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Rwanda urged to Respect freedom of expression and end arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances

Human Rights Council adopts Universal Periodic Review outcome on Rwanda

Amnesty International welcomes Rwanda’s support of the majority of recommendations made during the review, in particular all the recommendations to protect and respect freedom of expression, including by reviewing and revising existing legislation.

In this respect, the organization urges Rwanda to publicly announce a timeframe for revising the genocide ideology law as well as for the consideration of amendments to the media law by Parliament. It also strongly encourages Rwanda to review related laws and amend the sectarianism law in line with international standards.

Amnesty International is concerned that despite Rwanda’s recognition of the shortcomings of the genocide ideology law, the authorities continue to use it to prosecute government critics, including journalists. It urges Rwanda to ensure that legislative changes are accompanied by prompt reviews of past cases – including of opposition politicians and journalists convicted to lengthy prison sentences for merely expressing their opinions without advocating violence.

Amnesty International also urges Rwanda to uphold its commitment to undertake credible investigations into reports of harassment of journalists and to prosecute where the evidence warrants. Rwanda could demonstrate this commitment by re-opening investigations into the killing of journalist Jean-Leonard Rugambage on 24 June 2010 and by following all leads.

Abductions, enforced disappearances and incommunicado detention – rare in Rwanda in recent years – increased in 2010 as the authorities investigated a spate of grenade attacks. Amnesty International deeply regrets Rwanda’s rejection of the recommendation to investigate cases of arbitrary arrest and detention, and enforced disappearances. Rwanda states that it intends to ratify the Convention on the Protection of Enforced Disappearances, yet remains unwilling to investigate such cases.

Amnesty International urges Rwanda to determine the whereabouts and fate of any individual subjected to enforced disappearance. Anyone arbitrarily detained should be granted access to a lawyer and charged with a recognizable criminal offence, or released. Those held incommunicado should be given access to relatives and lawyers. It also calls on Rwanda to respond promptly to communications from human rights organizations and family members regarding such cases.

Amnesty International welcomes Rwanda’s acceptance of recommendations to issue a standing invitation to the UN Special Procedures and urge the government to act on this without delay.

Background

The UN Human Rights Council adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Rwanda on 7 June 2011 at its 17th session.

[Amnesty International]

 

June 18, 2011   No Comments

UN Human Rights Council adopts outcome of Universal Periodic Review on Rwanda

7 June 2011 – United Nations Human Rights Council.

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Rwanda

Summary

Tharcisse Karugarma, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Rwanda, was grateful to the Council for the opportunity to make further clarification on a few issues that remained pending when the report was formerly presented to the Council’s Working Group. Of 73 recommendations made under the Universal Periodic Review, 3 were rejected by Rwanda because they were premised on wrong grounds. Most of the recommendations were accepted by Rwanda and were being implemented or were in the pipeline for implementation. The Rwanda Government benefited from the recommendations and would cooperate with the Human Rights Council in its quest to protect and promote human rights in Rwanda.

In the discussion on Rwanda, speakers commended Rwanda on implementing many of the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review and thanked Rwanda for the clarification provided regarding the recommendations. Speakers appreciated the progress Rwanda had made in achieving its Millennium Development Goals and in working towards reconciliation after the genocide in 1994. Several speakers stated that Rwanda should reform the “genocide ideology laws” and raised concern about the Batwa community in Rwanda.

Speaking in the general debate on the Universal Periodic Review of Rwanda were Algeria, Cuba, Morocco, Republic of Moldova, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda. Also taking the floor were Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Society for Threatened Peoples, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Recontre Africaine pour la défense des droits de l’homme, Action international pour la paix et le développment dans la région des Grands Lacs, and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.

General Debate

THARCISSE KARUGARAMA, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Rwanda, said Rwanda was grateful to the Council for the opportunity to make further clarification on a few issues that remained pending when the report was formerly presented to the Council’s Working Group. Rwanda accepted most of the recommendations made by the Working Group, but observed that many were made several times and thus were merged and harmonized. That was why, according to Rwanda, the total number of distinct recommendations were 73, although the Working Group’s report referred to 81 recommendations. Of all the recommendations that were made, Rwanda rejected only three because they were based on totally wrong or false premises.

