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D.R. Congo: UNHCR seeks Rwanda refoulement explanation

Briefing notes

D.R. Congo: UNHCR seeks Rwanda refoulement explanation

1 November 2002

UNHCR has learned with great concern of the "refoulement" of eight Rwandan refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to Rwanda on Wednesday night. This constitutes a violation of the basic refugee principles enshrined in the 1951 refugee convention. The eight were part of a group of 20 members of an opposition Rwandan political party, the FDLR (Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda). They were all recognised refugees. UNHCR is sending a letter today to President Kabila expressing its grave concern and seeking an explanation of events. The letter also expresses disagreement with the procedure and the way the matter was handled. UNHCR expects to be consulted should similar situations arise in the future. UNHCR had been working for some time on finding a durable solution for these people. We are presently trying to gain access to them in Rwanda.