Congo (Kinshasa): USCR Report, 6/23/97

Congo (Kinshasa): USCR Report, 6/23/97

Congo (Kinshasa): USCR Report, 1

Date distributed (ymd): 970623

Document reposted by APIC

Note: This posting and the next contain excerpts from the USCR report. The full report is available from U.S. Committee for Refugees, 1717 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 701, Washington, DC 20036; Tel: (202) 347-3507; Fax: (202) 347-3418; E-mail:


USCR Site Visit Notes (excerpts, part 1)

Site Visit to Eastern Congo/Zaire:

Analysis of Humanitarian and Political Issues

April 10 to May 10, 1997

by Eleanor Bedford

Central Africa Policy Consultant

U.S. Committee for Refugees

Published June 10, 1997


The purpose of these USCR Site Visit Notes is to provide timely information, analysis, and recommendations regarding issues affecting Congo/Zaire, particularly the eastern half of the country. ... These USCR Site Visit Notes assume that readers possess a working knowledge of the situation in Congo/Zaire and recent events there.

Site Visit Overview

USCR conducted a site visit in eastern Zaire during April 10 to May 10, 1997. The purpose was to examine issues pertaining to the plight of war-affected and internally displaced Zairians and Rwandan refugees.

The mission focused on the regions of North Kivu, South Kivu, as well as a brief assessment of the Kisangani area in mid-April. USCR interviewed more than 100 persons on the ground, including local Zairians, leading members of civil society, international aid workers, and UN officials. ...

Because of the range of issues in Congo/Zaire and the pending victory (at that time) of the rebel Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL), USCR's site visit attempted to pay special attention to the internal workings of the ADFL, which now dominates the country's new government and the course of future events.

1 > ADFL Administration

1.1. Three Power Structures

As the rebel Alliance captured territory in late 1996 and early 1997, it established three parallel power structures in areas under its control: civilian government officials, ADFL political authorities, and the military. These three structures are key to understanding the current dynamics on the ground in eastern Zaire.

As ADFL troops swept westward, the Alliance's ability to govern did not keep pace with the speed of territorial conquests. During USCR's site visit in April-May, little communication or coordination appeared to exist among the three power structures. With the fall of Kinshasa on May 17 and the formation of the new ADFL-dominated government, led by Laurent Kabila, administrative patterns established deep in ADFL territory in eastern Zaire since last November may provide useful indicators of the shape of things to come in the new Democratic Republic of Congo.

1.2. First Branch--Civilian Government Officials

The ADFL has, thus far, retained local government structures. Most mid-level bureaucrats under Mobutu have been reinstated. The Alliance appointed governors in Goma and Bukavu. In Kisangani, the Alliance permitted popular elections of local officials by a show of hands. The governor in Kisangani is the regional President of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), the political party of opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi. Kisangani's vice governor is a popular university professor.

In Goma and Bukavu, the unelected civilian government officials possess little power. In Kisangani, the elected governor enjoys wide support and appears to cater primarily to his constituency rather than to the Alliance. In mid-April, for example, Kisangani's governor blocked for several days a high-level ADFL decision to begin the repatriation airlift of Rwandan refugees. According to sources on the ground, the governor's action to delay the repatriation was partly due to his belief that the Alliance had failed to consult him about the repatriation operation.

1.3. Second Branch--ADFL Political Authorities

The ADFL's political officials constitute the second branch of power on the ground in Cong/Zaire. These officials act as local representatives of the political branch of the ADFL. Although they are presumed to have direct links to senior Alliance officials, it appears that this is not always the case. Some Alliance political officials readily admit they possess limited authority. This poses a problem for international aid agencies that must rely on these officials to obtain clearances for humanitarian operations, resolve bureaucratic problems, etc.

1.4. Third Branch--ADFL Military

At the local level, the Alliance military often appears to be the only entity with real authority and the ability to make final decisions. Early in the civil war, identifiable military commanders were assigned to Goma, Bukavu, and Kisangani. As the Alliance offensive rapidly advanced, however, top military commanders moved westward and lines of authority in the eastern provinces became unclear. NGOs in eastern Zaire no longer know which specific military officials to address regarding operational and humanitarian problems, such as abuses against civilians, disappearance of a local staff member, military restrictions on humanitarian operations, etc. ...