Recommendation number 81.1 asked Rwanda to assure that children under 18 were not recruited into any armed group and that child recruitment into the local defense forces or any armed group was prohibited. The Minister said there were no armed groups in Rwanda, the professional army was made up of adult men and women and the Local Defense Force had undergone tremendous reforms to bring it into harmony with national objectives. Recommendation number 81.2 covered Rwanda’s work to ensure that concrete measures were taken in addressing the problem of human trafficking. Rwanda rejected this recommendation because Rwanda was not known as a place where trafficking took place. Rwanda had signed all international conventions against human trafficking and had put in place a policy of community policing.

Recommendation number 81.3 about measures to improve access of minority groups and indigenous peoples to basic social services was also rejected. While there were marginalized and vulnerable groups in Rwanda, there were no indigenous people in Rwanda. Rwanda also rejected recommendation number 80.4, that it should investigate cases of arbitrary arrests and detentions; recommendation number 80.15, that Rwanda should adopt concrete measures to avoid discrimination and protect the right of people of the Batwa Community; and recommendation number 80.16, that Rwanda should ensure religious minorities were able to freely practice their respective religions.

Mr. Karugarama stated that the Rwandan Government had benefited from the recommendations and would in particular cooperate with the UN Human Rights Council in its quest to protect and promote human rights in Rwanda. Most of the recommendations were accepted by Rwanda and were being implemented or were in the pipeline for implementation. This was except for the three that were rejected outright on 24 January 2011 and a further three that had now been rejected out of the 16 that needed further consultations. There was no doubt that Rwanda had made tremendous progress in its reform portfolio and the Universal Periodic Review process would help Rwanda to identify existing gaps that still needed Rwanda’s attention.

MOHAMED SALIM SAMAR (Algeria) thanked the Minister from Rwanda for the useful information he provided on Rwanda. Rwanda’s commitment to the Universal Periodic Review process had been shown throughout the process and they had accepted many of the recommendations put before them, including three from Algeria. Rwanda had made significant progress toward the respect for human rights, economic growth and national reconciliation that deserved recognition and Algeria wished them every success in the implementation of the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review.

YUMIRKA FERNANDEZ PALACIOS (Cuba) said Cuba welcomed the spirit of great responsibility shown by Rwanda during the Universal Periodic Review process and thanked Rwanda for the additional information provided at the appropriate moment. Cuba fully agreed with the conclusions of the report that Rwanda had made significant progress in the promotion and protection of human rights. Despite the negative impacts and consequences of the 1994 genocide and the challenges, the country had made huge progress. Rwanda intended to achieve a number of Millennium Development Goals even before 2015, including those relating to education, health and the environment. Cuba commended Rwanda for accepting a great majority of recommendations, particularly on socio-economic development and improvement of access to health by women and children. Cuba wished Rwanda and its people great success.

MOHAMED ACHGALOU (Morocco) said Morocco welcomed the delegation of Rwanda. After listening to the statement, the Council was assured that Rwanda would implement the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review. Morocco believed that accepting so many recommendations was an act of good will which underscored Rwanda’s commitment to the Universal Periodic Review process. Morocco welcomed the steps forward made by Rwanda, especially in assuring the rights of the most vulnerable, particularly women. With regards to the 1994 genocide, Morocco paid tribute to the efforts at national reconciliation, which had set Rwanda on a path to stability and peace. Morocco welcomed the progress toward the Millennium Development Goals made by Rwanda, which would assure that it became a space of peace, economic development and stability.

VLADIMIR CHIRINCIUC (Republic of Moldova) thanked the delegation of Rwanda for its constructive participation in the Universal Periodic Review process and for the additional information they supplied today. The Universal Periodic Review of Rwanda had allowed the Moldovan delegation as well as other interested delegations to have a dialogue with the representatives of the Rwandan Government with respect to the challenges that their country faced in the field of human rights and to formulate appropriate recommendations. The Republic of Moldova noted that Rwanda accepted many of the recommendations put to it, including two recommendations from the Republic of Moldova on women’s rights and domestic violence and speeding up the process of legal reform. This showed Rwanda’s engagement with the Universal Periodic Review process. The Republic of Moldova was encouraged by the determination of the Rwandan Government to pursue efforts to strengthen democratic society and to accept many of the recommendations.

BEATRICE IKEKU-THOMAS (Nigeria) said Nigeria thanked the Government of Rwanda for its commitments and efforts in the promotion and protection of rights of its citizens. Nigeria was encouraged by the acceptance of most of the recommendations by Rwanda, which was reflective of the commitment of the Government to engage with the human rights system, regardless of numerous challenges experienced. Nigeria encouraged Rwanda not to relent in its efforts but to see to the implementation of the recommendations accepted towards the realisation of the human rights of its people and the attainment of its Millennium Development Goals. Nigeria then called on the international community to render all the needed assistance to Rwanda in this regard.

MOUHAMADOU LAMINE THIAW (Senegal) said Senegal appreciated the spirit of openness and dialogue with which the Rwandan delegation engaged in the process of the Universal Periodic Review. It was in that spirit that Rwanda had accepted many of the recommendations, especially as they related to women and children and improving the quality of life of its population. The implementation of the recommendations, along with efforts already accomplished in terms of socio-economic issues, would bring Rwanda closer to achieving its Millennium Development Goals. Senegal noted with interest the clarifications and complementary information provided by Rwanda, including the information related to the fight against all forms of discrimination. The delegation of Senegal wished the Government of Rwanda success in the process of the Universal Periodic Review and in achieving its development goals.

ROSSETTE NYIRINKINDI KATUNGYE (Uganda) congratulated the Government of Rwanda for participating in the Universal Periodic Review process, and Uganda was satisfied with the Rwandan delegation’s consideration of the recommendations made to them, particularly with the clarity given regarding their intended course of action in relation to each recommendation. The Ugandan delegation noted that almost 20 recommendations were already in the process of being implemented and that the Government of Rwanda had accepted almost all of the recommendations given to it. This was indicative of the State’s commitment to the full realization of universal human rights for its citizenry. Uganda also appreciated the reasons given for rejecting three of the recommendations. Uganda was pleased to learn that the Government of Rwanda supported the recommendation to provide basic education for all by 2015. In this regard, Uganda encouraged the Government to continue to give the implementation of this recommendation the priority it deserved.

PHILIPPE DAM, of Human Rights Watch, said that Human Rights Watch welcomed the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Rwanda, in particular its recommendations on freedom of expression, legal reforms and the independence of the judiciary. Human Rights Watch remained seriously concerned that freedom of expression was not respected in practice, as evidenced by recent cases of imprisonment and detention of journalists and leaders of opposition parties and lack of progress in the investigation into the murder of the Vice President of Democratic Green Party. Human Rights Watch welcomed the Government’s statement that the Government was reviewing the 2008 “genocide ideology law” and the 2009 media law and encouraged it to amend those laws as soon as possible. The Government should also ensure that the National Human Rights Commission refrained from interfering with the work of independent human rights organizations.

MARIANNE LILLIEBJERG, of Amnesty International, welcomed Rwanda’s support of the vast majority of the recommendations made during the review and urged Rwanda to publicly announce a timeframe for revising the Genocide Ideology Law and the 2009 Media Law. Amnesty International was concerned that authorities continued to use the law to prosecute those engaging in government criticism, including journalists. Amnesty International urged Rwanda to uphold its commitment to undertake credible investigations into reports of harassment of journalists and to prosecute where the evidence warranted. Amnesty International regretted the rejection of the recommendation to investigate cases of arbitrary arrest and detention, and enforced disappearances.

CAROLINE DE BRUIN, of Society of Threatened People, was concerned by Rwanda’s non-ratification of ILO Convention 169 concerning indigenous and tribal communities, linked to the non-recognition of the existence of minorities and indigenous peoples, in particular the Batwa. The refusal of the State to recognize the Batwa as a minority or indigenous group left the Batwa community with no legal status or recognition and, being numerically small, they were prevented from actively engaging in political activities at the national level. The Society of Threatened People called on the State to reconsider its decision not to support the recommendation laid out in the report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review to intensify measures to improve access by minority groups and indigenous people to basic social services such as health, education, employment and occupation.

