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Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) Condemns Human Rights Abuses in Rwanda

“The actions of President Paul Kagame over the last six months have in fact shown the government to be committed to ensuring their own political survival and suppressing all political opposition to the RPF.”

London – The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) condemns the recent wave of killings and suppression of press freedoms in the run up to the Presidential election on the 9 August 2010.

In the last two months Jean-Léonard Rugambage, a journalist working for the banned newspaper Umuvugizi, and Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, the vice president of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, have been brutally murdered.
There are allegations of RPF and security service involvement in a number of different incidents.
Mr Frank Habineza, Green Party candidate for President, has complained that he has been subject to harassment and surveillance.

Lieutenant–General Nyamwasa, the former army chief of staff who is currently living in exile in Johannesburg, was the subject of an assassination attempt on 19 June 2010. The involvement of Rwandan security agents is strongly suspected and two of the individuals originally arrested by the South African police have now been released.

Dominique Makeli, a former Rwandan journalist currently living in exile in Kampala, was the subject of an attempted abduction on the 28 June 2010 allegedly by Rwandan agents.

Two newspapers Umuseso and Umuvugizi have been banned by the Media High Council after allegations that they had published stories that insulted President Kagame incited the army, caused police insubordination and frightened the public, contrary to Article 83 of Rwanda’s media law.

Bernard Ntaganda, the PS Imberakuri candidate for president and currently the only independent registered candidate for President, has been charged with terrorism offences after participating in a peaceful demonstration against the National Electoral Commission.

Victoire Ingabire, the leader of the UDF, has been unable to register for the election and members of her party have been imprisoned and subject to abuse.

Rwanda joined the Commonwealth in November 2009 at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Port Spain. A few months prior to this CHRI released a report on Rwanda’s human rights record, authored by the leading constitutional expert Professor Yash Ghai. The report cast doubt on Rwanda’s human rights record and its democratic stability and highlighted the increasingly hegemonic nature of the RPF in Rwandan politics and concluded that due its poor human rights record Rwanda should not be admitted to the Commonwealth at the 2009 CHOGM.

The rapid increase in violence and the constriction of political space and human rights in Rwanda following their Commonwealth membership has unfortunately proven the report’s predictions correct.
Many supporters of Rwanda’s application for membership argued that Commonwealth membership would provide an incentive for the government to improve its human rights record.

The actions of President Paul Kagame over the last six months have in fact shown the government to be committed to ensuring their own political survival and suppressing all political opposition to the RPF. The Commonwealth’s silence on recent developments in Rwanda cast grave doubts on the organisation’s commitments to the values that it recently re-affirmed at the 2009 CHOGM in Trinidad and Tobago.

CHRI echoes the condemnation voiced by the UN Secretary General and the European Union over political killings in Rwanda and urges immediate independent international enquiry into these incidents and supports the Commonwealth Green Parliamentarians’ call for Commonwealth representatives to be sent to Rwanda to immediately.

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
Senate House
Mallet Street
Tel: 02078628857

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July 24, 2010   No Comments

Victoire Ingabire asked to leave her house by owner

Victoire Ingabire - challenges Gen. Paul Kagame and RPF

Victoire Ingabire - challenges Gen. Paul Kagame and RPF

Kigali: The Rwandan opposition politician Victoire Ingabire under house arrest has been refunded all the money she paid to rent her house in Kigali and asked to leave immediately.

Listen to [wpaudio url=”″ text=”Victoire Ingabire explaining how she was ejected from house for the second time” dl=”0″]
in Kinyarwanda.

The unnamed owner apparently refunded on Friday all the five-month rent to Ingabire, and all he did was request that the FDU-Inkingi chief and her staff find another place to live.

A member of her team said they had started searching for another house – at which point they will vacate the place they have called home since January 16, when Ingabire arrived in the country.

The owner reportedly told Ingabire that he was under pressure and had decided to stay out of trouble.

Commenting on this, an observer of the Rwandan situation writes:
It is very sad indeed that Ingabire is being asked to leave her rental residence. It reminds me of back in 2003 when Twagiramungu could not find any place to rent and had to stay in a hotel during the “election” period. The RPF machine is worse than any dictatorship even known to humanity because on one hand they are more evil than Lucifer himself but on the other hand they have a PR machine to convince fools around the world that they are decent human beings.

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July 24, 2010   8 Comments

British PM urged to act on Rwanda situation

by Rwandan Community in UK.

London Manifestation 23 July 2010: Stop Kagame's Impunity!

London Manifestation 23 July 2010: Stop Kagame's Impunity!

