Rwanda: “No case against governement” about Iwawa detention camp, says Kagame (incl audio)
During the press conference of May 11th, reporter Nelson Gatsimbazi raised the question of the detention centre on the Island of Shame (Iwawa), revealed to the world by New York times.
He reminded President Kagame that kidnapping and detaining youths on a remote island against their will and without informing families is against the article 23 of the Constitution. He stressed that the method in which the Iwawa group is taken there was contravening the constitution, saying the victims are “kidnapped” and forced there and the governement could face a court case from parents.
The question which was of great interest for the non-English speaking Rwandan population, was asked in Kinyarwanda but President Kagame refused to answer in the same language, saying he wanted to respond to an article published in English.
Kagame dismissed the reporter Gatsimbazi as confused and told him that he himself was “misleading or misinterpreting the constitution”. He said that most of those youths detained on the Island are transferred from other detention centers and that no case against the governement was possible.
He took the opportunity to dismiss the New York Times article which he described as “pathetic”.
Kagame then directed that one of the Ministers present at the press conference respond to the issue. Internal Security Minister Sheikh Musa Fazil Harelimana was on hand to respond.
According to him, the 1923 law edicted by the Belgian King for Ruanda-Urundi gives the authorities the power to hold homeless and beggars on such a program for as long as seven years. Sheikh Harelimana said those youths are not being imprisoned as reported. It is a way of taking care of them instead until they learn some profession.
Iwawa, the Island of Shame in Rwanda