2 > ADFL Military

2.1. Local Perceptions of Military

Zairians in North and South Kivu told USCR that they remain pleased that they can now walk freely about town without fear of harassment by Mobutu's Armed Forces of Zaire (FAZ). Several Zairians noted, for example, that they regularly wear wrist watches for the first time because the constant threat of extortion is gone.

Since mid-April, however, a marked decline in troop discipline has occurred, according to locals and expatriates. In Goma, troop misconduct coincided with Kabila's relocation to Lumbumbashi in April. Soldiers have reportedly remained unpaid and have increasingly resorted to bribes, petty corruption, and settling personal scores. Many eastern Zairians expressed fear that top Alliance officials are preoccupied with power in Kinshasa, and that with senior military commanders and their best troops deployed westward, soldiers in the east are left to operate outside strict lines of command, without proper controls. Kabila's control over his troops is questionable.

A widespread perception exists among Zairians that power within the Alliance military remains concentrated in the hands of the Tutsi minority, specifically the Banyamulenge who formed the core of Kabila's fighting force in 1996. This perception has aggravated ethnic tensions.

2.2. Tensions Within ADFL Military--Lack of Cohesion

Soldiers from different regions or ethnic groups (Katangese, Banyamulenge, Kasindians, etc.) are not well integrated within the ADFL military and tend to operate independently of each other. This creates a serious potential for infighting among Alliance forces. Some Zairians told USCR that their young men continued to enlist in the ADFL military by the thousands in order to support Kabila in the short-run and to "overthrow the Banyamulenge" in the long-run. ...

2.3. Security Concerns of ADFL Troops, Rwandan Refugees, and Local Zairians

Less than a year ago, a campaign of "ethnic cleansing" by the FAZ, Zairian Hutu militia, the Interahamwe, and the former Rwandan military (ex-FAR) expelled virtually all Tutsi from North Kivu and threatened to push Banyamulenge Tutsi from South Kivu. In the aftermath of the civil war, the prevailing psychology on the ground is that "the tables have turned."

In North Kivu, many Alliance soldiers seem intent on settling old scores against local Zairian Hutu and Rwandan Hutu refugees. Alliance troops reportedly have killed Hutu militia who were previously involved in "cleansing" Tutsi from eastern Zaire, have burned numerous Hutu villages, and have killed refugees. In South Kivu, Banyamulenge troops appear to be particularly hardline. There is reason to believe they are systematically attempting to eliminate many refugees before they can return to Rwanda (see sections 3 and 4).

According to local Zairians and aid agencies, pockets of Interahamwe and ex-FAR persist among the refugees dispersed throughout eastern Zaire. ADFL soldiers continue to view them as a military threat and tend to regard Zairians who help refugees as "collaborating" with the enemy. Alliance soldiers have threatened Zairians or attacked Zairian Hutu villages accused of aiding Interahamwe.

While average Zairians in the east continued to voice support for Kabila, many deeply resented Banyamulenge soldiers. Some Zairians insisted that the soldiers constituted a foreign occupation force, although Banyamulenge have lived in Zaire for generations. Several Zairians told USCR that thousands of young men continued to enlist in the ADFL in order to rectify the perceived ethnic imbalance in the Alliance. The majority of current Alliance troops are non-Banyamulenge. Eastern Zairians, however, continue to believe that Banyamulenge wield military power disproportionate to their numbers. ...

3 > Security / Human Rights Issues in Eastern Zaire

3.1. ADFL Security Concerns

Pockets of fighting continue in areas of both North and South Kivu. In North Kivu, Interahamwe and ex-FAR are believed to be concentrated in parts of Masisi zone and Virunga Park. In South Kivu, they are primarily believed to be in the area of Kahuzi Biega Forest, located north of the Bukavu-Shabunda axis. These areas also appear to contain the largest concentrations of remaining Rwandan refugees in North and South Kivu.

