Rwanda Information Portal

Human Rights Watch researcher refused permit

Kigali: Ms. Carina Tertsakian, the Human Rights Watch research in Rwanda must leave the country after the Immigration Department dismissed her new application for a work permit, it emerged Friday.

In early March, Ms. Tertsakian saw her original permit cancelled on alleged discrepancies in her documents. The Immigration Department said the signatures on her documents seemed like they have been forged.

A deal was reached between Human Right Watch and government under which she applied for a new permit. The situation was so “delicate” that when contacted by RNA towards end of March and beginning of April for an update on her permit, Ms. Tertsakian said her organization wanted to keep the situation out of public discussion.

The situation is very delicate and my organization prefers that it keeps a low profile, she told RNA.

It has now emerged that her application was rejected by the authorities. Government accuses her of “spreading lies” about the country.

The rights campaign group remains in the bad books of government that it’s former Africa expert, the late Alison Des Forges was banned from coming to Rwanda.

A British national, Ms. Tertsakian reported in Rwanda on January 25 to start work.

Meanwhile, the long awaited appeal verdict in the defamation case against journalist Jean Bosco Gasasira and his UMUVUGIZI newspaper was ruled today.

State prosecutor Jean Bosco Mutangana and Rwanda women network chair Dr. Diane Gahumba dragged the controversial journalist to court following a series of damning articles which alleged a complicated extramarital relationship.

Both Gasasira and his accusers had appealed. The Gasabo appeal court maintained the previous ruling, saying the two sides did not produce any new elements which undermine the lower court’s ruling.

The UMUVUGIZI publisher was found guilty on defamation and evading the privacy of the two government officials. However, the court cleared him of the charges of insult and using abusive language.

In the ruling, court ordered that Mr. Gasasira pays up to Rwf 3million (about US$ 6,000) as damages to the plaintiffs, instead of the Rwf 50million demanded. However, Mr. Gasasira is currently of the country, and it is not clear if he will return.

In other news, weekly tabloid UMUSESO – one of the two suspended for six months has dragged the High Media Council to court, alleging the decision was illegal and politically motivated. The papers were suspended two weeks ago.

UMUSESO editor Didas Gasana filed the case Friday with Nyarugenge court of higher instance, but told reporters that he was just going to court for formality because he did not have faith in the judicial system.

[TNT]

April 25, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda: First Lady Jeannette Kagame Marks Reading Day

Rwandan First Lady, with school children.

Rwandan First Lady, with school children.

KIGALI – First Lady Jeannette Kagame on Friday joined children from several primary schools around Kigali to celebrate the International Reading Day, an event aimed at inculcating the culture of reading into the young children.

The event, which brought the First Lady together with 150 pupils aged between 6 and 12, was held under the theme; ‘Reading is FUNdamental’ and was orgarnised by Imbuto Foundation in collaboration with UNESCO.

Mrs Kagame is the Patron of Imbuto Foundation.

The day’s celebration brought together children in the above age group because, according to early childhood development experts, this is the most crucial stage to influence learning and overall development.

The day which coincides with the marking of the births and deaths of some well-known authors like Shakespeare aims at emphasising that reading as the foundation for life-long learning.

Mrs. Kagame assured the children that they can have fun through reading books just like they have fun from playing other games.

The First Lady called upon parents to also take the first initiative of reading because it is through seeing them do so that children pick interest.

“Helping children to like reading is not so difficult, parents only need at least 30 minutes everyday and read together with their children in order to inculcate into them the culture at an early stage,” she emphasized.

She also urged children and parents alike to make sure that a child gets to at least read one book a term.

Mrs. Kagame also promised to advocate for the setting up of public libraries in every district to increase accessibility of a variety of reading materials.

The Minister of Education, Dr. Charles Murigande, told the children that it was through reading that they would be able to solve problems facing them and their country.

“It is through reading that you can acquire knowledge that can help you to solve problems that come your way, because the more you read, the more you learn how people far away have dealt with similar problems,” said Murigande.

He added that people cannot write when they don’t read, which explains the little written materials in Rwanda.

The Minister told the children an inspirational story of Dr. Ben Carson who was able to become one of the greatest neurosurgeons the world has ever seen through reading hard when he was still young, urging them to emulate him.

Imbuto Foundation will in the near future conduct a reading competition amongst the children who participated in today’s event.

[TNT]

April 25, 2010   No Comments