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Joint Statement by the Special Envoys for the Great Lakes on the FDLR

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KINSHASA, Dem. Rep. of Congo (DRC) June 2, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Special Envoy of the Secretary-General to the Great Lakes Region Mary Robinson, U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Russ Feingold, Special Representative of the African Union Boubacar Diarra, European Union Senior Coordinator for the Great Lakes Region Koen Vervaeke, and UN Secretary-General's Special Representative in the DRC Martin Kobler note the letter of April 18, 2014, signed by a representative of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), in which the author stated that the FDLR declared it would lay down its weapons on May 30, 2014, in two locations in North and South Kivu. Reports indicate that no such activity took place in South Kivu, and up until now, an insignificant number of low ranking combatants surrendered in North Kivu.

The Envoys recall that the FDLR is an illegitimate armed group that is the subject of UN sanctions, responsible for grave human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, and that has caused untold suffering throughout eastern Congo and in Rwanda.

The Envoys urge further and complete surrender of all FDLR combatants and senior leaders in the coming days. Members of the FDLR who choose not to surrender, renounce violence, and submit to a disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration process will remain subject to military action by the FARDC and MONUSCO, in line with its mandate to neutralize armed groups. Those members of the FDLR who surrender and want to return to Rwanda can be repatriated through the existing DDR/RR process. The Envoys further urge the DRC government to ensure that all of those individuals responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity are held accountable.