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Stop the DRC-Government Sanctioned Genocide Against Innocent Banyamulenge Civilians in Minembwe.
Dear President Trump, AVAAZ and Human Rights Watch:
We, the undersigned, charge that the DRC government is currently committing the crime of genocide against its minority ethnic people- the Banyamulenge, in multiple remote villages of Minembwe- Eastern DRC province. The DRC government is committing this heinous crime with the complicity of rebel fighters from Burundi known as RED (Résistance pour un État de Droit au Burundi) TABARA and Mai-Mai, a murderous and terrorist group. We ask President Donald Trump, AVAAZ and Human Rights Watch to pressure President Felix Tshisekedi of DRC to stop and end this ongoing genocide.
It is in the interest of all freedom-loving people worldwide to unite with the Banyamulenge people, who are being oppressed and massacred inside their own homes. We must take a stand with them in their outcry for human rights, protection and freedom, and from state-imposed violence, oppression, and genocide.
Since President Felix Tshisekedi came to power, his government has not only failed to protect innocent Banyamulenge civilians as the DRC constitution entails, but continually inflict state or state-supported violence, terror and killings upon them. Hundreds of Banyamulenge villages are being burned down, and their cows and belongings looted and killed.
Although thousands of Banyamulenge have been slaughtered since 1960 by various anti-Banyamulenge radical armed groups joined by the DRC government, it is notable that words such as crisis and genocide only get used when the DRC government favored ethnic groups are the target of such crisis or genocide. For example, in 2004, the Banyamulenge people were attacked and slaughtered while seeking refuge in a United Nations refugee camp, resulting in the death of 166 innocent Banyamulenge refugees, many of the victims were women and children.
This petition seeks to recognize that the term genocide is applicable to the Banyamulenge people in the DRC, for the history of the harsh conditions and the continual, consistent attacks against them in an effort to destroy, displace, and eliminate the Banyamulenge people.
This petition is based on these conventions of International Law:
-The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide;
-The United Nations Charter;
-The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights;
-The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;
-The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
-The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
In this petition, we present a synopsis of practical evidence proving the ongoing crime of genocide by the DRC government against innocent Banyamulenge civilians. The examples presented apply to every aspect of the definition of genocide and fit the punishable acts of genocide as defined by the U.N. Convention.
Since May 4th, 2019 to the present day, several attacks on various Banyamulenge villages have left more than 200 innocent Banyamulenge civilians dead, 150,000 homeless, 40,000 houses incinerated, and 40,000 herds of cattle looted by the attackers. Despite multiple reports of these incidents by local officials to higher-up DRC government officials, the DRC government has turned deaf ear to these outcries. Inaction by the DRC government can only indicate collusion in a protracted plan to bring Banyamulenge to extinction. Needless to mention that all villages attacked since May are between 0-6 kilometers away from the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (AFDRC) military deployments.
Between 7-9 September 2019, the DRC government forces joined Mai-Mai fighters and RED-Tabara Burundian rebels to attack Banyamulenge villages. Under the command of Mai-Mai- Ebuela, Banyamulenge in the Tulambo villages were attacked, innocent people were killed, and houses were burned down. During this attack, the civilians were able to identify some AFDRC officers who were fighting alongside Mai-Mai groups. It came as a shock to civilians who expected protection from their DRC defense forces only to see these ones teaming up with their (Banyamulenge) killers.
On October 3rd, 2019, under the command of Lt., Col Hassan a member of AFDRC opened fire on unarmed and vulnerable Banyamulenge civilians who were fleeing from Mai-Mai attackers. Rutiririza Bibogo was killed instantly, and several others were wounded. Surprisingly, Lt. Col Hassan has neither been charged or reprimanded for his crimes to this day, it is nothing short of evidence of the DRC government’s protracted plan to bring Banyamulenge to extinction. On the same day, Mai-Mai fighters attacked the Itara village and Banyamulenge herdsmen from this village fled towards AFDRC headquarters hoping to get protection. Surprisingly, government soldiers arrested and mercilessly beat up these innocent Banyamulenge civilians. Thereafter, AFDRC handed thousands of Banyamulenge cows over to Mai-Mai.
On October 9th, 2019, AFDRC provided Mai -Mai fighters with green light and guidance to attack a Banyamulenge village known as Kabara. Before the attack, Banyamulenge civilians from this village had reported the potential attack to the government forces hoping these could intervene to stop the attack but AFDRC said they had no order from their superiors to intervene for the protection of the village. The Mai-Mai attackers proceeded with their plans, burned Kabara village down and killed a Munyamulenge Pastor by the name of Samson while thousands found refuge in the wood.
The presence of AFDRC in Minembwe and its surrounding areas is a danger to local civilians. The AFDRC can remain passive or join Mai-Mai killers to oppress and kill innocent Banyamulenge civilians. There are also ongoing incendiary speeches from influential DRC government and political figures, calling for the extermination of the Banyamulenge. For example, a member of Parliament known as Kaliba Mulanga Pardonne has been rallying public support that Minembwe shouldn’t be officially recognized as a municipality. Kaliba argues Banyamulenge are not Congolese citizens and their municipality must be cancelled or destroyed. Another former DRC cabinet member known as Justin Bitakwira asked that AFDRC military officers from the Banyamulenge community are stationed far from their local villages to deprive Banymulenge civilians of protection and clear path for their destruction.
-Recognition by the international community and progressive and friendly states and peoples that genocide against the Banyamulenge continues today in Minembwe.
-Providing humanitarian assistance to the thousands of displaced innocent Banyamulenge civilians in Minembwe who, for several months, have been abandoned to the hands of militias.
-Support for an International Tribunal to make judgment on various crimes of genocide against the Banyamulenge.
-Immediately ordering foreign fighters such as RED (Résistance pour un État de Droit au Burundi) TABARA out of DRC.
-Immediate disarmament and eradication of criminal Mai-Mai militia group.
-The creation of an International monitoring body covering the daily DRC military violence and complicity against the Banyamulenge people in Minembwe.
On behalf of Mahoro Peace Association- USA, we thank you for your support.
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