HASSAN SHIRE SHEIKH, of Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, in a joint statement, commended Rwanda for its acceptance of the majority of recommendations made during the Universal Periodic Review and encouraged it to go through with their implementation. They also commended Rwanda for accepting the recommendation to ensure the safety of all human rights activists operating in the country and looked forward to seeing the implementation of this commitment. The revision of the Media Law currently under way was also a positive step, particularly if defamation was to be decriminalised. The non-governmental organizations noted with concern the continued use of this and other criminal charges as a means to obstruct freedom of expression in Rwanda. A visit by the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression would be welcome. They hoped that the Rwandan Government would continue to seize the opportunity presented by the Universal Periodic Review to engage with civil society to fully implement its recommendations and to make use of their expertise and commitment.

BIRO DIAWARA, of Rencontre africaine pour la défense des droits de l’homme, appreciated the efforts that Rwanda had made in terms of social fabric and the economy, as well as in implementing political and institutional reforms. These had ensured that Rwanda was now a world leader in the representation of women in parliament. Rwanda had abolished the death penalty and made a significant contribution to peace efforts worldwide. All social strata of Rwandan society should be involved in discussions of peace and reform, in order to provide a framework that was beneficial to social and economic dialogue, and contributed to national cohesion. Recontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme encouraged Rwanda to revise the 2009 law, put an end to restrictions imposed on human rights defenders and encouraged Rwanda to pursue cooperation with the Council.

MAURICE KATALA, of Action internationale pour la paix et le développement dans la région des Grands Lacs (AIPD), said that Rwanda had been formally and repeatedly implicated by the United Nations, the Security Council, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide. One of the perpetrators of these crimes, General Nkudabatware, benefited from the protection of President Paul Kagame. The mapping report of the United Nations recently echoed grave violations of human rights committed by Rwanda in the Congo and the Great Lakes region. The adoption of this Universal Periodic Review would be an affront to the memory of the 8 million Congolese victims and taint the credibility of the Human Rights Council. Action Internationale recommended that the Council reject the report of Rwanda from the Universal Periodic Review Working Group as it was a State that was de-stabilizing the Great Lakes region.

The Representative of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, noted the willingness of Rwanda to revise its media laws in accordance with international standards, ensure freedom of expression by protecting journalists and human rights defenders, revise genocide laws to meet international standards and reform the judiciary while ending the gacaca court system. Rwanda had a long way to go in achieving the effective implementation of these recommendations and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative questioned the reality of progress given allegations of brutality and miscarriage of justice in the treatment of dissidents. Looking ahead, the implementation must be the letter and sprit for the four years before the next Universal Periodic Review of this country. Rwanda’s implementation of human rights recommendations would not have their full effect until fundamental freedoms were guaranteed within the country and the Government should ensure that free speech and dissent were permitted, that civil society and human rights defenders had the freedom to associate and that space was available for free political participation.

THARCISSE KARUGARMA, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Rwanda, said he appreciated the statements from partner States and the comments made by non-governmental organizations. With regards to the non-governmental organizations, Mr. Karugarma said he had invited Special Rapporteurs and non-governmental organizations to visit Rwanda. Comments from several non-governmental organizations were unfortunate, sometimes careless and did not reflect the reality on the ground, but Mr. Karugarma stated he would not dwell in a combative mood. Running a country in a way to help people was difficult, and legislative reforms could not satisfy all parties.

The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review on Rwanda.

June 17, 2011   1 Comment

Human Rights groups launch legal action to force South African government to revoke the refugee status of Rwandan criminal General Kayumba Nyamwasa

Lt Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa: played key role in genocide against Hutus

Lt Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa: played key role in genocide against Hutus

Two human rights groups said Tuesday they have launched legal action to force South Africa to revoke the refugee status of former Rwandan army general Faustin Nyamwasa.

