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    April 07, 2019

    The dangerous global trend towards hate-filled, divisive politics shows that world leaders have collectively ignored the terrible lessons of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, Amnesty International said today as the world marks the 25th anniversary.

    “It is shameful that the conscience of world leaders is all too often pricked only in the aftermath of massive atrocities; then as soon as the news moves on, politicians around the world go straight back to peddling the hateful and dehumanizing rhetoric that fuels these horrific incidents in the first place,” said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    In just 100 days between April and July 1994, more than 800,000 people were killed, the vast majority of them Tutsi who were targeted in a deliberate government attempt to eliminate their ethnic group. Some Hutu opposed to the genocide were also targeted.

    December 06, 2018

    Following the judgment by the High Court in Kigali to discharge and acquit Diane Rwigara and her mother Adeline Rwigara on all charges that had been brought against them, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Joan Nyanyuki said:

    “Diane and Adeline Rwigara should never have faced charges for expressing their views. While we welcome their discharge and acquittal, we are concerned that the right to freedom of expression remains under attack in Rwanda.

    “We call on the Rwandan authorities to build on this judgment and work towards developing greater tolerance and acceptance of alternative and critical views. The judgment must be a first step in reversing the ongoing trend of repression in Rwanda.”

    For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

    Lucy Scholey, Amnesty International Canada (English), 613-744-7667 ext. 236,

    November 06, 2018

    The expression-related charges against a would-be presidential candidate and her mother must be dropped, Amnesty International said ahead of the resumption of their trial on Wednesday.

    She is charged in relation to comments she made that were critical of the ruling party, condemned problems of injustice and the state of the economy.

    Diane Rwigara and her mother Adeline were arrested in September 2017 after Diane tried to stand as a candidate in Rwanda’s August 2017 presidential election.

    “The right to freedom of expression must not be put on trial as Rwanda’s courts hear the Rwigaras’ case,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “Politicians must be allowed to explain their policies, and, like everyone else, engage with and criticize those of their opponents.”

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    July 07, 2017
    Two decades of attacks on the political opposition, independent media and human rights defenders have created a climate of fear in Rwanda ahead of next month’s election, Amnesty International warned in a new report today. The organization is urging the government to prevent harassment of opposition candidates and their supporters ahead of the August poll, but also to initiate far-reaching reforms that will open up political space before the 2024 elections, allowing genuine debate and diverse opinions to be freely expressed. “Since the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front took power 23 years ago, Rwandans have faced huge, and often deadly, obstacles to participating in public life and voicing criticism of government policy. The climate in which the upcoming elections take place is the culmination of years of repression,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International's Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
    March 22, 2017

    British national Violette Uwamahoro, the pregnant wife of a political opposition activist living in exile, who was arrested by Rwandan authorities and held incommunicado, will make her first appearance in court at a bail hearing in the capital Kigali tomorrow, said Amnesty International.

    Violette Uwamahoro, who lives in the UK with her two children, disappeared in Kigali on 14 February. She had returned to the country to attend her father’s funeral. She had just called a family member to let them know she was arriving at the city’s main bus station when her phone went dead.

    Rwandan government officials initially denied knowledge of her whereabouts, before the police confirmed on 3 March that she was in their custody.

    “Violette Uwamahoro was illegally held without access to lawyers or her family for more than two weeks. This is an unacceptable breach of Rwandan and international law,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes Region.

    April 06, 2014

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 7 April 2014

    The international community has collectively failed to act on the lessons of the Rwandan genocide, said Amnesty International today as the world marks the 20th anniversary of the human catastrophe which left around 800,000 dead.

    “In 1994, the world was shamed when it turned a blind eye to the desperate cries for help coming from Rwanda. Africa and the rest of the international community wrung their hands as hundreds of thousands were slaughtered,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    “The message is clear – this must never be allowed to happen again. Yet while leaders have accepted their mistakes, 20 years on it’s evident that the lessons have not been put into practice. Governments are still failing to take action to protect those in need in the looming catastrophes we face today.”

    Twenty years later, echoes of the events in Rwanda are reverberating in the Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan - and beyond.

    March 25, 2013

    Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire must be allowed an appeal that meets international fair trial standards after being convicted and sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment in October 2012, said Amnesty International in a new report released today. 

    The appeal, due to open today, must rectify a number of problems which occurred in the trial, as documented in “Justice in Jeopardy: The first instance trial of Victoire Ingabire.”

    “Victoire Ingabire’s initial trial was flawed and international standards were flouted,” said Sarah Jackson, Acting Deputy Director of the Africa Programme.

    Ingabire, President of the United Democratic Forces - Inkingi (FDU-Inkingi) was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison on 30 October 2012, on charges of conspiracy to harm the authorities using terrorism and minimizing the 1994 genocide. 

    From the start of investigations, President Paul Kagame made public statements in the media and through Twitter on Ingabire’s alleged culpability which were at odds with her right to the presumption of innocence. 

    November 12, 2012

    Since the 1994 genocide in Rwanda the government of President Paul Kagame has made security and the maintenance of order a top priority. As important as this goal is, it has resulted in political and press freedoms being unduly limited. Kagame and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) argue that this has been necessary in order to prevent the ideas that drove the genocide from taking root again. Unfortunately, the offense of ‘promoting genocide ideology’ has been very broadly defined by Kagame’s government and has resulted in the arrest, exile or killing of many political opponents and rivals.

    The killings of a political opponent and a journalist in 2010 are examples of how people who criticize the authorities are often at risk. We believe the Rwandan government should re-open the investigation into the killings of Jean-Leonard Rugambage and André Kagwa Rwisereka by establishing two separate independent commissions of enquiry.

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