n Africa Conflict Monthly Monitor - Retiring rebels : the efficacy of Rwanda's reintegration strategy - : East Africa - issue in focus

Volume 2013, Issue 03
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On 1 January 2013, 3,500 combatants of the rebel group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) surrendered to authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), demanding repatriation to Rwanda. The process of repatriation and reintegration to which these rebels will be subjected, was launched by the Rwandan Government following the 1994 genocide and will be conducted the Rwandan Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission (RDRC). This reintegration procedure is one premised on economic initiatives, such as the distribution of service allowances and the financing of vocational projects, with a view to incorporating reintegration into the broader framework of national development and poverty reduction.

While valuable, the RDRC's economic focus is inadequate and unable to facilitate the development of communities in which tensions can abate. Instead, the economic benefits associated with reintegration continue to position former combatants as a group removed from the rest of society. To realise true reintegration, and overcome any residual intra- or inter-community tensions, the strategy must be one that encourages cooperation with all interested actors, including non-governmental organisation (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs), as well as faith groups and educational establishments.

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