Open Letter to The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, The Prime Minister Of Canada
February 24, 2018
Dear Prime Minister, I write this letter to inform you that your government’s favorite African dictator, Paul Kagame, has just performed what he is widely known for — killing unarmed civilians.
Prime Minister, before I address this latest round of violence by the Kagame regime, let me concede that I am still puzzled by what might have motivated your government to embrace this particular dictatorship in the first place.
You will recall that your Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan, gave his Rwandan counterpart, James Kabarebe, the red carpet on the Canadian soil on November 16, 2017. Kabarebe stands accused of massacring innocent Rwandan civilians as well as foreign nationals during the Rwandan Civil War of the 1990s. Kabarebe was also the chief architect of the invasion and occupation of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Under his command, an estimated 5 million people perished in DRC. The UN 2010 Mapping Report would later describe this episode as follows:
”The majority of the victims were children, women, elderly people and the sick, who were often undernourished and posed no threat to the attacking forces…Thus the apparent systematic and widespread attacks described in this report reveal a number of inculpatory elements that, if proven before a competent court, could be characterized as crimes of genocide.”
By hosting Kabarebe, Canada became the only Western democracy in which the Rwandan defense minister can set foot — the others would instead arrest him.
On November 20, 2017, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, hosted the Rwandan minister of environment, Vincent Biruta. McKenna embarrassingly stated that “Canada and Rwanda have become great partners.” The two ministers signed a memorandum of understanding which, according to McKenna ”reaffirms our close friendship.”
Dear Prime Minister, if further evidence were needed for establishing the fact that Canada should not embrace Kagame’s regime, the latter just provided it. Between 20–23 February 2018, Rwanda’s security forces killed an unknown number of refugees who were protesting for better conditions. Here is how the United Nations High Commission for Refugees explained the situation:
”UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is urging authorities in Rwanda to ensure safety and protection for refugees after protests led to the tragic deaths of at least five refugees and the injury of many others…We are shocked and disturbed at loss of refugee lives…This tragedy should have been avoided and disproportionate use of force against desperate refugees is not acceptable. UNHCR calls on authorities to refrain from further use of force and to investigate the circumstances of this tragic incident.”
Prime Minister, I have no clue about your foreign policy towards Africa and what might be motivating your government to embrace a brutal regime that kills unarmed people. Perhaps your ministers were misled or are still learning on the job. Be that as it may, the behavior of the Kagame regime does not in any shape or form fit Canadian values.
For God’s sake, stop embracing a dictator who kills people. We call upon you to instead denounce the death of unarmed refugees.