3.2. Vastly Disproportionate Response by ADFL Troops

The response of the ADFL military is often vastly disproportionate to the limited security threat posed by armed elements among the refugees. Persistent reports indicate that significant numbers of refugees have been killed by Alliance troops. Areas containing refugees are routinely declared off limits to aid agencies by the Alliance military.

During USCR's mission to South Kivu, Alliance officials blocked relief access along four of five major roads normally used to repatriate refugees. Access changed on a daily basis. Major roads in other areas were also routinely off limits at that time due to prevailing insecurity in the region. ...

It is unclear to aid agencies if access is being denied due to legitimate security concerns or whether it is a pretext for soldiers to commit abuses with impunity. Most aid workers in the area said both factors exist. ...

3.3. Allegations of Atrocities in South Kivu

Serious accusations of abuses by ADFL troops against Rwandan refugees in South Kivu have received less international attention than abuses committed against refugees near Kisangani. Relief workers in Bukavu, South Kivu fear that elements of the Alliance are using humanitarian aid operations as bait to locate and kill refugees in hiding before they reach Rwanda. ...

3.4. Specific Accounts of Abuses in South Kivu

In an account widely publicized by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and further documented by USCR, two expatriate aid workers witnessed skulls, bones, and evidence of mass graves as they conducted an exploratory mission in South Kivu from Bukavu to Shabunda in late March. The trip took two weeks due to road conditions. Local Zairians reported gross violations against refugees in the region. The two-person team was unable to investigate claims of mass graves in the vicinity due to the ADFL "facilitator" who traveled with them. When the two relief workers reached Shabunda on March 29, they were questioned at military headquarters and held overnight under military guard "for their own security." ...

Not all refugees disappear, however, and not all convoys are blocked. More than 60,000 refugees have been repatriated via Bukavu since November 1996. UNHCR workers in South Kivu report several cases in which soldiers have detained refugees and separated women and children from the men, interrogating and beating the latter and later releasing them for repatriation.

3.5. Security Problems in North Kivu

Many of the political and ethnic tensions that have caused security problems in North Kivu since 1992--long before the eruption of the civil war--were still present during USCR's site visit during April-May. Tutsi units within the ADFL military appear to be exacting revenge against local Zairian Hutu militia and against Rwandan Hutu refugees, both of whom participated in the ethnic cleansing of Tutsi from North Kivu during 1995-96. Zairians who assist remaining Rwandan refugees in North Kivu are often viewed as enemy collaborators by many ADFL soldiers.

Conversely, the persistent presence of Interahamwe or other armed elements among Rwandan refugees in North Kivu poses security concerns for Alliance authorities and local Zairian civilians. The aggressive and often indiscriminate response of ADFL soldiers has led to serious human rights abuses against Rwandan Hutu refugees and local Zairian Hutu. Alliance soldiers often fail to distinguish between armed Rwandans, unarmed Rwandans, and local Hutu villagers. Indiscriminate attacks against Hutu villages have displaced thousands of Zairians.

North Kivu is plagued by additional layers of insecurity as well. New tensions exist in Rutshuru between Zairian Tutsi and Hutu who are both returning to the area now that the war is over. Land tenure disputes have arisen. Animosities also linger among ethnic groups in Masisi in the aftermath of four years of violence and population displacement that predate both the Rwandan refugee crisis and the civil war.

3.6. Attack on Mudja, North Kivu

Alliance troops suspect that Zairian Hutu villagers assist Interahamwe and ex-FAR who remain active in the region. Potentially legitimate security concerns, however, frequently degenerate into a pretext for indiscriminate attacks by Alliance troops against Zairian Hutu.

In one incident during USCR's site visit, on April 12 at midday, a group of Alliance soldiers opened fire on the mainly Zairian Hutu village of Mudja, near the Nyiragongo Volcano between Goma and Sake. Some 31 to 38 Zairians were killed in the attack, including an infant in its father's lap. Some 600 to 1,000 families fled to Goma during the following three days, where they received assistance from Catholic missionaries. The uprooted families quickly dispersed throughout Goma, taking refuge with friends and relatives. ...

