World
US voices concern on Rwanda arrests
Publish Date: Jun 05, 2014
US voices concern on Rwanda arrests
President Paul Kagame
  • mail
  • img
newvision

WASHINGTON - The United States on Wednesday accused Rwanda of carrying out arbitrary arrests and urged President Paul Kagame's government to respect freedom of expression.

Washington said it was "deeply concerned by the arrest and disappearance of dozens of Rwandan citizens" as well as "credible reports" of threats to journalists.

"The United States calls upon the government of Rwanda to account for individuals arrested over the past two months and currently in custody, and to respect the rights under Rwandan law and international human rights law of the individuals detained and arrested," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

"We also call upon Rwanda to fully respect freedom of expression, including for members of the press so that they can investigate, report and facilitate discussion on issues of public concern."

The United States, while supporting "all lawful efforts to identify individuals who seek to use violence against the Rwandan people and government," said democratic societies need due process of law, including the right of citizens to challenge their detention.

The statement welcomed steps in recent days to bring some individuals before court. Separately, leading opposition figure Bernard Ntaganda was freed Wednesday after a four-year jail term.

Rwanda swiftly rejected the criticism, saying that it was responding to threats from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) -- remnants of the Hutu group linked to the 1994 genocide in which at least 800,000 Tutsis died.

"In all instances, police and security agencies in Rwanda have acted lawfully. Accused individuals are entitled to, and receive, due process -- suggestions otherwise, including claims of 'disappearances,' are false," Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said in a statement.

"We call on all parties to refrain from discourse and actions that embolden the FDLR and its allies, and thereby endanger the lives of Rwandans," Mushikiwabo said.

In 2012 the US suspended military aid to Rwanda over allegations that it was supporting a rebellion in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo. But Harf told reporters separately she did not have any information on whether a similar move was under consideration.

Western nations supported Kagame after the 1994 Tutsi genocide but have increasingly been critical due to his government's purported abuses against critics and alleged interference in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Human Rights Watch last month reported an increasing number of forcible disappearances in Rwanda and said there were "indications of involvement of state agents."

Rwanda accused the New York-based group of spreading the equivalent of "political propaganda for terrorist groups."

Harf said the US was looking into what allegations may have been made against those who have been arrested, and would continue raising it with the Rwandan government.

RELATED ARTICLES

Rwanda and France hold talks in Gabon in tense times

Challenge to sustain Rwanda's post-genocide economic boom

No one will stop us from defending Rwanda

Rwanda Hutu rebels condemn 'terror plot' arrests

AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
US airstrikes target Al Shabaab leader
THE US State Department lists Godane as one of the world's eight top terror fugitives, with a $7-million reward for information on him...
New UN rep for S.Sudan warns of
The new UN chief for South Sudan arrived in the conflict-wracked country Tuesday, a week after gunmen shot down a UN helicopter....
Nuns go public for first time in 150 years
A group of Ecuadoran nuns opened the doors of their convent to the outside world Saturday - a first since the order arrived in the South American country 150 years ago....
Obama’s cool-in-a-crisis style – asset or liability?
Obama''s cool-in-a-crisis style and disdain for the impulsive use of military force is fueling criticism of his leadership....
Ukraine rebels prepare attack as EU warns Russia of new sanctions
Pro-Russian separatists were preparing a fresh offensive on a key coastal location in eastern Ukraine on Sunday, as EU leaders gave Moscow one week to curb its support for the rebels or face new sanctions....
EU readies new Russia sanctions as Ukraine conflict spirals
The European Union geared up a fresh wave of sanctions against Russia on Saturday with warnings that the escalating conflict in Ukraine was putting all of Europe at risk of war....
Do you think banning the sale of single cigarette sticks will help regulate tobacco production?
yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter