Break the Silence Campaign on the death of millions in the Great Lakes region of Africa
Break The Silence Campaign on the death of millions in the Great Lakes region of Africa – PRESS RELEASE - London, 07/04/10
There was a time in Africa’s history when the continent was characterized by corruption, dictatorships and coup d’état. This was particularly the case during the first quarter of century after the independence period in the1960s. The tally of deaths caused by liberation wars or famines was rarely above the millions. Since the mid-80s up until today the Great Lakes region of Africa has on its own, an estimated count of direct and indirect death of 8 millions as a result of wars. The cycle of violence is continuing.
Root causes of ongoing tragedy are rarely talked about by mainstream media. Leaders of rebel movements (Yoweri Museveni, Paul Kagame and Joseph Kabila) have turned into presidents of sovereign countries (Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo), thanks to USA and UK backing. These “leaders” are using the same inhuman methods from their time in guerrilla warfare to rule over their citizens.
They are not allowing real and effective democracy in their national political space. They are harassing and imprisoning political opponents who try to emerge and address issues faced by their fellow citizens: imposed wars, human rights, famine, epidemic rape of thousands of women, lack of health systems, education infrastructures, and others.
The objective of the demonstration is to bring back to the attention of the international community the plight of millions of Africans in DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda, whose suffering seems to see no end.
The most industrialized countries and their multinationals have a resource-based interest in the region; however, due to the lack of threat the region presents to these nation states, media coverage on the events in the GLR is minimal. As a consequence of the combined apathy and greed of these industrialized nations, millions of people are dying and being oppressed by the local regimes acting as proxies.
As Professor Peter Erlinder puts it, ‘the real reason for the ongoing wars in the Congo are described in great detail in several United Security Council Experts Reports, which make clear that war and massive civilian deaths in Eastern Congo since 1996 have little, if anything to do with tribalism, ethnicity or even the Rwanda genocide. But rather have everything to do with the rape of the Congo’s resources.’
We demand that the BBC World Service and other global media point to the real culprits of the tragedy of the Great Lakes region and refuse to continue to be puppets to the rhythm of corrupt dictators and their sponsors as they serve interests of the West at the expense of millions of African lives.
We want global media to highlight to the attention of governments, the UN and the general public the relationship between
• allocating large amounts of money to Rwandan and Ugandan dictatorships through bilateral and multilateral channels such as the World Bank and the European Union and the suffering of millions of citizens in the Great Lakes region
• arming and supporting militarily these regimes and the lack of political space for democracy, particularly during electoral years when populations are expected to freely express who they want to lead them
• plundering DRC mineral resources through embezzled structures with bases in Rwanda, Uganda and connections with companies in UK, Germany, Belgium, US, Canada, China, and the ongoing tragedy of rape, torture, imprisonment, displacement of populations
We insist that global media begin to objectively inform decision makers in influential nations and international institutions such as UN, Security Council, EU, and particularly US and UK governments, because of their unconditional support to the dictators of the Great Lakes Region of Africa.
We request from mainstream media such as BBC World Service to highlight the plight of millions of Rwandans and Ugandans who are suffering at the hands of their dictators, and put pressure on their sponsors, among other objectives,
• to end in Rwanda an apartheid like system camouflaged under a wall of laws and daily practices which only fool foreigners but not Rwandans, and which oppress the majority of populations
• to suspend temporarily bilateral and multilateral aid and put a military embargo to Rwanda and Uganda until they stop opposing fully inclusive inter-citizens dialogue involving political and social entities pro and against their respective regimes and open up their political space for democracy and change; inter-citizens dialogues have been conducted in South Africa, Burundi, Northern Ireland and Democratic Republic of Congo successively; there is no reason they shouldn’t apply in Rwanda and Uganda.
• to channel part of the billions being currently wasted on MONUC into funding inter-citizens dialogues particularly in Rwanda and Uganda, and effective democratic changes in these two countries, as they are the root causes of the region’s misery
Organising for Africa (OfA)