Reaction to WFP Media Communique on the situation of IDPs in Eastern DRC: Let us work on durable solutions
Reactions to the World Food Programme Media Statement on the situation of the Internally Displaced Persons in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo mainly Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu: You cannot continue hiding in responding to the consequences of the wars since 1996 up to now, we cannot continue taking this direction.
On the other side, we continue wondering where the DRC Government is and why should be the WFP to engage the call for action, these are Congolese who deserve services from their Government then WFP comes in support to the efforts of the Government. It is time to engage and hold DRC government responsible for the well-being of its people in IDP Camps and WFP should not continue to ignore that it is a partner in support to the government. That has to change and come out clearly in WFP communication insisting on the role of DRC towards its population.
We may not be fully preoccupied by the deteriorating and inhuman situation of IDPs in camps without at the same time working towards lasting solutions to restore peace so that people can go back to their villages. It remains absurd and illogical to give relief aid to people in Ituri and North Kivu where land is extremely fertile for agriculture and farming which were supposed to be introduced during the decisions which were taken in order to set up IDP Camps.
We will never be satisfied to observe people living in those small tents regardless of how best we may improve their living conditions, which is inhuman, degrading and does not respond to the minimum requirement of dignity and respect. We will never be proud and happy for assisting people in those camps, rather we will be proud and happy for ensuring that people are not forced to leave their homes.
In such media show WFP distances herself from the desire of IDPs and the entire Congolese people to engage all actors to end this war especially the venture of M23 backed by Rwanda, yet this is supposed to be part of relied aid package to people. How long are we going to keep people in camps? How long are we going to seek for relief aid to feed people in camps? Why could we not explore other alternatives to empower people with livelihood activities rather than food so that they may be able to respond to their needs? How much relief aid will be enough in order to solve the problems of IDPs?
We remain skeptical about the insufficient of the relief aid to IDPs as argued WFP, we observe that issues surrounding the management of the available relief aid, the accessibility to the aid, and the transparency of the relief aid are mainly the urgent problems which should be addressed and which are not yet taken into consideration despite our various alerts for action. In one of the Camps around Goma, a vehicle of WFP and partners may have weekly budget that can respond to the needs of more than 300 people, the salaries of those involved in relief aid may be enough in order to solve the problems of IDPs. Just tell us, how much WFP staffs earn per month and how much WFP gives to one IDP per month. The situation becomes dramatic when for example here in Goma you may find relief aid items being sold in stores and in different public markets and there are no mechanisms in place to ensure that the relief aid is properly managed. How do we have these UNHCR, IOM other relief aid items being sold in markets yet IDPs cannot access them?
We are so much concerned by the hypocrisy of these International Relief Agencies which are seemingly tend to make human beings a mere trade especially Congolese people who seem lacking the protection of their country. Most of those fighting in M23 who have forced millions to leave their homes and have massacred hundreds of others are themselves refugees in both Uganda and Rwanda, they lived of relief aid from WFP and UNHCR, they organized themselves in the presence of UNHCR and WFP, and as per now they still benefit from the relief aid by WFP and UNHCR in Rwanda and in Uganda, there clear communication and interactions between those fighting in Eastern DRC with their relatives who remained in camps in Uganda and Rwanda fully supported by WFP and UNHCR among others.
Unfortunately both WFP and UNHCR have not yet come out clearly neither to denounce the recruitment of refugees nor to hold both two countries accountable for misuse of the relief aid which should help only the civilians. On contrary Congolese Human Rights Defenders and vocal refugees based in Uganda and Rwanda who alerted about such recruitment of refugees into rebel activities were severely punished and over the years they could not access relief aid from UNHCR/WFP and other humanitarian organizations.
Therefore we reiterate our same recommendations
WFP, UNHCR and IOM should go back to their natural roles of supporting the efforts of the DRC Government but not to take the frontline roles in the whole humanitarian sector as it is being observed. Efforts should be deployed to engage the DRC government and hold it accountable for her failure to protect her people,
WFP, UNHCR and other Humanitarian Relief Aid should freeze the aid relief to Uganda and Rwanda, that will contribute to end wars in eastern DRC, after all Congolese refugees in Uganda do not survive on 5$ monthly ration distributed to them by relief agencies, that can be removed and still refugees will survive,
WFP and other relief agencies should put in place a better management of the available relief, equitable and accessible by all the concerned parties, to reduce on administrative expenditure and to dismantle the system which seems to be in place to embezzle relief aid,
WFP and other agencies to shift from hand outs and put in place activities that promote livelihood opportunities among IDPs,
WFP and other relief Aid Agencies to embark on Peace activities as part of their package in order to restore stability in Eastern DRC,
While the mobilization of relief aid is capital in order to respond to emergencies there is an urgent need to engage on a debate about the long-term solutions at the community level, provincial level, national level, regional level and international level,
And the question remains, how long are we going to give to people relief aid yet they are able to live on their own.
Kulihoshi Musikami Pecos
COJESKI North Kivu