4 > Rwandan Refugees in Eastern Zaire

4.1. Reality Amid Contradictions

Rarely has a refugee situation captured such intense international attention yet remained so difficult for outsiders to understand. Diplomats, relief workers, and other observers have struggled to sort through the contradictions, and significant information remains unknown.

* The actual size of the Rwandan refugee population in Zaire has long been a matter of uncertainty, and remains in dispute.

*The refugee population in Zaire has included a majority of innocent persons as well as armed elements complicit in genocide.

*The massive repatriation of 650,000 refugees from Goma last November after military attack on their camps is simultaneously regarded as an act of liberation as well as a grievous violation of the Geneva Conventions and international laws against forcible return.

*Refugees trekking across the breadth of Zaire during the past seven months are simultaneously regarded as innocent victims and as hardcore genocidaires running from prosecution.

*The health of Rwandan refugees in Zaire ranges from emaciated and dying to well-fed and fit--both conditions often exist side-by-side within the same group of refuges.

*International relief agencies have undertaken impressive relief operations since November, while consciously trying to avoid recreating camps where refugee leaders could re-exert control.

*ADFL soldiers have hunted and killed Rwandan refugees, yet some 750,000 refugees have safely repatriated from ADFL territory since November.

*Aid workers know that significant numbers of refugees are dead of disease, malnutrition, and massacres, yet no reliable estimates exist.

*Many outside observers assume that Interahamwe and ex-FAR are no longer among the refugees, yet many aid workers on the ground point to evidence that these armed elements remain present.

*Most refugees in eastern Zaire say they are ready to go home after fleeing hundreds of miles in the opposite direction. ...

(continued in part 2)


USCR Site Visit Notes (excerpts, part 2)

Sections on Refugees in North Kivu, South Kivu and Kisangani [details in full report]

5 > Internally Displaced and War-Affected Zairians

5.1. Size of Internal Displacement in Eastern Zaire

USCR's site visit concluded that approximately half of all Zairians in the major population centers of eastern Zaire were temporarily displaced at some point during the first months of civil war. Although most have returned home, as many as 150,000 internally displaced persons remained in eastern Zaire as of May. ...

5.2. Causes and Duration of Displacement Vary

During the height of the civil war in the east, families fled their homes for a variety of reasons. Some were fleeing general violence. Others fled to escape the havoc wreaked by FAZ soldiers who systematically plundered town after town during their retreat, raping women and young girls. Some became uprooted when their towns suffered aerial bombings by Mobutu's forces. Others fled for fear of abuses by advancing ADFL troops.

Still others, especially in North Kivu, were already uprooted by earlier political and ethnic conflicts in their home areas. Although Zaire's civil war has largely ended, Zairians continue to be displaced by pockets of insecurity or new rounds of ethnic tensions in their home areas. ...

Sections on Population Displacement from South Kivu and North Kivu [details in full report]

5.8. Assistance Needs

Internally displaced persons in eastern Zaire appear to have the same basic needs that confront all Zairians: the need for security, improved infrastructure, rehabilitation assistance, and basic household items. The homes and businesses of many Zairian displaced persons were looted during the war, as were the homes of many other Zairians. Upon returning to their villages, uprooted families receive from ICRC a 30-pound re-integration package consisting of blankets, pots, soap, a hoe, plastic sheeting, a jerry can, and seeds.

Relief workers and eastern Zairians told USCR that Mobutu's retreating troops caused most of the war's destruction to private property, stripping some places bare. Many displaced persons told USCR, however, that damages they suffered during the war paled in comparison to the overall damage and exploitation wreaked during 32 years of the Mobutu regime. As a major supporter of Mobutu during the Cold War, the United States has a special responsibility to help rebuild Zaire and actively support the creation of a functional, inclusive government that can effectively address the needs of its population.

