Briefing meeting with stakeholders in order to counter various allegations of bribery by UNHCR Goma
Restitution meeting with refugee leaders and various actors of the Civil in Goma North Kivu the Democratic Republic of Congo on the progress of our advocacy for the effective participation of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Global Refugee Forum Summit.
As a reminder we planned for a sit-in at the office of UNHCR Goma on November 6th, 2023 but in the process the Mayor of Goma called us for a meeting in order to establish a dialogue with UNHCR over the matter. The Mayor also invited UNHCR and after the meeting UNHCR stated that it was working with the Minister of Internal Affairs for DRC participation, since then we have waited for the promised meeting with UNHCR as suggested the Mayor but in vain. We also reject the allegations from UNHCR of working with the Minister because he is just one among the stakeholders, we wrote to UNHCR seeking for a meeting but as usual UNHCR did not respond, on contrary we have observed that UNHCR seems to use the strategy of “Divide and rule” by co-opting some amongst us in order to oppose our struggle.
We are much aware of the culture of bride and corruption that seem to characterize UNHCR when people seek for accountability, however we shall not bow our heads. We are in a competition, we believe in ideas and always surrender to the supremacy of best ideas. We do observe that the problems we are advocating for have existed over the years alongside UNHCR and it seems not much have been solve them.
In order to share information to our audience, disseminate true information amongst actors of the Civil Society in order to counter rumors and wrong information, and plan for the next actions, we have organized two meetings.
The first meeting was held at our office on Tuesday November 14th, 2023 and brought together 10 refugee leaders and five others send their apologies. The meeting was planned for 15 refugee leaders in Goma.
We briefed them about the Global Refugee Forum Summit which is being prepared in Geneva, and all efforts we have deployed to ensure that all actors in DRC come together for a common agenda but also to ensure that all actors in DRC are fully represented in the Summit.
The participants were so much concerned to observe that UNHCR does not show care for them, and in some cases UNHCR is the problem that needs to be fixed. The participants believe and argued that UNHCR seems to work closely with the Rwanda Government and therefore called for various actions to bring high the demands of refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The participants regretted to observe that some actors of the civil society are being compromised by UNHCR, however they vowed to join the streets once called upon. Another meeting with a big number of refugees was suggested and it will take place on Thursday November 16th, 2023 at our offices.
Another meeting with actors of the Civil Society took place today Wednesday November 15th, 2023 at the office of the New Dynamic of the Civil Society here in Goma, and brought together representatives of the different organizations and pro-democracy pressure groups. The purpose also was to brief them and clarify the rumors that some actors were already bribed in order to surrender the struggle for refugee rights, again in this meeting two refugee representatives also attended and shared with the participants their views.
We briefed them about actions that have been taken, the challenges and the opportunities connected to the struggle for refugee well-being here in Goma. After discussions the participants agreed on the following:
- Our struggle to change from the participation to the Summit to the struggle for the effective protection of refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo,
- The participants unanimously distanced themselves from initiatives taken by Jean Pascal Muguraka who they viewed as being already compromised by UNHCR,
- The participants agreed to meet again on Wednesday next week in order to evaluate the progress and plan for other popular actions,
- The participants tasked COJESKI to engage with refugees and ask them not to be manipulated because information was shared that a group of refugees were being prepared in order to oppose what we are planning,
The meeting ended by the satisfaction of the participants and were mobilized to engage more partners to come and join the struggle.
It is important to remind everybody that our purpose is not to seek for money from UNHCR in order to buy our silence, we are not looking for funding from UNHCR in order to do our activities, what we need is UNHCR to become part of the solutions to refugee problems in DRC, and once the well-being of each refugee is taken into consideration, then our work will be over.
However questions remain among actors of the Civil Society: At what extend should we involved refugees? Should we consider them as just victims who should benefit from our advocacy or they should actively take part? These questions remain to be viewed but as organization we work for the empowerment of refugees and because of that line they should actively take part in the struggle.
Kulihoshi Musikami Pecos