We welcome Melissa our Intern to draft the new refugee law in DRCongo
Meet Melissa our first Intern for 2024 working on a new refugee policy in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Melissa has volunteered to engage on a great venture which is to propose a draft of a new law which will govern refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo, this is the second step. The first step was to analyze the inconsistency of the current DRC policy in line with DRC international obligations, the DRC Constitution, the DRC cultural values and the reality of refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
First of all the current DRC Refugee Policy is a presidential Degree of 2002 which has so many irregularities and does not focus on the effective protection of refugees rather looks at refugees as a problem to fix and discourages efforts for refugees to seek protection in DRC.
With DRC moving slowly into a democratic state, reforms have been engaged in various sectors and laws have reforms in order to comply with democratic principles, it is therefore a time for us to engage on this long battle in order to ensure that the country is ready to face this challenge.
Why this policy
First of all we need to respond to our obligations both international and regional, fulfil the requirements of the constitution and respond positively to our cultural values towards those who need help from us.
We observe that refugees and all other forms of forced migrants have been sometimes a source conflicts and wars in DRC over the years, and now we need to fix it and solve it once forever in order to propel the country to the debate of sustainable development.
And lastly the current political leadership of DRC especially the President has argued in favor of refugees over the years and the need to ensure the well-being of all people in DRC, refugees therefore are among those most marginalized and defenseless, and now the need to support their struggle for protection through this policy. These five years are the great opportunities we have at hand in order engage all the necessary reforms in this field of refugees.
We expect this new draft policy to get the support from refugees, the host communities, cultural leaders, local leaders, religious leaders, the civil society and political leaders in DRC especially in the parliament. We also expect this law to be fully supported by the DRC President and the entire Government.
For that to happen the law should focus on the situation of refugees since 1958 up to now and propose better responses to these specific categories of people in a comprehensive manner.
We expect this law to face the problems of funding as donors may not have interest to fund such a policy which will solve the problem, it is believed in DRC that actors at the international level are not interested in solving problems in DRC rather they are more interested in maintaining the problems,
Of course we do not expect collaboration and support from UNHCR and if it comes, that will be a surprised and may likely to come at a later stage, for one reason UNHCR is part of the problems in DRC which needs to be fixed in its self, UNHCR does not work to solve refugee problems in DRC but in contrary works to ensure the management of refugees is a problem in DRC. But still we do not expect UNHCR to oppose this law however we expect some UNHCR officers to use traffic of influence to bride some political actors and even refugees in order to oppose the initiative of the law.
We expect some resistance of refugees who came in DRC long ago since 1958 up to 1994 who do consider themselves as Congolese Citizens much as they are not accepted in the communities, especially those from neighboring countries which are in conflict with DRC such as Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.
However the law will address the whole debate about nationality and how refugees should be naturalized in DRC.
The only one big threat we expect to come is likely the opposition of the Rwanda Government which is highly the biggest beneficiary of the situation of refugees in DRC, and which is opposed to the protection of refugees in DRC.
We believe that they whole entire refugee management in DRC is highly influenced and dominated by Rwanda in terms of policies, human resources and operations, most of interventions towards refugees in DRC are actually in line with the Rwanda Foreign Policy towards Rwandan refugees in the world which is “to force refugees to return back to Rwanda, kill and assassinate those who have different ideas and criminalize Rwandan refugees”.
We feel happy and optimistic that a new era has started and we are so proud that we are putting to the public this debate and ready to solve this problem for our country. We thank the International human Rights Advocacy Clinic from the Florida USA for being our strategic partner in this and we welcome our intern Melissa for the draft of this new Policy.
Kulihoshi Musikami Pecos