The African Leader Prime Minister Trudeau Shouldn’t Have Invited

A call for a peaceful demonstration against the presence of Rwanda’s strongman, Paul Kagame, at the G7 Summit, in Charlevoix, Quebec, On June 8 — 9, 2018.

 

When Prime Minister Trudeau hosts the 2018 G7 Summit this week, one guest will be especially awkward: Rwanda’s totalitarian president, Paul Kagame. Unless Canada wants to wink at assassinating adversaries, stifling opposition and subverting neighboring nations, Kagame should not have been on the guest list.

Who is the real Paul Kagame? In 2015, he changed the constitution to cling to power after his term limits expired. He then won the 2017 elections with an astonishing 99 percent of the vote. Kagame achieved this by terrorizing the opposition, including his main challenger Diana Shima Rwigara. Kagame has since thrown her into prison together with her mother Adeline Rwigara. The two joined Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza whom Kagame imprisoned in the 2010 elections to deny her the right to challenge him at the polls.

Meanwhile, Kagame’s violence has taken many lives at home and abroad. As Kagame once said of his political opponents, “Many of them tend to die.” The death toll includes Former intelligence chief Patrick Karegeya, strangled in a hotel room in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2013. Andre Kagawa Rwisereka, deputy president of the opposition Democratic Green Party, decapitated and dumped in a river in Rwanda in 2010. Charles Ingabire, editor of a newspaper critical of Kagame, shot to death in Kampala, Uganda, in 2011. And Theogene Turatsinze, former director of the Rwandan Development Bank, whose body was found floating in a lake in Mozambique in 2012.

World leaders know something is wrong in Rwanda. Following the killing of Karegaya in Jonannesburg, South Africa expelled three Rwandan diplomats. In a report last year on Rwanda’s human rights record, the U.S. State Department documented the Rwandan government’s “targeting of political opponents and human rights advocates for harassment, arrest and abuse,” including “arbitrary or unlawful killings both inside and outside of the country, disappearance and torture.”

How could Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invite to Canada a man of this horrendous human rights record? Our Prime Minister has spoken eloquently for human rights. On the Human Rights Day last year, the Prime Minister said: ”Today, I call on all Canadians to join together in pursuit of a world where everyone — no matter their identity, beliefs, or circumstances — is born free and equal in dignity and rights.” Instead of inviting Kagame to the G7 Summit, Trudeau should have written to President Kagame these words: ”You can’t be a despot in your home country and be an honored guest on the Canadian soil.”

We, members of the Rwandan community in Canada condemn in no uncertain terms the presence in this great country of Rwanda’s strongman Paul Kagame. We are calling members of our community and other Canadians to join us in a peaceful demonstration against Kagame on June 8, 2018, in Charlevoix, Quebec.

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