The groups said South Africa was violating its own refugees act and international law by granting exile to Nyamwasa, who has been accused of playing a catalytic role in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

“Refugee law is intended to protect the vulnerable, not those who are the cause of the vulnerability,” said Alan Wallis, a lawyer at the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, which brought the case together with the Consortium for Refugees and Migrant Rights.

Officials at South Africa’s home affairs ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the case.

Nyamwasa, formerly part of Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s inner circle, fled to South Africa in February after being accused of corruption and abandoning his post as Rwanda’s envoy to India.

He was shot and wounded outside his Johannesburg home four months later in what South Africa’s foreign ministry described as an assassination attempt by foreign “security operatives”.

Pretoria recalled its ambassador to Rwanda in the wake of the incident.

Nyamwasa’s presence has caused diplomatic headaches for South Africa.

Spain and France are both seeking to extradite him for his alleged role in the Rwandan genocide, in which 800,000 people were killed.

Rwanda also wants to bring him home to serve a 24-year prison sentence after a military court tried him in absentia on charges of desertion, defamation and threatening state security.

Nyamwasa was tried with three other former top officials who co-authored a document slamming what they said was the repression of freedoms in Rwanda since Kagame’s arrival in 1994.

He also faces terrorism charges for allegedly masterminding grenade attacks last year in Kigali in the run-up to presidential elections.

Nyamwasa served as chief of staff in the Rwandan army and is accused of orchestrating the shooting down of an aircraft carrying former president Juvenal Habyarimana — an event that heightened ethnic tensions and helped spark the genocide.

He is also accused of involvement in the killing of civilians in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, including 2,500 Hutu refugees.

[AFP]

June 15, 2011   1 Comment

RNC calls upon the USA and the UK to support peaceful and democratic reforms in Rwanda

par Theogene Rudasingwa.

Theogene Rudasingwa

RNC calls upon the United States and the U.K. Governments, and the rest of the international community, to use the leverage of their strong links with the government of Rwanda to support democratic change and respect for fundamental human rights by the state institutions.

We recommend the following measures are necessary to convey an unequivocal message to the Government of Rwanda that it must carry out reforms to ensure respect of the legitimate demands of the citizens of Rwanda for freedom:

(a) Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners;

(b) Demanding an end to persecution (including arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture; involuntary disappearances and extra-judicial killings) of government opponents and critics and their relatives;

(c) An end to the practice of channeling the development assistance directly into budget support, and conditioning the development assistance that the UK, USA and international community provide to the Rwanda government on political reforms, including opening up political space;

(d) Using regional and United Nations human rights mechanisms to ensure that President Kagame and his security officials are held accountable for gross human rights violations that are committed against innocent citizens;

(e) Encouraging the government of Rwanda to agree to a comprehensive and unconditional dialogue with the opposition on ways for resolving the political impasse, engulfing Rwanda;

f) Calling on the United Nations, the African Union, UNHCR, the international community and member states to prevent the impending application of the cessation clause (end of 2011) for the Rwandan refugees, and instead support creating an enabling environment within Rwanda for their voluntary and peaceful repatriation; and,

g) Supporting a political and peaceful process for ending the long standing DRC-based rebellion by Rwandan armed groups.

Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa
Co-ordinator
Interim Committee
Rwanda National Congress (RNC)

May 13, 2011   4 Comments

Unprecedented Symposium on Rwanda – London May14th

Symposium on Rwanda: Learning from the Past – Analysing the Present – Visualising the Future.

Roundtable discussions that will bring together various insights to the examination of Rwandan ongoing issues through lively, informal exchanges that will involve the audience.

Where: at Oxford House – Main Hall Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green, London E2 6HG

When: London: Saturday 14th May 2011 from 11.00 am to 5.00 pm
Rwanda issues that will be discussed include:

● Political participation,
● Human Rights,
●Justice,
● Reconciliation and
●Inter-Rwandan dialogue.

