Banyamulenge in the Netherlands protested today on 11 April 2014 against a plan to forcibly return them to Kinshasa or others provinces in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The demonstration was attended by roughly 150 persons, including women and children, in front of the Immigration Office in The Hague (Rijswijk). Among the demonstrators, there were members of others communities from the DRC who came to support their friends and compatriots to express their anger and concern. Demonstrators were concerned by the plan of Netherlands authorities in charge of refugees and asylum seekers’ protection to send them back as they consider the situation in DRC is being stable and less discriminating towards the Banyamulenge community.
As told by one of the representatives of Ubuntu Organization regrouping almost the Banyamulenge community in Europe, they gathered to protest and show their fears when returned to DRC considering the current socio-political context as yet stable and discriminating them in one way or another. Netherlands authorities are likely to judge in a near future that sending Banyamulenge in Kinshasa or others provinces is safer for them than it would be in Eastern DRC provinces. In addition, protesters took the opportunity to express their concern over Kinyamulenge language test that is part of the asylum procedure for identifying clearly the origin of asylum seekers.
Briefly, the question looks as a paradox if slightly analyzed as the Netherlands authorities, through an investigation undertaken few months ago, have found Banyamulenge military and politicians working and residing in Kinshasa or some parts of the country. However, the Ubuntu representative told me that most of these reported people, Banyamulenge living in Kinshasa are unlikely ordinary citizens as they went and still live in Kinshasa with their security personnel. Furthermore, though having security personnel, it seems that their safety appears to be uncertain based on the experience of the past. Though looking secured through their positions and appointments, last time some of them were obliged to seek further safety as they were allegedly considered as supporting M23. For further details, here the link of Ubuntu Organization and how they consider the security question.
With regards to language test, the representative and demonstrators feel unfairly treated as analysts of the Kinyamulenge language are mostly people speaking either Kinyarwanda or Kirundi. Therefore, they expressed a fear of being analyzed by people who may tend to confuse different concepts from their own language and that of Kinyamulenge; while language is seemingly a key factor to determine someone’s origin. Below is the link of how Ubuntu organization and demonstrators suggest handling the matter. The blog has its viewpoints about the security paradox and how can it be undertaken in the short run. Nevertheless, as matter of fulfilling the promise to those who were interested in the protest, it decided to link readers with the case. I promise to elaborate in short next week. I apologize for any inconveniency.
Ntanyoma R. Delphin
Twitter account @delphino12