On Saturday 16/11/13 in London survivors of the atrocities that ravaged Central Africa in the last two decades and their international friends asked for the 3rd time the British public and tourists visiting the city to sign a petition demanding an acknowledgement of the Congolese genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes committed by Uganda and Rwanda since 1996, and even before in the Great Lakes region.
Colleagues in Zurich were doing the same on the very same Saturday. They apparently collected around another hundred signatures to support our petition. The total number of signatures has today reached 1736 people. As some might remember the petition was launched by Don’t Be Blind This Time on July 4th, 2013. If you have not signed yet, your support is needed to get the criminals of the Great Lakes region to face justice.
Their crimes continue to be ignored by the international community almost purposely because the victims are black Africans whose human value has historically been lesser than those of lives from other races of the planet. It is difficult to think of any other substantial reason that would explain that 8 millions of African victims could be treated this way.
Whilst we were busy on the task on that Saturday, the Rwandan minister for the foreign affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, was asking permission for the Rwandan Defense Forces to get officially back in the Democratic Republic of Congo without any shame as if the atrocities they committed in that country were not enough.
Back to the Saturday event at Piccadilly Circus. It reminded me of another one held in November 2010 in a similar cold weather. At the time a group of determined people braved the chilly day and stood in front of the UK Department of International Development requesting from the British government to suspend assistance to Rwanda because of its persistent and indescribable violation of human rights in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The temperature was shivering outside I can recall. The demonstration was one of many similar actions which had started by many interested and concerned parties a while ago and were ongoing. We handed an open letter to the department with our official demands: to halt aid as long as killings, imprisonment, disappearances in Rwanda continued.
In 2012 Britain and other main donor countries decided to stop temporarily their assistance to Rwanda. They had come to the same conclusions as we did that the president of Rwanda was a notorious dictator whose regime didn’t respect any minimum rights of his citizens let alone those of the Congolese people.
There is no doubt that the continuation of these actions aimed at providing justice to all the victims of Joweri Museveni and Paul Kagame will succeed. The conviction is that it only takes the willingness and determination of a number of people to change things.