Open letter to PM David Cameron demanding action on the repressive situation prevailing in Rwanda

Stop Supporting Kagame

Stop Supporting Kagame

The Rt Hon David Cameron MP
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London SW1A 0AA

London, 23/7/10

Dear Prime Minister,

We, the undersigned, are concerned members of the Rwandan community and other nationalities from the Central and East African region living in the UK. Today we held an authorized public protest in front of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Our concern is based on the events leading up to August 9, the day scheduled for the Rwandan presidential elections.

We are writing this letter to demand tangible actions concerning the increasing social and political tension in Rwanda that has been witnessed since the start of this year, and appears to take a tragic path for the Rwandan society, as Election Day approaches.

We know your government is aware of numerous reports made by various human rights organizations about incidents of intimidation against members of Rwandan opposition parties. We have been informed on the strong support Rwanda receives from the British government to promote political and media freedom. You engage regularly, both bilaterally and with your EU partners, to ensure that the Rwandan government respects these issues.

The Department for International Development Minister Stephen O’ Brien traveled to Rwanda on June 16th and 17th. He met President Kagame and other Rwandan government ministers. Apparently he raised the issues faced by opposition parties, and highlighted the importance that the UK, as a major bilateral donor and fellow member of the Commonwealth, attaches to core democratic values, such as freedom of speech and constructive opposition.

Surprisingly, it was on June 19th that an assassination attempt in South Africa was done against General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa. On June 24th, Jean-Léonard Rugambage, a journalist working for the banned newspaper Umuvugizi, was murdered. The same day there was a general crackdown on opposition parties which peacefully demonstrated against their exclusion from participating in electoral campaign. Those detained suffered severe torture and harassment from security forces. Bernard Ntaganda, the leader of PS IMBERAKURI has been in prison since then. On July 8th, Agnès Nkusi Uwimana, Saidati Mukakibibi, and Patrick Kambare, journalists of the independent newspaper Umurabyo were arrested. On July 14th, André Kagwa Rwisereka, Vice-Chair of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, was murdered, found almost beheaded. Despite an absence of independent reporting focusing on issues faced by the population in general under Paul Kagame government, these sad occurrences filtered and came into the open.

Dear Prime Minister,

Considering the described context, we find it reasonable to admit on the part of the British government that the approach of regular engagement with the Rwandan government to address issues of human rights and democratic values hasn’t worked in the past, neither does it today.

The UK government and its EU partners have a leverage position to correct the mistreatment Paul Kagame institutions are inflicting to Rwandans. More than 50% of the Rwandan government budget comes from external contributions. Being a major donor, the UK can change the persistent pattern of social and economic injustices by taking the following measures;

1. Not recognizing the results from the presidential elections of August 9th as long as opposition parties not affiliated to the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front of Paul Kagame are not allowed to participate

2. Addressing policies of systematic torture of detainees by actively supporting the creation of an independent inquiry into torture and harassment of political prisoners who were detained in Kigali on June 24th following the police crackdown on peaceful demonstrators

3. Supporting actively the setting up of an inter-Rwandan dialogue mechanism to solve existing ethnic tensions, bring about lasting reconciliation, peace, and sustainable development in the Great Lakes and end of recurrent conflicts in Eastern Congo

Not reviewing and changing completely current approach of UK government towards recurrent abuses of human rights and freedom of speech by the Rwandan government would look as a sign of deplorable indifference for the thousands of Rwandan victims.

Yours sincerely,

London, 23/7/10

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July 24, 2010   No Comments

The degrading political and social situation in Rwanda

By Maurice M, Germany.

I was really happy indeed when I found the press release from Ökumenisches Netz Zentralafrika [1], they are changing really the cap regarding the dictatorship regime of Kagame and Co. in Rwanda. The situation in Rwanda is increased in the worse way day after day.

After that on 1st October 1990 the RPR Inkotanyi [2] rebels attacked Rwanda and lead the country in massacres and genocide after they shot down the presidential plane on 6th April 1994 [3].; from 4th July 1994 the Rwanda is lead by the band of war criminals [4] 16 year now of terror and injustice still growing and many people are still pushed into exile [5]. The Rwandans who live inside or outside of the country are living in fear due to death or imprisonment threats on their heads. Deported refugees are arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned.
On 14th October Mr Innocent Irankunda [6] has been deported from Germany to Rwanda and has been arrested, tortured, charged of treason, genocide ideology and using false official papers. He is now sentenced to 4 years in Rwanda jail. What was his crime? He fled his country Rwanda and asked asylum in Germany?