Moderator: Mr. Gervais Condo (RNC)

Panellists:

  1. Mr. Gervais Condo – Tolerance and reconciliation
  2. Professor Emmanuel Hakizimana – Lopsided and conflicting priorities between Education and Political Image Building.
    Competition between luxury living for leaders and social emancipation.
  3. Mr. Paul Rusesabagina – Political participation:
  4. Dr Theogene Rudasingwa (RNC)
  5. Mr. Sixbert Musangafura (FDU)
  6. Ms. Prudentienne Seward – Reconciliation and Forgiveness: (PAX)
  7. Mr. Jonathan Musonera – Reconciliation and Forgiveness (RNC)
  8. Miss Raissa Ujeneza – Young People Participation
  9. Dr Gerald Gahima – Justice and Remembrance: (RNC)
  10. Lt General Kayumba Nyamwasa & Col. Patrick Karegeya – Peace and Security: (RNC)
  11. Mrs Marie Lyse Numuhoza (Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom)

Master of Ceremony on the day: Mr. Noble Marara
All Rwandans and friends are invited at that historic conference which will be held at: Oxford House – Main Hall Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green, London E2 6HG

To book your place, please send contact: rwandannationalcongress.uk@gmail.com

May 10, 2011   No Comments

Kagame-led genocide: Congressional Briefing to Address Justice and Stability in the Congo and Great Lakes Region of Africa on March 2nd

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) released the official “Report of the Mapping Exercise” in October 2010. The report documents “the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed within the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo between March 1993 and June 2003”.

Human Rights Watch Executive Director, Kenneth Roth says: “If followed by strong regional and international action, this report could make a major contribution to ending the impunity that lies behind the cycle of atrocities in the Great Lakes region of Africa.

Philip J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs said: “The United States is firmly committed to helping the DRC and other nations in the region take positive steps to end the corrosive cycle of violence and impunity.

The United States has a key role to play in making sure that justice is delivered to the people of Central Africa. US tax dollars fund US allies, Rwanda and Uganda who are deeply implicated in mass atrocities, crimes against humanity, war crimes and possibly genocide in the Congo.

The American taxpayers should be assured that their tax dollars are not supporting mass atrocities in Africa and perpetuating a war, which has killed an estimated 6 million people, making it the deadliest conflict since World War II. The Congressional briefing can serve as a first step in delivering justice to the people in the heart of Africa.

AFJN is co-hosting a Congressional Briefing to shed light on the UN Mapping Exercise Report which documents atrocities in Democratic Republic of Congo.

This event is free and open to the public.

What: Briefing on… the UN Mapping Exercise Report and its Implications for US Policy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region
Who: African Great Lakes Advocacy Coalition, composed of the following organisations:

– Africa Faith and Justice Network,
– Friends of the Congo,
– Foreign Policy in Focus,
– African Great Lakes Action Network,
– Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation,
– Foundation for Freedom and Democracy in Rwanda,
– Congo Global Action Coalition,
– International Humanitarian Law Institute of St. Paul,
– Mobilization for Peace and Justice in Congo.

Speakers:

– Brian Endless, Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation
– Jacques Bahati, Africa Faith and Justice Network
– Nita Evele, Congo Global Action Coalition
– Professor Nii Akuetteh, Founder, The Democracy & Conflict Research Institute, DCRI; and Founding Executive Director of OSIWA
– Emira Woods, Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute of Policy Studies

When: Wednesday, March 2, 2011; 2 P.M. – 4 P.M.

Where:

Room 2226 Rayburn House Office Building
45 Independence Ave SW
Washington, DC 20515

Briefing is March 2, but beginning today, PLEASE URGE THE REPRESENTATIVE FROM YOUR CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT TO ATTEND: Congressional Briefing to Address Justice and Stability in the Congo and Great Lakes Region of Africa.

[AFJN]

February 19, 2011   No Comments

Rudasingwa talks about General Kagame’s crimes and systematic human rights abuses in Rwanda (audio)

From interview offered by Rudasingwa to WBEZ on Feb 07,2011.

[wpaudio url=”http://rwandinfo.com/audio/20110207-rudasingwa-about-kagame-crimes-and-human-rights-abuses-wbez.mp3″ text=”Rudasingwa talks about General Kagame’s crimes and systematic human rights abuses in Rwanda” dl=”0″]

Theogene Rudasingwa was Chief of Staff to Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and served as Rwanda’s Ambassador to the U.S. He now lives in exile in the United States. Rudasingwa believes the so called Rwandan “Miracle” is a myth. He brings a rare insiders glimpse into the Kagame regime. Theogene says he left the Kagame regime because of a crisis of conscience.

