Date: September 1, 2020
The New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs (NYCFPA) is monitoring the situation in Kigali, Rwanda involving the arrest of Paul Rusesabagina while visiting Dubai and exported to Rwanda as announced by the Rwandan government on August 31st. The details of the detention and the charges against Mr. Rusesabagina are still unclear to many in the international community as well as the timing of the accusation and arrest. While there is talk about international cooperation, no international agency is reported to oversee this kidnapping and abduction of a non-Emirati citizen out of the United Arab Emirates.
What is known is that Paul Rusesabagina has been a vocal critic of, and has supported opposition to, the administration of President Paul Kagame. What is also known is that Mr. Rusesabagina has been the subject of political and legal retaliation at the order of President Kagame. Whereas Mr. Rusesabagina has been cited in various awards for his fight for human rights and democratic freedoms in Rwanda, President Kagame has been the subject of various reports which detail his authoritarian rule and democratic suppression. In April of this year, Human Rights Watch stated that the Rwandan government was “arbitrarily detaining people” in stadiums as it ‘enforced coronavirus restrictions.’ Many in the international community believe that these detentions were politically based and not, in fact, done in the interest of public health.
Additionally, Mr. Rusesabagina is a legal resident of the United States, residing in San Antonio, Texas, as well as a citizen of Belgium. It should also be noted that Mr. Rusesabagina is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award given by the United States Government, awarded to him by President George W. Bush in 2005.
While the NYCFPA acknowledges the sovereignty of the Rwandan Government and their judicial system, we are not confident that the charges against Mr. Rusesabagina are valid.
We ask the Rwandan government to release Mr. Rusesabagina immediately to the United Nations. We also call on the State Department and the White House to demand immediate release of the Medal of Freedom recipient. We also ask the Rwandan government to disclose all evidence or admit their lack of evidence against these claims.
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About New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs: The New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs (NYCFPA) is a policy, research, and educational organization headquartered in New York State with an office in Washington D.C. NYCFPA is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, institution devoted to conducting in-depth research and analysis on every aspect of American foreign policy and its impact around the world. The organization is funded by individual donors. The organization receives no corporate or government donations. The New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs (NYCFPA) is currently conducting research on American foreign policy interests in the world’s hot zones and has forthcoming reports and educational briefings on: China, Russia, North Korea, Middle East, Latin America, and Africa. Their mission is to be an educational resource for policy makers and foreign policy leaders to best promote American interests and values around the world.
Contact: Alyssa Bonk