Rwandan government's human rights records is appalling. The Rwandan government, accused by the World community of the grave human gights Abuses has, grudgingly, agreed to abide by Human Rights Recommendations from United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The human rights abuses by the Rwandan government include killings or arbitrary imprisonments of opposition leaders, activists, journalists, and civilians, including street children, and human trafficking. These are the widespread findings by the countries around the World during latest International Report on the Review of Human Rights (UPR) sessions, which are held every five years.
The critics came from World powers and government of countries in the five continents. On January 25, 2021, governments around the World, including Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, especially the members of the CommonWealth and The European Union, the United States, and others published statements unanimously calling the Rwandan government on systematic human rights abuses, killings and disappearances of political opponents, activists, and journalists (see AfroAmerica: Why Did World Powers, Including the CommonWealth, European Union, the United States, and Others Unanimously Called Rwandan Government on Systematic Human Rights Abuses and Killings?).
From the informations received by AfroAmerica Network, the Human Rights appaling record in Rwanda was brought to the attention of the World in a memorandum addressed to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC. The memo was written in January 2020.
In the memorandum, the organization is appealing to the CommonWealth to help "the people of Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region of Africa to free themselves from wars and insecurity, repression, and despair ".
After initially denying and accusing the UK government and others, such as the US, of bias, the Rwandan Government, through the Minister of Justice and Attorney General Johnston Busingye, gave in and acknowledged, on Jan 29, 2021, some failures in respecting human rights, but stated the commitment to address the shortcoming. Mr Busingye came short from acknowledging the grave shortcomings and massive human rights abuses.
The appalling human rights abuses in Rwanda were summarized in the statements from the countries as submitted on January 25, 2021 and pointed to "extrajudicial killings, deaths in custody, enforced disappearances and torture.", "unlawful or arbitrary arrests and detentions, killings, and enforced disappearances of human rights defenders, political opponents, and journalists", "human trafficking and killing refugees", "maintaining street kids in arbitrary detention"
Even governments that, in the past appeared to be lenient, made strong critics. Apart from the UK and the US, some very few examples, among more hundreds include, the following countries, that called on Rwanda on the issues below:
- Norway: protection of human rights defenders and allow independent investigations of allegations of torture and ill-treatment in detention facilities (see here);
- Canada: stop subjecting street kids to arbitrary detention;
- Egypt: guarantee the prosecution and accountability of those who traffic human beings, investigate torture and allegations of extra-judicial killing and enforced disappearances;
- Danemark: bring its prison and detention conditions in line with UN standards for the treatment of prisoners;
- France: guarantee protection and freedom of expression of journalists and human rights defenders and combat impunity for violence against them, guarantee protection;
- Iceland: protect and uphold the freedom of expression including by respecting the freedom of the press, combat discrimination against persons;
- Japan: protect journalists and human rights defenders;
- Lithuania: combat impunity for enforced disappearances, repeal all legislation promoting intimidation of journalists and human rights defenders;
- Austria: protect human rights defenders & journalists from attacks and harassment and hold offenders accountable;
- Paraguay: stop and criminalize the obligatory recruitment of children in military service;
- South Korea: improve conditions in detention facilities, including the overcrowding issue, implement reforms aimed at freedom of the media to ensure all individuals enjoy the right to freedom of expression;
- Sierra Leone: investigating all allegations of extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearance, take concrete steps to ensure media protection;
- Costa Rica: right to freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly, guarantee rights of detainees.
Mr. Busingye tried to deny allegations and documented cases of secret detention places and safe houses, by suggesting that detention in unknown places were due to overcrowding. The audience was not convinced. In fact several cases were in consistently cited in the past of alleged detention of opposition leaders, civil rights activists, and prominent individuals suspected of not supporting the government. Some of these secret detention areas are allegedly in the highly guarded safe house suburbs of the capital Kigali, in dedicated caves in hills around the country, and in houses near Nyabarongo river.
AfroAmerica Network has contacted the key stakeholders and is still waiting for their response on the memo and the on-going reactions.
@2021 AfroAmerica Network.