United Nations- The United Nations (UN) and its partners have directed that “all necessary measures’’ should be taken to disarm the rebels in Rwanda.
The UN said in a statement issued on Friday in New York that the directive followed the expiration of six-month grace period for the full and unconditional surrender of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) armed group.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that leaders and members of the FDLR, who were among the perpetrators of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, were given six months to voluntarily surrender.
The statement said the six-month grace period was granted as approved by a meeting of the joint International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) of Ministers of Defence on July 2, 2014.
It was signed by a team of international envoys that includes the UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Said Djinnit and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Martin Kobler, among other parties.
According to the statement, the envoys note that the rebels have had a long history of heinous crimes in the DRC.
The envoys also noted with concern that the FDLR had not met the deadline.
They alleged in the statement that the FDLR had used the six-month grace period to continue to commit human rights abuses against innocent people in eastern DRC.
The envoys noted in the statement that ending the threat of the FDLR was not just a DRC responsibility but a regional and international responsibility.
They said they had a deep commitment to ensuring accountability for those responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
They added that by failing to comply with the deadline, the FDLR had left the region and the international community with no other option than to pursue the military option against those within the armed group.
In the statement, the envoys said there was no justification for further delaying the neutralisation of a group that was responsible for “a long history of heinous crimes’’.
The envoys, therefore, called on the DRC government and the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the country, including its Force Intervention Brigade, to take all necessary measures to disarm the FDLR.(NAN)