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Nearly 2,500 Burundian refugees
cross DR Congo border for Rwanda

BUKAVU, DR Congo (Xinhua) -- Nearly 2,500 Burundian refugees from a transit camp in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Wednesday crossed the border to arrive in Rwanda, according to DRC border authorities.

An official from the DRC’s migration service said the Burundian refugees, previously settled in Kamanyola in South Kivu, are currently in Bugarama, Rwanda.

The UN mission in the DRC claimed to have escorted these Burundian refugees to the border with Rwanda for the crossing.

“They told us that they wanted to leave the Kamanyola transit camp in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and asked the MONUSCO force to accompany them to the border with Rwanda, which we accepted in accordance with our mandate of protection of civilians on Congolese soil,” said MONUSCO spokesperson in the DRC, Florence Marshall.

In a statement on Wednesday, an adviser to DRC President Joseph Kabila said Rwanda had agreed to host these refugees on its territory.

“They were not refugees but asylum seekers, and they did not escape. The reality is that the Congolese government has decided not to grant them asylum following their refusal to comply with certain requirements on this matter,” the adviser said.

The presence of these Burundian refugees in the province of South-Kivu has been at the root of several controversies between the authorities and the local population. The Burundian government has also repeatedly requested their extradition to Burundi.

According to sources close to the UN Mission in the DRC, these Burundian refugees had decided to go to Rwanda for fear of being forcibly extradited to Burundi by the DRC authorities.



Rwanda may not continue cooperation with Human Rights Watch: official

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rwanda is not ready to renew cooperation agreements with Human Rights Watch (HRW) if it continues ignoring the government’s stance on the country’s human rights situation, a government official said Tuesday.

Providence Umurungi, head of the International Justice and Judicial Cooperation Department at Rwanda’s Ministry of Justice, said the HRW, an international human rights watchdog, had breached related terms of agreements. He required the HRW to include the Rwandan government’s statements about the country’s human rights situation in its reports.

“They rush to publish reports that tarnish the image of the country, ignoring Rwanda’s efforts in improving human rights,” she said.

Even though the watchdog was not satisfied with the Rwandan government’s explanations about their findings, it should include them in their reports under the agreements, said Umurungi.

But the HRW has not done so over the past years, she said, adding that fabricated reports have been published without evidence instead.

Ever since the latest agreement expired, the HRW has not sought its renewal, she added.

She further suggested that the HRW’s agenda in Rwanda is not about human rights.

The latest agreement between Rwanda and the HRW was signed in June 2016 and expired in March 2017.

The HRW has repeatedly accused Rwanda of human rights violations. An HRW report released last October said there were unlawful detentions in military camps and widespread and systematic tortures by the military in Rwanda.

When responding to the reports, Rwandan Justice Minister Johnston Busingye accused the HRW of “recycling old baseless allegations for which they have no credible evidence.”


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