In Support of the Congolese people, Friends of the Congo, Africa Faith and Justice Network, Congo Global Action and En Avant Congo sponsored a vigil that was held in front of the Rwandan embassy in Washington DC on October 31, 2008, with the following message:
“Since August, the Rwandan government has, for the third time, openly waged a military invasion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The first and the second invasions were respectively in 1996 and 1998. By backing the Congolese Tutsi rebel leader of CNDP, Laurent Nkunda, Rwanda is working to overthrow the democratically elected government in the Congo. Rwanda, the victim of yesterday, is the victimizer of today. Why has the international community been silent about Rwandan government crimes in the Congo? Killing, looting, ethnic cleansing, rape, child soldier recruitment, sex slavery, lynching, and infecting people with HIV/AIDS, continue in the Rwanda-Nkunda controlled territory and the world is silent. As a result of the recent violence, since August, many have died and more than 250,000 people have been displaced. Since 1996, about 6 million people have died in the D.R. Congo.
The international community and particularly the United States has chosen the side of Rwanda, regardless of the obvious. The tyranny of Rwandan president Paul Kagame against Rwandans has now extended across the Rwanda border into the Congo at the watch of his ally the United States. The United States must hold Kagame’s government accountable and denounce any action that perpetuates conflict in Eastern D.R. Congo or discord between Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. U.S. citizens need to know the truth about their government’s dealings in Africa’s Great Lakes Region, particularly the truth behind the U.S. government’s choice to work closely with the Rwandan government without holding it accountable when it comes to security in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
We ask that the U.S. government urges the Rwandan Government to withdraw its troops from the Congolese territory immediately. Additionally, the U.S. should help empower the Congolese government the only legitimate authority to protect the Congolese people including the Congolese Tutsi community.”
What can you do? Spread this message to your representatives in Congress!