6 > Attitudes of Local Zairians

6.1. Fall of Kisangani Changed Perspectives

The capture of Kisangani by Alliance troops in March was a seminal event in reshaping popular local perceptions of the ADFL, according to interviews conducted by USCR. In the first months of the civil war, many Zairians speculated that the war was exclusively a Rwandan and Burundian strategy to establish a safe buffer zone in eastern Zaire by dismantling the refugee camps along the border that had served as bases for Hutu rebels.

The fall of Kisangani convinced many Zairians for the first time that--regardless of outside involvement--the insurgency had become an authentic Zairian war linked to domestic grievances against the Mobutu regime. Zairians who initially dismissed Kabila as a front-man for foreign interests became willing to give Kabila the benefit of the doubt, and popular support suddenly mounted for what many perceived as a winning bid to oust Mobutu. Fear of a counterattack or other retaliation by Mobutu's soldiers diminished, and local enlistment in the Alliance military soared, Zairians told USCR.

Although most eastern Zairians interviewed by USCR said they support Kabila as an individual, they expressed distrust for his Banyamulenge allies and indicated that ADFL officials should reach out to other ethnic groups and political parties to help govern the country nationally and locally.

6.2. Popular Support for Local Elections Rather Than National Elections

With Mobutu removed from power, most eastern Zairians interviewed by USCR expressed disdain for the idea of rapid national elections. They expressed strong interest in immediate local elections, however.

Zairians said that the international preoccupation with national elections reflects the priority of Western donors rather than the main interest of local citizens. Eastern Zairians remain deeply skeptical about the political process in Kinshasa and indicated that a national election at this time would be irrelevant at best, destabilizing at worst. Zairians in the east maintained that the new government should establish a basis for national politics at the local level, in contrast to Mobutu's tactic of dispatching political appointments to fill local posts without consultation.

Elections for governor of Kisangani, Mbuji-Mayi, and Kindu took place soon after the ADFL took control of each city. In Kisangani, a show of hands in the local stadium elected the governor and vice-governor from a field of nine candidates. Participants said it was the first election they had ever experienced. They considered the vote legitimate and the governor to be their representative.

Zairians, particularly members of civil society who have engaged in civic education during the past seven years of "transition" to democracy, told USCR that they are eager to organize local elections themselves. In Goma and Bukavu, where the Alliance has not yet allowed elections, the absence of significant local representation and the Alliance's failure to reach out to local organizations has fostered discontent and renewed local allegations that the Alliance is a "foreign occupation force."

6.3. Citizenship Issue and Increased Anti-Tutsi Sentiment

The issue of Zairian citizenship for ethnic Banyarwanda (Tutsi and Hutu) in eastern Zaire remains extremely divisive. During the Mobutu regime, a 1981 law effectively stripped most Banyarwanda of their citizenship even though many had lived in Zaire for generations. The nationality law furthered the perception that all Tutsi are foreigners.

The civil war has not dampened these tensions. On the contrary, the sight of well-armed Banyamulenge Tutsi troops deployed in eastern Zaire has fueled ethnic tensions there. Friction between Tutsi and non-Tutsi troops was evident during USCR's site visit. Some Zairians took visible pleasure in predicting a popular uprising soon. In Bukavu, Zairians disparagingly refer to the Banyamulenge Tutsi as " the new chiefs." A local Bukavu aid worker told USCR that the ADFL had reinstated most of Mobutu's local government administrators, but that "a Tutsi has been put in charge of every office, to monitor levels of corruption." The perception that power in eastern Zaire has concentrated in the hands of Tutsi in both the military and the civilian administration threatens to erode popular support for the ADFL if it fails to become more inclusive.

The new government will have to resolve the citizenship issue permanently in order to hold elections in eastern Zaire. While politically explosive, many Zairians see resolution of the matter as the first step toward reconciliation between the Banyamulenge and other communities.

7 > Zairian Civil Society / Indigenous Organizations

7.1. Dynamic Civil Society

Zaire has a dynamic civil society of indigenous NGOs. It grew over the past decade to fill the void created by the collapse of the centralized state. Zairians organized themselves to form development cooperatives down to the village level in even the most remote locations. ...

