Rwandan Archbishop Rwaje’s Ecumenical Letter to the UN

Background

After the United Nations Group of Experts delivered its interim report on the crisis in the Eastern Congo in 2012 and prior to the issuance of the final report, the Government of Rwanda issued its usual attacks on the facts, methods and conclusions of the report. On November 6th, 2012, an “Ecumenical Letter” ostensibly authored by several Rwandan clergy was sent to the UN. The letter was signed by, among others, Archbishop Rwaje and Bishop Alexis Bilindabagabo, both Anglicans.

This was despite Archbishop Rwaje protesting to George Conger about the report just four months earlier:

We were not aware of the UN report or any involvement of our retired Bishops as contained in the report. PEAR is in the Proclamation of the Gospel and not in politics between two countries or simply put in politics. We are not able to comment on the report or the names therein.

As you will see, the letter to the UN is very involved in politics, and takes a typical line in critiquing the Group of Experts report, saying: “this unsubstantiated report continues to cause confusion about the situation in the Eastern DRC.”

Roman Catholic Bishops Refuse to Sign the Letter

It is notable that the Catholic bishops of Rwanda refused to sign the letter. A Google translation of a story on their refusal says in part:

According to our colleagues at the journal “Cross”, the Catholic Church in Rwanda would not have signed the letter disputing the report of the UN…the Catholic Church has not joined other religious leaders…Rwanda recently sent a letter to Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. In this letter they doubted “the integrity” of experts…

Father Célestin Hakizimana, Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference of Rwanda sees a “pure lie” [in] the claim that the Catholic Church would be appended to the signatures of this document. “Other religious leaders have prepared the message only without involving the Catholic Church, after they gave this message to the Episcopal Conference of Rwanda to make it our own by signing and [the] bishops have not accepted or signed because the language was political and not suitable for church Catholic in Rwanda.” As a result, “the Catholic Bishops of Rwanda [did not send] any message to the Secretary General of the UN.”

With this background in mind, I will post the full text of the letter next, and hope to add some commentary later, as well as to compare it with the official response of the Government of Rwanda.

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