Kigali: Illegal and inhuman demolition of houses of poor people should cease immediately.

The Global Campaign for Rwandan Human Rights strongly condemns the systematic demolition of the houses of poor people that the City of Kigali has been doing since a few days in various areas of the Rwandan capital, without any consideration of their rights, wellbeing or safety. 

This despicable action has made over 1000 people homeless in the last 48 hours and many of the victims have been sleeping outside next to the rubbles of their former houses in inhuman conditions. 

They have not been given any other alternatives. Instead, they are being forced by armed police to move away from the area where they used to live. Some of them were not given opportunities to save their personal items.  

The City of Kigali authority and the Kicukiro District claimed that ‘’it is an ongoing activity to relocate citizens from wetlands in order to save their lives.’’ 

Officials who visited the concerned areas two days before the houses were destroyed informed residents that they should move out because the City wanted Kigali to look beautiful by the time of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which is scheduled to be held in Rwanda in June 2020.  

Despite that intention, residents had been only given 15 days to relocate. Demolition of their houses started 2 days after they were provided with the notice. Therefore, though even the 15 days were not sufficient, they weren’t given enough time nor means to move elsewhere.  

These actions of making deliberately Rwandans homeless, are undoubtedly crimes against humanity. It is apparent that the government of Rwanda cares more about how it will impress CHOGM 2020 delegates and Kigali beauty than the wellbeing of its people, particularly those living in poor-looking houses.

It is in the remit of authorities to plan to relocate residents for various reasons, but this should be conducted in manners than consider people’s human rights. 

We call upon the Rwandan government and the City of Kigali: 

  • To immediately cease the ongoing inhuman actions of demolishing houses of poor residents without giving them appropriate notices and alternatives accommodations; 
  • To provide without delay alternative accommodations and means to all concerned victims, including children, single mothers, elderly and all vulnerable, who have been made homeless by the demolition of their homes; 
  • To ensure that the preparations of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) do not become a hindrance to the poor people wellbeing.