7.2. Current Political Context--A Chilling Effect

The ADFL's willingness to tolerate a vigorous civil society remains uncertain. Local organizations say that they had learned how to operate within well-known limits during the Mobutu years. Under the Alliance, however, organizations say that they do not yet know where the limits are, particularly regarding protests against military abuses. A Zairian human rights activist told USCR that the new situation will require new tactics. He noted that civil society in Zaire consistently opposed Mobutu and is therefore practiced in confronting rather than cooperating with state government. ...

Many local NGOs told USCR that they have adopted a "wait and see" attitude. Some have chosen to suspend operations until they are confident about their own security. Several indigenous NGOs in Goma report that their Hutu members have disappeared--allegedly detained or killed--or have been forced into hiding.

Local NGOs that continue to operate in Goma are primarily multi-ethnic, highly professional organizations. They express confidence that their work is beyond reproach and say that they plan to continue operations unless ADFL officials specifically stop them. Although the most credible local groups continue to work and produce regular reports, they have self-imposed limits on some activities. They now refrain, for example, from publishing lists of abuses by soldiers as they had done in the past. During USCR's site visit, it appeared that widespread self censorship was the most chilling effect the ADFL has had on civil society in eastern Zaire.

7.3. Profile of Indigenous NGOs That Continue To Operate

A local organization in Goma known as the "Promotion of and Support for Women's Initiatives" (PAIF), a prominent women's human rights group, resumed activities in early 1997. The organization's director, Immacule Birhaheka, continues to conduct a regular radio program on women's issues on a local station under Alliance control. Birhaheka told USCR that PAIF and a few other NGOs continue to hold regular public symposia. PAIF has refrained from publishing lists of abuses against women in its newsletter. Many allegations implicate the Alliance, and PAIF leaders fear how Alliance officials would react. However, PAIF has lodged protests over ADFL attempts to establish its own women's organization without regard for existing organizations.

Other human rights groups, such as the Zairian Association for Human Rights (AZADHO), a Kinshasa-based NGO with a branch in Goma, continues to operate even though the Alliance's new Minister of Justice and the governor of Goma summoned the organization's local representative, Maitre Kakule, for questioning shortly after AZADHO published a damning report on massacres in the east. Local ADFL-controlled radio broadcasts repeatedly urged him to repudiate the report. The Minister of Justice threatened to suspend AZADHO's activities in the region but ultimately did not carry out the threat. Kakule told USCR that, for the moment, he continues to work unhampered and sends copies of protest letters to both the governor and the Minister of Justice.

If there is reason for optimism about the future of civil society in Zaire, it is found in the human rights activists who continue to pursue their work despite potentially great personal risks.

Several indigenous humanitarian NGOs have demonstrated impressive competence. Two such organizations, known by their acronyms of EUB and OMNIS, have received sizable contracts from UNHCR in Goma, Bukavu, and Kisangani. UN officials on the ground indicate that, in some situations, they prefer to work with these local organizations rather than with international NGOs. With adequate international support, these local aid agencies have the skills to carry out large-scale rehabilitation projects required in the new Congo/Zaire.

8 > Recommendations

8.1. Security / Protection / Accountability

* To the ADFL

1) Acknowledge that elements of the ADFL military have committed and continue to commit serious human rights atrocities, particularly against Rwandan refugees and Zairian Hutu. Issue clear public instructions to all military and civilian officials to stop killing unarmed persons. Send top ADFL officials, including President Kabila, to personally visit areas of killings in eastern Zaire and other regions. Hold troops accountable. Establish transparent military chain of command.

2) Refrain from broadcasts and proclamations that might incite local populations against refugees.

3) Immediately allow UN human rights experts to conduct investigations into human rights abuses in eastern Zaire and elsewhere. Facilitate the work of qualified international and indigenous human rights organizations.

4) Take steps to transform the ADFL into a nationally representative institution whose units are integrated to reflect ethnic and regional diversity. Do not allow ethnically homogeneous military units.

5) Demobilize child soldiers.

6) Establish a new national police force and bring the military under strict civilian control. Educate the population regarding these reforms.

