who killed their loved ones.”

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda conducted 50 trials before closing its doors in 2015. Brammertz is prosecutor of a successor U.N. court with dual offices in Arusha, Tanzania and The Hague, Netherlands, that continues to function for remaining suspects and appeals.

The statement said prosecutors had conducted DNA analysis “late last year” on remains that had earlier been recovered from a grave site in Pointe Noire.

Rwanda genocide fugitive arrested in Paris

Genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga (84), who is accused of funding Rwanda militias that massacred about 800,000 people, was arrested on May 16 near Paris after being 26 years at large, the French justice ministry said.

Rwanda’s most-wanted man ($5 million U.S. reward), was living under a false identity in a flat in Asnieres-Sur-Seine, according to French authorities.

French gendarmes arrested him at 0530 GMT on May 16, the Ministry said.

Kabuga was indicted in 1997 on seven criminal counts including genocide, complicity in genocide and incitement to commit genocide, all in relation to the 1994 Rwanda tragic events, according to the UN-established International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT).

Rwanda’s two main ethnic groups are the Hutus and Tutsis entered a civil war in the early 1990s.

A Hutu businessman, Kabuga is accused of funding the militias that massacred some 800,000 Tutsis and their moderate Hutu allies during 100 days in 1994.

Since 1994, Felicien Kabuga, known to have been the financier of Rwanda genocide, had with impunity stayed in Germany, Belgium, Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, or Switzerland,” the French ministry statement said.

Kabuga’s arrest opens the juridical procedure at Paris Appeal Court and later expected to be transferred to the custody of the international criminal court in the Hague, Netherlands and Arusha, Tanzania.

In due procedures the fugitive would then be brought before UN judges, an IRMCT spokesman said.

EU €34.275M aid to Great Lakes region

This week the European Commission has announced €34.275 million in humanitarian funding to help the most vulnerable people in the Great Lakes region in Africa. The aid will mainly help address urgent humanitarian needs in the Democratic Republic of Congo and provide continued support to Burundian refugees in the region.

Food insecurity in the Democratic Republic of Congo is worsening the humanitarian situation. We are stepping up support, including in the eastern conflict-torn part of the country, affected by the Ebola epidemic. We also maintain our solidarity with Burundian refugees in the region. Our new aid package will provide emergency healthcare, improve hygiene conditions and access to clean water, provide protection, and give education to children caught in these crises,” said Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management and EU Ebola coordinator.

The bulk of the funding announced supports humanitarian measures in the Democratic Republic of Congo (€29.375 million) and refugees from Burundi in Tanzania and Rwanda (€4.3 million). The remaining €600,000 are allocated to UN agencies in Burundi and to help refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo in neighbouring Republic of Congo.

Africa’s Great Lakes region continues to face armed conflicts and insecurity, leading to forced displacements, food shortages and malnutrition, and recurrent outbreaks of epidemics and natural disasters. The funding announced today brings the overall amount of EU humanitarian aid in the Great Lakes region in 2019 to €69.74 million.

EU allocates €3.5 million to Ebola emergency

As the deadly Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo continues, with the first cases emerging in neighbouring Uganda this week, the EU has announced further emergency funding of €3.5 million, of which €2.5 million is for Uganda and €1 million for South Sudan. The aid package will strengthen rapid detection and reaction to Ebola cases. Today’s funding comes on top of the EU support for the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of Congo and prevention and preparedness actions in Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi.

Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis management and EU Ebola coordinator said: “We are doing all we can to save lives and stop further Ebola cases. Today, our main task is not only to help the Democratic Republic of Congo, but also assist neighbouring countries like Uganda. Here, our funding is helping with surveillance, work with local communities, and boosting local capacities for these countries to take timely and effective action. We are committed to continue our assistance to bring this outbreak to an end, for as long as it takes.”

In co-ordination with other international donors and in line with the World Health Organization’s Regional Strategic Ebola Response and Preparedness Plans, EU funding is contributing towards measures that include mainly:

  • the strengthening of disease surveillance at community level, health facilities and points of entry (border crossing points);
  • the training of rapid response teams;
  • the training of healthcare and frontline workers on contact-tracing, infection prevention and control measures, psychosocial support, and safe and dignified burials;
  • local capacity-building by equipping medical treatment facilities; and
  • community awareness-raising.

EU humanitarian health experts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and the region are coordinating the response and they are in daily contact with the health authorities in these countries, the World Health Organization and operational partners.

Africa-Europe Forum in Vienna

Vienna, Austria. At Africa-Europe Forum, hosted jointly by the Austrian Presidency of the EU, notably by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, and Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and the Chairman of the African Union for 2018, President Jean-Claude Juncker reiterated Europe’s ambition for a true and fair partnership among equals between Africa and Europe. President Juncker presented the first results of the Africa–Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs, just three months after its launch. The Alliance aims to deepen the economic and trade relations between the two continents, in order to create sustainable jobs and growth.

“Europe and Africa share a long history and a bright future. This is why I proposed a new Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs, to help attract both European and African investment and create 10 million jobs in Africa over the next five years. Translating words into action, we have already taken a series of measures to bring our ambitions to life”  European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said.

The president is accompanied to the high-level Forum by vice-president Andrus Ansip, Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica, Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan and Commissioner for Digital Economy Mariya Gabriel.

The Africa-Europe Alliance, announced by president Juncker in his 2018 State of the Union Address, focuses on four key areas. Three months on, work is already well underway in each.

The EU External Investment Plan aims to raise significant sustainable investments in Africa and European neighbourhood countries by 2020. From the €44 billion announced, programmes already in the pipeline will mobilise €37.1 billion of investments.

New projects were announced today:

  • An EU guarantee (NASIRA Risk-Sharing Facility), the first of its kind under the EU External Investment Plan, will use worth €75 million of EU funds to leverage up to €750 million of investments for entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa and the EU’s southern neighbourhood. Alone this is expected to create 800,000 jobs and benefit those who usually struggle to access affordable loans, such as small and medium sized enterprises, internally displaced people, refugees, returnees, women and young people.
  • A new Agri-Business Capital fund worth €45 million will support smallholder agriculture by increasing access to finance for individual smallholder farmers. It is expected to attract more than €200 million in investments and benefit as many as 700,000 households in rural areas.
  • To support the EU’s southern neighbourhood, a programme worth €61.1 million will supportsolar power plants in Morocco and €46.8 million will be invested in depolluting the Kitchener Drain in the Nile Delta region in Egypt.
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