The Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, also known as the 1951 Refugee Convention, is a United Nations multilateral treaty that defines who is a refugee and sets out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations that grant
The Convention builds on Article 14 of the 1948 Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, which recognizes the right of persons to seek asylum from persecution in other countries. A refugee may enjoy rights and benefits in a state in addition to those provided for in the Convention.
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Definition of a Refugee
Article 1 of the Convention, as amended by the 1967 Protocol, defines a refugee as:
“A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such
fear, is unwilling to return to it.”
Who Is Francoise Uwamahoro?
The story of Francoise Uwamahoro (pictured) raises questions as to whether the international community really considers lives of Rwandan Refugees living in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) to be of any value at all.
On July 23, 2015, Francoise Uwamahoro had a miscarriage due to lack of medical care inside the Kisangani transit camp, while a man named Kanimba died in Walungu after weeks of agony.
Since then, reliable sources within the Red Cross have told more than 800 Rwandan Refugees in the Kisangani Camp that their aid is limited because it is no longer fully supported by the international community.
Rwandan refugees in DR Congo are under the umbrella of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO), which is led by Martin Kobler.
Many Refugees complain that Kobler’s staffers have subjected them to inhuman treatment by forcing them to return to Rwanda in order to satisfy what the oppressive RPF Government in Rwanda wants.
Some have even testified that these staffers threaten to relocate them to remote tropical jungles, where they won’t have any way to communicate their problems to the rest of the world.
Staffers also allegedly confiscate mobile phones from Rwandan refugees to prevent them from exposing the horrors that are taking place inside the camp.
Why Francoise Uwamahoro’s Rights Matter
It is common knowledge that many female refugees are often raped by those who are supposed to protect them (UN personnel).
On July 9, 2015, some refugees aired their concerns to dignitaries who were visiting about what was happening inside their camps (forced starvation, denial of medical care, etc….); however, to date, nothing has been done to remedy all the issues that were raised.
Instead, their plight continues to be ignored, and they are still being treated like animals who enjoy no rights whatsoever: anyone can do anything to them as they please.
Francoise was denied an inalienable right by the international community. She also lost a child (fetus) as a result of the psychological trauma she was subjected to.
She recently testified that some Red Cross personnel confided in her that Kobler had stopped the Red Cross from helping Rwandan refugees in need, which is why they could not attend to her on time.
This is a grave violation of Human Rights and a slap to the concept of “Human Decency.”
Everyone should be prepared to give credence to the story of a “pregnant woman.” Policies should not outweigh the life of a human being — doing so is barbaric and insidious to human existence.
Laws are put in place for a reason. They are to be followed and abided
by to the fullest extent — and they ought not to be applied selectively.
Francoise meets all the requirements required under International Law to benefit from the status of a “refugee,” and yet, she has not been treated like one.
She must be compensated for the trauma of losing her child after being denied medical care due to the inhuman treatment she was subjected to by the UN under the auspices of MONUSCO.