* To Governments of Rwanda, Uganda, Angola

7) Condemn ADFL military abuses against Rwandan refugees and local Zairians. Call for the ADFL military to respect human rights, humanitarian principles, and the need for military accountability.

8) The Rwandan government should publicly express its concern about the plight of its citizens in Zaire. Rwandan officials should publicly declare that suspected genocidaires should be brought to justice via proper court procedures rather than by extrajudicial executions.

* To the International Community

9) Warn the new leaders of Congo/Zaire that respect for human rights and good-faith efforts to halt abuses must be immediate priorities if the new government wishes to gain international respect and support. Urge greater personal involvement by Kabila and other ADFL officials to address serious human rights problems.

10) Pressure the ADFL to permit international human rights investigations and bring the perpetrators of abuses to justice.

11) Provide support for the rehabilitation of the judicial system in Congo/Zaire.

12) Provide support for the deployment of impartial military observers to North/South Kivu to help monitor human rights incidents and implement programs to train troops in human rights standards, accountability, and professional military conduct, in an effort to help the new government improve soldiers' human rights record.

8.2. Relief / Repatriation

* To the ADFL

13) Allow unhampered access to Rwandan refugees and displaced Zairians. Become personally involved in removing restrictions that impede access. Ensure that ADFL troops implement promises made to the relief community by President Kabila and other government officials.

14) Provide full support in all regions for the safe, voluntary repatriation of Rwandan refugees.

15) Respect the neutrality and integrity of humanitarian relief operations. Rescind requirements in South Kivu that force NGOs to employ ADFL facilitators in the field. Prohibit the manipulation of international humanitarian aid for either political purposes or military operations against refugees and other civilians.

* To the Government of Rwanda

16) Publicly restate the government's willingness and commitment to receive all refugees who wish to return from Zaire or other asylum countries.

17) Continue to allow repatriation flights to land in Kigali in order to make repatriation as rapid and efficient as possible.

* To UNHCR and NGOs

18) Resist the ADFL's imposition of "facilitators" on humanitarian relief operations. Limit or suspend programs if ADFL requirements compromise the integrity of relief operations.

19) Launch a mass information campaign to publicize repatriation efforts as well as rehabilitation projects that benefit the local population. Take steps to counteract sentiments among Zairians that the international community ignores the needs of the local population.

8.3. Representative Government / Elections

* To the ADFL

20) Act rapidly to shift authority in the provinces from military to civilian officials. Educate the population regarding reforms leading to strict civilian control of the military and the respective roles of the armed forces and civilian police force in the new Democratic Republic of Congo/Zaire.

21) Act to ensure that the new government is broad-based, inclusive, and committed to a democratic Congo/Zaire.

22) Encourage the full participation of civil society organizations in the transition process and civic education efforts leading up to elections. Acknowledge the contribution these local organizations made during the seven-year struggle to bring about a peaceful transition to democracy.

23) Allow free, fair, and locally organized elections of local authorities in all provinces. Permit civil society organizations to conduct non-partisan voter education.

24) Uphold standards of freedom of expression in the media as well as in publications by local nongovernmental organizations.

25) Promote pluralism by granting broadcast licenses to private and church-based radio and/or television stations.

* To the International Community

26) Encourage the transitional government to hold local elections as a matter of priority in order to encourage confidence-building and establish a local basis for national politics. Do not push for premature national elections.

8.4. Rehabilitation

* To the International Community

27) Provide generous rehabilitation/development aid directly to the people of Congo/Zaire, who endured more than 30 years of neglect and exploitation under Mobutu's U.S.-backed regime. Avoid penalizing average Zairians for the failures of their new government.

28) Support independent Zairian NGOs, many of whom have proven capabilities and are the backbone of Congo/Zaire's civil society. Channel a portion of resources for rehabilitation and long term development through those qualified local agencies.

29) Place a priority on infrastructure improvements and access to affordable health care.



From: Message-Id: <199706231459.HAA05343@igc3> Date: Mon, 23 Jun 1997 10:57:54 -0500 Subject: Congo (Kinshasa): USCR Report, 1

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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