APPEAL No.  UKIAT 00075 M (DRC)
Date of hearing: 23 February 2004
Date Determination notified: 18 March 2004
|Secretary of State for the Home Department||APPELLANT|
Tutsi ethnicity – risk on return
"5.59. Since the start of the current conflict in 1998, Tutsis have been subjected to serious human rights abuses, both in Kinshasa and elsewhere, by government security forces and by some citizens for perceived disloyalty to the regime. By 2001, the Government no longer followed a policy of arresting and detaining members of the Tutsi ethnic group without charge and merely on the basis of their ethnicity. Approximately 300 Tutsis who voluntarily entered a government protection site at the national Security Institute in Kinshasa remained there at the end of 2001 awaiting resettlement or reintegration into the community. Human rights abuses committed against Tutsis significantly decreased during 2002 but human rights groups have complained that discrimination against persons perceived to be of Tutsi ethnicity [continues in] rebel-held areas …".
"With regard to the position of ethnic groups in the DRC, Jean-Joseph Mukendi of Mulumba (IDH) explained that people belonging to or merely physically resembling the eastern Tutsi or Hutu communities, usually termed "Rwandans", are in considerable danger of ill treatment and persecution at the hands of the civilian population in Kinshasa. The relatively few Tutsi still present in Kinshasa (the vast majority having previously been resettled abroad) are now living in one particular district known as La Colline, where they enjoy some measure of protection. However, the authorities cannot protect that community against any abuses, although nobody in authority attempts to prevent those who wish from leaving the DRC. He emphasised that the authorities do not generally persecute the Tutsi community in Kinshasa".
"3.4 THE TUTSI COMMUNITY IN KINSHASA
When triumphantly entering Kinshasa on 17 May 1997, at the head of Alliance of Democratic Forces (AFDL) troops, Laurent-Desire Kabila brought a provisional end to a series of multiple developments. When it broke out in September 1996, the Banyamulenge revolt (i.e. of Tutsis who had lived in South Kivu for decades who claimed Congolese nationality) seemed to be of an internal ethno-political nature, and the Government of Rwanda did not delay in using it for its own purposes. This revolt was in fact an ideal opportunity to invade the former Zaire in order to pursue those loyal to the late President Habyarimana, a Hutu as well as the extremist Hutu militias to the Interahamwe.
In July 1998, Laurent-Desire Kabila cut all links with the Rwandan Government whose protégé he had been. This started the war with Rwanda which broke out on 2 August 1998. The first Tutsis were arrested the following day in Kinshasa. From the moment that the rebels (Rwandan and Congolese citizens of Tutsi origin) advanced on Kinshasa and where their presence was even reported in the capital's suburbs, Kinshasa experienced a real pursuit against the Tutsis. People of Tutsi origin or who were presumed to be of Tutsi origin were arrested and a number of them were burnt alive or shot.
In order to excuse themselves, the pogrom participants argued that the Congolese authorities played a significant role in stirring up anti-Tutsi hatred. During this period, a certain number of ministers in fact served as official spokesman to designate the enemy by popular condemnation by labelling them as vermin which should be exterminated at any price.
3.4.2 THE TUTSIS IN KINSHASA: THE CURRENT SITUATION
It emerges from numerous conversations with the Kinois that, in their eyes the Rwandans are the enemy, the occupier and the aggressor. Often the Kinois make no distinction between the Tutsis, the Hutus, the Rwandans and the others. During the August and September 1998 pogrom, an undetermined number of people were subjected to indiscriminate anger simply because of their appearance. The Tutsis are in fact recognised by their great height, their pointed noses and their oval faces.
In order to "protect" them from popular condemnation, the Tutsis in Kinshasa were regrouped in the Kokolo military camp as of November 1998 (July 1999 according to another source), the refugees were sheltered in an "accommodation site for the vulnerable" which was set up in the INSS (National Social Security Institute) Centre and located in the Maman Mobutu Development in Kinshasa/Mont-Ngafula. Thousands of Tutsis were then welcomed by third countries such as Canada, the United States, France and Belgium within the framework of a resettlement programme. The OIM resettled about 1,300 refugees. About 600 other refugees were resettled under the auspices of the International Red Cross Committee.
In spite of its resettlement programmes, about 300 refugees (mostly Tutsis, but also Hutus and individuals from mixed marriages) remained in the INSS Centre where humanitarian organisations such as the ICRC supplied their daily needs. The Centre was run by the Congolese Human Rights Ministry and Congolese police officers provided security.
Ever since the events in Kisangani on 4 May, a slight increase in the number of refugees in the INSS Centre has been observed. Currently, their number has risen to 342; furthermore, 185 Tutsis have been hiding in the Maman Mobutu Centre.
DR H H STOREY