Today, 17 October 2012, 09:30, about 50 members of the opposition went to the UK High Commission in Kigali to demand the key bilateral partner to help defuse unrelenting manhunt against them. Only 21 FDU-Inkingi members were allowed in while others stayed outside the premises under a heavy scrutiny of Criminal Investigations Department and Military Intelligence joint patrols. They all left after 11:00. Some protesters had white T-shirts “WE NEED DEMOCRACY” and “WE NEED JUSTICE”  flyers. A written call for international solidarity untitled “RWANDA:CRUSHED OPPOSITION NOW PUSHED TO THE EDGE”  was taken to Embassies of USA, Netherlands, France and the European Union Representation in Rwanda as well.

The party Secretary General, Mr. Sylvain SIBOMANA, under a manhunt red notice, informed the UK Embassy Political Officer who discussed with them on behalf of the High Commissioner, that the situation of the opposition inside the country is getting out of control. 8 members Mutuyimana Anselme, Uwiringiyimana venuste, Ufitamahoro Norbert, Dukundane Moise, Twizerimana Valens, Nahimana Marcel, Byukusenge Emmanuel and Gasengayire Leonille have now been transferred to MUHANGA central prison after a talk with Sylvain SIBOMANA in Rutsiro District on 15 September 2012. The police is hunting down other members.
« We approached the UK because it has a strong bilateral relationship and a significant development partnership with the Rwandan government. We demanded them to use their leverage on President Paul Kagame, to make him understand that democratic opposition is not enemy of the country and that opponents have right to freedom too, and that their place is not in maximum prison ».
« We encourage all bilateral partners of Rwanda to utilise their full leverage in their relationship to influence Rwanda towards good domestic, regional and international behavior. We believe that security, development and diplomatic progress can be reinforced through a more candid and demanding stand on key issues of justice, accountability, human rights, regional stability, opening of political space and freedom of expression. There will be no lasting solution in Rwanda nor in the region if crucial issues continue to be ignored: the lack of internal political space in Rwanda; the plight of political prisoners i.e. Madame Victoire Ingabire (Chairperson FDU-INKINGI), Bernard Ntaganda (Founding President PS Imberakuri), Deogratias Mushayidi (PDP Imanzi), Dr. Theoneste Niyitegeka (Presidential candidate in 2003); disappearances and assassinations of political figures and critical journalists; the impunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity; political refugees, etc. ».

We trust that the statement issued yesterday, 16 October 2012, by the Foreign Office responding to the Foreign Affairs Committee report on the FCO’s Human Rights work in 2011 is valid for Human Rights situation in Rwanda as well :

“Human rights are essential to and indivisible from our foreign policy objectives. They are part of our national DNA and are woven deeply into the decision-making processes of our foreign policy at every stage. We cannot achieve long term security and prosperity unless we uphold our values. We promote human rights painstakingly and consistently. Our starting point for engagement on human rights with all countries is based on what is practical, realistic and achievable, although we are always ready to speak out as a matter of principle.”

This week, two verdicts are expected in the case of Sakharov Prize nominee, political prisoner Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza: on 18 October 2012, 11:00 the Supreme Court ruling on the constitutional review of genocide ideology law  while the High court’s verdict on all charges is expected on 19 October 2012, 11:00.

Boniface Twagirimana
Interim Vice president

“RWANDA:CRUSHED OPPOSITION NOW PUSHED TO THE EDGE” : call for international solidarity (signed copy)

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