Rwanda

Ongoing persecution of critics and journalists arrested

On 25th May 2021, opposition leaders Victoire Ingabire and Bernard Ntaganda criticised French President Emmanuel Macron for overlooking the human rights violations by the Rwandan regime. The opposition leaders claimed that Macron remains silent regarding Rwanda’s dictatorial rule but condemns other authoritarian regimes. As previously reported by the Monitor, Paul Rusesabagina, the former manager of Kigali’s Hôtel des Mille Collines faces nine offences including membership in a terrorist group and financing terrorism. On 18th June 2021, the prosecutor asked for a life sentence. Rusesabagina has not shown up for his trial since 12th March 2021, when the court rejected his request to have six months to prepare his defence. He cited that he “does not expect justice” as the reason for abandoning the process. Read more

Ongoing persecution of critics and journalists arrested

Restrictive civic space and a decrease in rank in the annual World Press Freedom Index

On 7th April 2021, Rwanda commenced 100 days of mourning to honour the 27th anniversary of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. President Kagame criticized nations for harbouring genocide fugitives. He called for nations to hand over genocide suspects to Rwanda or try them in court to face justice. On 27th April 2021, France acknowledged its role in the genocide, admitting to reacting too slowly to the killings of 800,000 people and for supporting Juvenal Habyarimana’s “racist” and “violent” regime. In his speech commemorating the day, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged everyone to defend human rights and to ensure history does not repeat itself. On 13th March 2021, Dieudonné Niyonsenga and Fidèle Komezusenge were freed after being arrested in April 2020 for breaching COVID-19 regulations. The authorities added other charges including forgery, impersonation and hindering the implementation of government orders. The Gasabo Intermediate Court acquitted them of all the charges on 12th March 2021. Read more

Restrictive civic space and a decrease in rank in the annual World Press Freedom Index

Crackdown on critics continues

On 5th March 2021, YouTube activist Yvonne Idamange Iryamukwiza was arraigned in a court in Kigali. Idamange Iryamukwiza is facing six charges, including 'spreading rumours using technology', 'contempt for genocide memorials' and 'obstruction of the implementation of government policies' among other charges Read more

Tags: censorship
Crackdown on critics continues

Kizito Mihigo named as the first artist to receive prestigious human rights award posthumously

Late gospel musician Kizito Mihigo who died in police custody in February 2020, was posthumously awarded the Havel Prize for Creative Dissent, an international award that celebrates artists working under extremely restrictive conditions; Tensions rise between the BBC and the government of Rwanda and its supporters. Following the BBC publishing an article entitled “The Loyalty Oath Keeping Rwandans Abroad in Check;” Rwandan Media Commission (RMC) announced plans to officially register YouTube channels that operate as media outlets Read more

Kizito Mihigo named as the first artist to receive prestigious human rights award posthumously

Rwandan government continues to target opposition in exile.

New details emerged in late-August 2020 related to the disappearance of Benjamin Rutabana, a member of the Rwandan National Congress ; Paul Rusesabagina, a Rwandan opposition figure and outspoken critic living in Europe, was arrested and detained by Rwandan authorities; University of Rwanda dismisses Aimable Karasira, a computer science lecturer, for political posts on his YouTube channel. Read more

Rwandan government continues to target opposition in exile.

Multiple Journalists Arrested Throughout COVID-19 Lockdown Period

At least six journalists arrested in the first two weeks of April 2020 for allegedly violating measures put in place by the government during the COVID-19 lockdown; as Rwanda approached its review by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in the framework of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), concerns mounted over a disconnect between law and practice even as the country was credited for undertaking extensive media reforms since its previous UPR review; The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) rules in favour of two Rwandan journalists, Agnès Uwimana and Saidati Mukakibib, who had been charged and sentenced for the publication of various articles in 2010, which criticised President Paul Kagame Read more

Multiple Journalists Arrested Throughout COVID-19 Lockdown Period

Civil Society calls for investigation into death of popular musician and activist

Civil society calls for for justice over the death of popular singer and activist Kizito Mihigo who was found dead in his cell on 17th February 2020; Rwanda and Uganda signed an extradition treaty which is feared will allow for Rwandan dissidents, especially those involved in the Rwanda National Congress (RNC), to be extradited to Rwanda Read more

Civil Society calls for investigation into death of popular musician and activist

President Kagame Denies Spying on Opponents Abroad

American pastor deported on accusation of hate speech, President Kagame denies spying on dissidents abroad, while outspoken government critic confirms being a victim of surveillance while in exile Read more

President Kagame Denies Spying on Opponents Abroad

South Africa issues warrants for two Rwandans in 2014 murder of ex spy chief

Australia's national broadcaster reported that a network of alleged Rwandan spies has been working to suppress dissident refugees in the country, South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority issued arrest warrants for two Rwandans accused of murdering Rwandan critic Colonel Patrick Karegeya, who was found dead in his hotel room in Johannesburg in 2014, Syridio Dusabumuremyi, an official of the FDU-Inkingi party had been stabbed and murdered in an attack by two men at a shop where he worked, Rwanda voted in favour of extending the mandate of the United Nations LGBT rights watchdog for another three years at the U.N. Human Rights Council, Supreme Court in Rwanda rejected a challenge to the law created in 2018 which maintains that it is a crime to insult the president, Burundian musician Jean Pierre Nimbona, popularly known as Kidum, was banned from playing at the Kigali Jazz Fusion festival. Read more

South Africa issues warrants for two Rwandans in 2014 murder of ex spy chief