Report on the identification and management of refugees in DRCongo

Building up the consensus towards the identification of all refugees on DRC Territory

We believe there are around 4million Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the Democratic Republic of Congo who are remain unidentified, we regret that only 526,000 refugees are identified generally from the Central African Republic, Sudan and few from Burundi. We have concerns about institutions in DRC which are supposed to handle refugee issues, they are not credible, both UNHCR and the CNR are perceived as being close to Rwanda and implementing a pro-Rwanda policy, yet the majority of refugees and asylum seekers in DRC are Rwandans.

Problem analysis

Since 1959 a group of Rwandan came to seek asylum in the Democratic Republic of Congo, many others kept on coming over the years, including asylum seekers from other countries. These asylum seekers from Rwanda are at the center of conflict between Rwanda and DRC as Rwanda claims that they are Congolese and that DRC does not recognize them as Congolese, most of them are Tutsi ethnic group. There is no debate about their entry as asylum seekers, however the interpretation of the current DRC Constitution on the article of citizenship may appear the main problem.

On this we have supported the current agitations about the Constitution Review/Amendments in order to clearly define the question of citizenship in DRC.

Also we have tried to share information about the right article of the Constitution which was politically manipulated in order to create confusion and the article is very clear and does not even need interpretation. The challenge was that many Congolese had never read, and what they know depended on what politicians told them wrongly.

Here is what the Constitution says, a Congolese of origin is:

Someone from ethnic groups which the people and territories constituted the DRC at the independence” the wrong interpretation from politicians’ claims “someone who was on the territory of Congo during the independence”.

At least now we are trying to share accurate information and some people are trying to understand the political manipulation.

The Problem Two

Rwandan refugee who came in 1994

During the genocide in Rwanda about 4million people mainly Hutus fled to DRC in order to seek asylum, in 1996 Rwanda started accusing them of wanting to destabilize the regime in Kigali and then launched a war in DRC which killed thousands of refugees, the United Nations Mapping Report documented the massacres against Hutus refugees.

But up to now, Rwanda claims that all these Hutus refugees are part of FDLR armed group which Rwanda claims want to take power in Rwanda, therefore Rwanda is military present in North Kivu in order to neutralize the FDLR. However questions have remained unanswered as it is clearly observed that Hutus Refugees are not part of FDLR Armed against Rwanda. Now our efforts is first of all to advocate for a clear distinction between Hutu asylum seekers in DRC and FDLR fighters who want to capture power in Rwanda in case they do exist in DRC. This will help Rwanda to appreciate the existence of its citizens who should also be protected during military interventions in DRC.

The challenge is that since 1994 when they entered they were not registered and were not granted a refugee status, and this has continued up to now. However we have asked questions: Who has interest that these poor civilians are not granted a refugee status and no one seems to give us the answer.

We started advocacy to ensure that each Rwandan refugee who came in DRC since 1994 up to now is identified and granted a refugee status. There is a consensus at local, provincial and now the debate in at national level, as per now no one is opposed to that, and this is so far a great move.

Refugee Settlements

After the identification we opt to advocate for the settlements which should be called places where refugees are living in order to coordinate interventions towards them and ensure proper management. As per now there is no objection to this,

Refugee New Policy in DRC

We have also come up with a New Refugee Policy which should regulate the situation of refugees and all other forms of forced migrants in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the draft is being presented to the public and we are getting recommendations.

The aim of all these efforts

We are in the line with non-violence ways of solving problems between RDC and Rwanda in order to promote pacific cohabitation, especially that there are better ways to solve problems than the current war as it is being viewed, our intentions is to present to all actors all these ways and seek for their support,

To advocate for a proper management of asylum seekers in DRC in order to ensure that they are not problems to the country anymore, and to promote their rights,

To propose better ways to deal with armed groups against Rwanda which are believed to be in DRC, and encourage dialogue as one among the best approach,

To make information available to public about the situation of refugees in DRC so that it may not raise questions with Rwanda, and in this to advocate for better relationship among both countries in order to exchange information about refugees,


The very first challenge is generally the lack of funds which can help to continue our advocacy, in the Democratic Republic of Congo it is much easier to mobilize money for war, but extremely difficult to get funds for peaceful activities such as these ones we are putting in place,

The lack of actors at the international levels to join our struggle in order to harmonize the situation,

The lack of priority on issues about refugees in DRC,

UNHCR and other UN Agencies have often appeared as obstacles and have promoted programs and interventions which are hostile to the well-being of refugees,



Kulihoshi Musikami Pecos

Provincial Coordinator

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