This time, everybody who opposes the Rwanda regime is arbitrarily accused to be a genocide denier, promoting division among the population or exposing the country security. The political opposition leaders, lawyers, and journalists are arbitrarily arrested and killed, the editor of UMURABYO Mme. Agnes Nkusi Uwimana is in police custody and other two journalists. Mr Patrick Kambale and Mme Saidati Mukakibibi have been arrested on 12th July 2010 over defaming President Kagame and negating the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.“The genocide ideology is the new invented arm of Rwanda regime for harassment and repression of opposition opponents.” Agnes Uwimana and her colleagues could be up to spend more than three decades behind bars if convicted.

The peaceful opposition demonstration in Rwanda is repressed in violence. The planned opposition demonstration on 24th June 2010 was sabotaged by the Government when Maitre Bernard NTAGANDA, founding president of PS Imberakuri was violently
grabbed from his home by agents of the National Police. Since then he has been day and night in handcuffs in different police cells. The Party Secretary General, Théobald MUTARAMBIRWA and several PS-Imberakuri members were arbitrarily arrested and tortured. [7]

The same day, several members of FDU Inkingi were arrested. They have been submitted to severe tortures and denied medical attention while in Police custody. “How can the incumbent President Paul KAGAME, his regime and police explain the arbitrary arrests, torture, inhuman and cruel treatment of the opposition leaders?”

We call upon the Rwandan Government to immediately release these political prisoners without any further delay and investigate the reported cases of torture and barbaric martyrdom”, said opposition leader Ms.Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.[8]

Who killed the Umuvugizi editor Mr Leonard Rugamabage [9] while investigating who shot and injured the General Kayumba Nyamwasa [10] in South Africa? Who killed and decapitated Mr Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, the Vice-President of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda[11]? Rwisereka’s body was found dumped by a river in the south of the country after he had been missing for a day. Who shot dead on July 14th 2010 the ICTR[12] Lawyer Professor Jwani Mwaikusa, who was the first defence counsel in ICRT to successfully lead the rejection of the Prosecutors motion to transfer the case of his client to be tried in Rwanda?

“The Rwanda regime has been locked up for speaking out with non-violent means against the dictatorship. The schism between the government and the population is pushing the country to a brink of chaos: jail, torture, summary executions and a set of
repressive laws are common for those branded as enemies opposed to the diktat of the ruling party. Rwandans have only one choice: follow or suffer”
Rwanda Opposition Icon Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.

Who will be safe in Rwanda while opposing to the Kagame regime? Who can resist to the harassment from the Rwanda security agents and officials? An American lawyer helping defend a Rwandan presidential hopeful against charges that include promoting a genocide ideology was arrested and charged with genocide denial. “Rwandan Police have arrested Peter Erlinder[13], the American lawyer who travelled to Rwanda, on 23rd May; he was trying to join the defence team of Rwandan presidential candidate. She was released after being summoned to a Rwandan police station, much to the relief of her supporters, but her lawyer Erlinder had to be arrested and charged with “genocide ideology,” a speech crime unique to Rwanda which Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and even the U.S. State Department have denounced as a tool of political repression. Erlinder, is a prominent critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s regime. He has been released on bail one month later on medical grounds[14]. The American authorities and the international pressure were behind his release.

But who is behind the political assassinations of journalists and opposition members in Rwanda? Who is behind the unjustified arrests and illegal detention of political opposition members in Rwanda? Who is causing chaos and insecurity in Rwanda[15]? I guess whom: The Kagame and his war criminal Government! The current Rwanda authorities are leading Rwanda to hell and this is likely to continue until the international community gets interested and submits Kagame[16] and his band to justice.

[1] Ökumenisches Netz Zentralafrika beklagt Repressionen gegen politische Opposition und Zivilgesellschaft in Ruanda

[2] RPF Inkotanyi:Rwanda Patriotic Front. Attacked the Rwanda from Uganda on 1st Octomber 1990.

[3] 6th April 1994: French Judge accused Kagame and his group of shooting the Presidential Plane

[4] Spanish judge charges RPF military

[5] More than 1300 fled Rwanda to Uganda.

[6] Irankunda

[7] Opposition members released but what about the torture inquiry?

[8] Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Leader of Opposition party FDU-UDF Inkingi

[9] Rugambage Leonard Umuvugizi editor shot dead

[10] General Kayumba Nyamwasa accused Kagame of corruption, favouritism and leading the country as dictator

[11] André Kagwa Rwisereka the First Vice President of The Rwanda Green Party found dead.

[12] ICTR: Internation Criminal Court of Rwanda situated in Arusha.

[13] Professor Peter Erlinder: Rwanda arrests Ingabire’s American lawyer Erlinder in Kigali

[14] Lawyer Peter Erlinder released due to the medical ground.

[15] Grenade blasts in Kigali, deepening political crisis in Rwanda

[16] Oklahoma Lawsuit Alleges Rwandan President Paul Kagame Triggered Rwanda Genocide

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July 24, 2010   1 Comment