The call was issued by the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson; his Special Representative in the DRC, Martin Kobler; the United States Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region and the DRC, Russ Feingold; the Special Representative of the African Union, Boubacar Diarra; and the European Union Senior Coordinator for the Great Lakes Region, Koen Vervaeke.It comes after a representative of the group, known by its French acronym FDLR, stated in a letter that the rebels would lay down their weapons on 30 May 2014 in two locations in North and South Kivu provinces. 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, according to a joint statement by the envoys. “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,” said the statement.It noted that 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 Congolese national army and the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC (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, it added.
“I have been on the phone constantly to organisations over the past two weeks and they are extremely concerned that the people least able to live without their support – sick children, people with disabilities, families in need – are the ones who will most affected by this crisis in both confidence and donations.” FUNDRAISERS HAVE REPORTED a decline in donations by up to 40 per cent in the last two weeks, in light of the negative publicity surrounding the Section 38 agencies in general and the CRC controversy in particular.The estimated drop comes from Fundraising Ireland — the association for professional fundraisers — which says the finding is based on a straw poll and conversations with fundraising teams around the country.CEO Anne Hanniffy said the ongoing revelations were having a devastating impact on Irish charities, and that there were serious long-term implications for trust and confidence in the sector.“There is no denying but that this is one of the most serious periods faced by the Irish not-for-profit sector,” she said. Hanniffy said all charities should publish their accounts on-line as a matter of urgent public duty. She also called on the Government to establish the Charity Regulator within the first quarter of 2014.Read: Charities regulator to be in operation by 2014More: 7 things we learned from the CRC’s grilling by the PACRelated: Mater Hospital ‘refutes’ suggestions of operating a CRC ‘phantom fund’