[WBEZ]

February 16, 2011   No Comments

Rwanda’s Reproductive Bill to Sterilize Disabled People

Many Rwandans and Observers express their worries about the current policy of RPF-Kagame regime to sterilize nearly one millions poor Rwandans. But sadly, people have almost forgotten that, two years ago, Rwandan Parliament has drafted a law requiring compulsory HIV testing and requiring the sterilization of mentally disabled people.
At that time, Human Rights Watch had condemned the move in these terms (July1,2009):

(New York) – The Rwandan Parliament should remove provisions in a draft law that would mandate compulsory HIV testing and require the sterilization of all individuals with intellectual disabilities, Human Rights Watch said today. The organization said that the provisions, in a reproductive health bill, are deeply flawed and violate the government’s obligations to uphold and protect human rights.

Compulsory HIV testing and forced sterilization are counterproductive to the Rwandan government’s goal of improved reproductive health,” said Joe Amon, health and human rights director at Human Rights Watch. “Provisions in the current bill that increase stigma, rely on coercion, and deny individuals their reproductive rights should be removed.

Human Rights Watch said that the reproductive health bill, drafted by the parliamentary committee whose duties include promoting social welfare, contains three particularly troublesome provisions related to HIV/AIDS testing. First it provides that all individuals who plan to marry must undergo HIV testing and provide a certificate beforehand. Second, married individuals are required to be tested for HIV/AIDS upon the request of their spouses. Third, if a physician finds it “necessary” for a child or an incapacitated person to be tested for HIV/AIDS, he or she may conduct the test without seeking consent and may show the result to the parent, guardian, or care provider.

Ensuring that all HIV testing is confidential, conducted with informed consent, and accompanied by counseling is widely recognized as integral to effective HIV prevention and treatment strategies. Mandatory HIV testing and disclosure have been condemned by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, the World Health Organization, and the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights as violations of the right to privacy and counterproductive to effective HIV/AIDS control.

These organizations have also stated that mandatory testing and compulsory disclosure can put women at increased risk of abuse and undermine public trust in the health care system. Research by Human Rights Watch on HIV testing has documented significant abuses associated with coercive testing programs.

The proposed bill also obligates the Rwandan Government “to suspend fertility for mentally handicapped people.” Systematic, forced sterilization has been recognized as a crime against humanity by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

In May 2008, Rwanda ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The convention upholds the rights of persons with disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, to equal rights. Human Rights Watch said that laws on sterilization, including for persons with disabilities, must respect both a person’s right to bodily integrity and informed consent to medical procedures. Decision-making about sterilization must take into account each individual’s capacity to give informed consent, and where such capacity is lacking an individualized consideration must be made of the best interests of the person concerned.

“While Rwanda has made notable progress in fighting stigma and responding to the AIDS epidemic, and has pledged to advance the rights of persons with disability, forced sterilization and mandatory HIV testing do not contribute to those goals,” Amon said. “These elements of the bill undermine reproductive health goals and undo decades of work to ensure respect for reproductive rights.”

One extra worry for all of us is that the architects of these eugenic sterilization laws in Rwanda may have been inspired by the Nazis. Does General Kagame’s regime which, according to experts, has already claimed the death of more than six millions in Rwanda and RDC, want at all costs to beat the world record of cruelty?

February 12, 2011   1 Comment

Rise up against tyranny and impunity in Rwanda and DRC

Jambo ASBL calls Rwandan and Congolese communities all over Europe to rise up against tyranny and impunity

Join us all this Monday, December 6, 2010
at 12:30 pm
in Rue Mont des Arts 1000 Brussels, Belgium.

Between 6 and 8 million Congolese and Rwandan civilians mostly women and children were massacred during the past 20 years in the region of the Great Lakes. It is neither more nor less than the greatest conflict in the world since the Second World War.

It is a hard contrast against such a particularly gruesome history that the man behind this tragedy which continues to unfold today, General Paul Kagame, was invited to take part in European Development Days.

