Group Unites To Rally Against Anti-Democracy Tactics in Rwanda

Published on by KANYARWANDA

Friday, June 11, 2010

Group Unites To Rally Against Anti-Democracy Tactics in Rwanda

Group Unites To Rally Against Anti-Democracy Tactics in Rwanda

Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

Immaculee Uwayezu, Friends of UDF-Inkingi America; 443-980-4675 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              443-980-4675      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Greg, Meyer, Foundation for Freedom and Democracy in Rwanda; 336-837-7520 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              336-837-7520      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Theobald Rwaka, OPDJR; 603-703-5095 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              603-703-5095      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Diverse Group of Rwandans and Friends of Rwandans Rally to demand the immediate release of Professor Peter Erlinder, denounce oppression, impunity, and anti- democracy tactics of the RPF regime in Kigali, Rwanda.

This rally is a protest against repression of human and civil rights of the Rwandan people, administrative, political and physical intimidation of political party leaders and their attorneys. The rally will be held in front of the White House and the Rwandan Embassy Friday June 11 2010 from 1:00pm to 5:00pm eastern time. Participants will meet at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave Washington, DC 20500-0004 (White House) Lafayette park side where they will hold their first demonstration before heading to the Rwandan Embassy at 1714 New Hampshire Avenue, NW Washington DC 20009.

According to UN Security Council reports of 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2008, the Kagame administration along with his RPF party are responsible for more than 6 million deaths in the Congo. President Paul Kagame’s top 40 officials have been indicted by two separate international courts (Spanish and French) for war crimes and crimes against humanity, but have yet to appear in court. Many reports point to a status of impunity afforded to the RPF by the international community and the USA in particular because they stopped the killings in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, despite the fact that they were co-committers of crimes against humanity before, during, and after that period as well.

More recently, the administration of Rwandan president Paul Kagame has engaged in increasingly repressive tactics including shutting down independent media and jailing opposition candidates and their supporters under charges of genocide ideology, the same charge for which Professor Erlinder is now accused. Peter Erlinder is a William Mitchell law professor at St. Paul Minnesota and an international human rights attorney. He traveled to Rwanda to join the legal team defending opposition presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. He was arrested on May 28, 2010 by Rwandan police on false charges. He is being held in a Rwandan prison and has been hospitalized twice after interrogation sessions.

The Genocide Ideology Law is vaguely worded, requires no link to any genocidal act, and can be used to criminalize a wide range of legitimate forms of expression. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and even the U.S. State Department have denounced it as a tool of political repression. The Kagame administration has used it widely to target political opponents. We vigorously condemn the unjust and inhuman methods the RPF regime has used so far to silence the Rwandan people and to eliminate any form of political opposition trough intimidation, incarceration, physical beating grenade attacks, and other criminal acts.

In the run up to the national election scheduled for August 2010, the Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties in Rwanda (PCC) position is that they are dealing with a dictatorial form of Government that is not prepared to accept a political opposition as documented by human rights organizations i.e. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and even the US State Department report on Human rights (2009), under the vague law on genocide ideology, divisionism and negationism.

In these presidential election campaigns, the RPF has a strategy of doing away with real and genuine political opposition by embracing its coalition partners, PSD and PL as its new opposition. Indeed PSD and PL have never stood up publically to challenge the RPF regime; they have never denounced injustices of the RPF regime against the Rwandan people. They have never confronted the RPF for the democratization of the country. They have always been comfortable with the RPF-established clientele system and they have always supported all RPF activities without giving any critic publically. An election, where the real opposition is not allowed to participate in, is undemocratic and a waste of national resources, time, and foreign aid, including substantial US tax payers’ money.

Rwandans deserve peace, justice, the right to express themselves and to freely elect their officials. The only way to achieve it is to allow open political discourse that fosters full participation of all citizens through political parties of their choice and a civil society free of political interference. We strongly believe that the international community and the USA in particular can help by holding the RPF regime responsible for their crimes and by asking them to free up political space.

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