My names are Solomon Gasana. I am a human right advocate based in North Carolina, USA.
I am writing in reference to two refugees men Tutsi-Banyamulenge from East DR Congo namely Didier Ruhindura and Patrick Sebineza who were arrested and imprisoned in Lusaka Central Prison. According to my informant, the two men were arrested early November 2011 (10 months) for no specified reasons in Lusaka after fleeing the Mayukwayukwa Refugee Camp. The two men claim they fled the camp due to insecurity. They said they were attacked and their house put on fire. They decided to go to Lusaka to request special protection at the ministry of Home Affairs. Upon reaching the Ministry of Home Affairs in Lusaka they got arrested and put in Prison. It has been 10 months since they were imprisoned with no conviction. No charges have been brought against them because they have never appeared before the judge and apparently no plan to free them. In fact my informant recently told me, the government of Zambia is planning to deport them to DR Congo or Burundi. This deportation plan is a clear violation of these refugees’ rights and a reckless decision that ignore the danger of insecurity to which these men will be exposed to in their home villages in DR Congo.
I am sure your news paper is aware of the ongoing insecurity in East DR Congo where these two guys come from and the peculiar insecurity to which the Banyamulenge –Tutsi community is exposed to in DR Congo. These two guys lost almost everybody in their families. Taking them back to their villages will certainly endanger their safety. They came to Zambia seeking safety and protection under the international humanitarian law. Now the government of Zambia is not only failing to protect them, but deliberately violating their rights.
My informant recently told me, the two men are suffering serious malnutrition and visibly in poor health. In fact Didier Ruhindura suffered and survived a serious diarrhea.
Mr. Ruhindura and Sebineza need their freedom back. I wrote several messages to the UNHCR and other refugees organizations but no one could help. I suspect there is corruption involved both at the UNHCR and the High Commission for Refugees/ the immigration office etc…, but if no corruption there is deliberate human right abuse in violation of humanitarian laws to which Zambia government is signatory. You can investigate.