Alarming Human Rights Situation in Rwanda

The Rwandan Alliance for the Restoration of the Nation, ARENA, has on multiple occasions called on the Kagame regime to cease its abuse of human rights of Rwandans and to uphold good governance by stopping its continual and overbearing interference in the judicial system of the country. Not only did the Kagame regime not heed ARENA’s call, the abuses have now become blunt and endemic!

ARENA fears that President Maj. Gen. Kagame has led the country onto the path of destruction and, if unchecked, the country will sink more and more into despair and in all likelihood another round of bloodshed. It is this reason that compels us to sound this alarm to both the national and international communities, as time is of essence.

In 1994, our country suffered a near fatal wound when it lost more than 10% of its population in the Tutsi genocide and massacres of Hutus, while the international community watched on television, unwilling to help. This happened because the situation leading to it was not strongly denounced by both the Rwandan and international communities, thereby encouraging the abuses of the Habyarimana government and the complaisance of the world powerbrokers. Though the current regime does not discriminate its victims based on ethnic identity, it is more and more behaving like its predecessor, transforming the country into the private backyard of a small circle of people (President Kagame and his associates) known as AKAZU:

  1. AKAZU has muzzled the political parties in Rwanda, leaving only the RPF, itself crippled and only a tool of AKAZU.
  2. AKAZU dominates the economic sector through multiple enterprises controlled by its main company Tri-star, which has holdings in all main companies in the country.
  3. AKAZU, via the executive branch, controls the legislative and judicial branches of the government, and the national media, which it uses to demonize political opponents.
  4. Any political dissent is not tolerated. It has resulted in intimidations, arrests, imprisonment, tortures, and assassinations.
  5. Any company that does not submit itself to the will of Tri-star is persecuted along with its executives.
  6. President Kagame continues to squander young Rwandan lives into multiple wars that could and should be avoided. Soldiers who have been at the front since early 90s and wish to leave, are denied permission, those whose loyalty are questioned are routinely eliminated, and some are casualties of continual cover-ups of the crimes they have had to commit under the direction of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI).
  7. The Kigali regime has failed to attend to the severe needs of the orphans and widows of the genocide, leaving one to wonder what happens to the international aid to that aim.

The list could go on to include matters such as the acute hunger that has besieged the nation, the increased insecurity that causes people to flee the country for fear of their lives, and tens of thousands of people who are in prisons without charges.

ARENA will continue to inform the national and international communities of the abuses of the Kagame regime, in order to prevent the said regime from plunging the country into bloodshed. ARENA once more, denounce the unrelenting human rights violations perpetrated by Maj. Gen. Kagame and his dictatorial regime, as illustrated in the recent cases of Mr. Pasteur Bizimungu, Mr. Charles Ntakirutinka, Mr. Valens Kajeguhakwa and many others. If such abuses are committed against these high profiled people, ordinary citizens are surely subjected to far worse treatment.

ARENA calls on Rwandans, human rights organizations, and the international community at large to press Mr. Kagame to respect the fundamental rights of all citizens to freedom of speech and association and to free all political prisoners such as Mr. Jean Mbanda and Colonel Biseruka.

The Kagame government must stop persecuting political opponents as it has and continues to do with MM Bizimungu and Ntakirutinka of the PDR-UBUYANJA. These two men have been assaulted and injured, arrested and questioned, their residences have been searched, they have been placed under house arrest, they have been detained and their movement curtailed, all that in a period of a month.

It is now clear that the services provided to Mr. Bizimungu, in his capacity of former head of state, were to buy his silence and not to promote peaceful transfer of power, as we had hoped.

ARENA invites all Rwandans to join its efforts in the struggle to install democracy, justice, and freedom in our country.

For ARENA’s Coordination,

Joseph Sebarenzi.

Ottawa, Canada, September 9, 2001

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