The responsibility for his army, RPA, has come to light through various reports as well as by numerous testimonies of survivors of its atrocities. The latest being a report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights UN, published October 1st 2010, accusing its troops of committing crimes against humanity, which even might be defined as genocide, in Congo. Already in 2002 an UN-appointed expert produced a report and addressed it to the UN, confirming that millions of deaths in Congo “are a direct consequence of the occupation by Rwanda and Uganda.”

Against this backdrop, several associations of Rwandan and Congolese Diaspora in Belgium including ASBL Jambo invite members of both communities and all other citizens of the world enamoured of equity, justice and freedom to come and express their outrage and denounce this situation.

Rwandan associations insist more particularly on the fact that on the 24th of June this year, hundreds of Rwandans in Kigali had freed the barrier of fear in order to denounce human rights violations of which they are still victims today. The demonstration was violently repressed and leaders of political parties who called for demonstrations, Bernard Ntaganda and Victoire Ingabire, are still imprisoned in Rwanda today. However the last one has undergone torture from her first days of detention.

This is a unique opportunity for the Rwandan Diaspora in countries where freedom of expression is permitted, to relay the warning cries of its compatriots back home. Otherwise, we are facing a risk of a definitive breakdown between citizens who stayed in Rwanda suffering from oppression in their everyday’s life and the Rwandans in exile who were lucky to escape, even though they still suffer severe consequences.

Rwandan and Congolese people have suffered enough over the course of their history. They deserve better than regimes with presidents tearing their the citizens against each other and who, despite human losses already experienced in the region, continues to detain, torture and kill critical voices.

Remarkably enough, Kagame’s regime continues to be the source of instability in the African Great Lakes’ region and continues to pose the risks of resurgence of extreme violence.

How many rebel movements are currently active in and around Congo that are funded by Rwanda and Uganda?

The EU must take its responsibilities, as Jose Louis Zapatero did in July 2010. He has refused to accept General Kagame and said NO to the nature of the double standard which is publicly advocating a message of peace and condemnation of the most serious violations of human rights, while receiving in honour behind scene the perpetrators of those atrocities.

Furthermore, the association Jambo and its partners request the Belgian authorities to arrest every official of Kigali regime that will come as a member of the delegation accompanying the Rwanda president and who is within the scope of the arrest warrants issued in 2008 by the Spanish courts for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide crimes.

On 6 Dec 2010 at 12:30, at Rue Mont des Arts in 1000 Brussels, just be there and express yourself loud and clear that it is time to turn the darkest pages of our past and that there is an urgent need to rebuild our countries so viable in terms of the economy, politics and especially in social welfare.

On behalf of ASBL Jambo
Placide Kayumba,
Coordinator
+32 485 198 030
info@jamboasbl.com
www.jamboasbl.com

December 3, 2010   3 Comments

Rwanda Greens Vice president murder taken to UN

Our colleague Frank Habineza, founder and leader of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, and also President of the African Greens Federation and Co-Africa Representative to Global Greens Coordination (GGC), has circulated a letter to the UN Secretary General, requesting an Independent Investigation into the alleged assassination of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda’s First Vice President, Andre Kagwa RWISEREKA, who was found be-headed on 14 July 2010.

The letter comes from his family. The Rwandan Opposition Consultative Council also demanded an independent inquiry in July 2010 and Human Rights Watch called for an Independent Autopsy.

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda seeks justice for its Vice President.

There is a lot of intimidation and threats directed at Green Party members in Kigali and a serious character assassination and dehumanization campaign against the Green Party Leader (Frank Habineza), accusing him of being a non-national. It is thought that there is a plan to overthrow him from the Party Leadership and replace him with a stooge and then register the Party. The Green Party was unable to compete in the recent rigged elections in Rwanda, because its attempts to register as a party were blocked by Kagame’s goons.

It it the duty of all Green Parties and greens to continue to stand with Rwanda and the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda.

It is to the shame of the Commonwealth that the Secretary General is not responding to letters on this matter. Sadly, it seems that the Commonwealth no longer cares about human rights, only about commerce.

[Mabinogogiblog]

November 30, 2010   1 Comment