On Friday 20, 2020, several newspapers including the Rwandan TV channel Umubavu and Voice of America reported brutality meted on women, elderly and disabled by Rwandan police for claiming their right to overdue compensation for their houses demolished to give land to rich developers connected to the regime. Those who were beaten and taken away in handcuffs were suspected of being ring leaders of former residents of Kangondo II, one of the suburbs of capital city Kigali, attempting to put pressure on the government to pay them overdue compensation. They included 5 men who included one disabled, two women including an elderly lady who was lying helpless on the ground and one who was taken away after severe beating. The interviewees told reporters that they feared that one lady who was beaten up and her hair pulled could die anytime.
Three years without getting compensation and eight months without getting agreed house rents, the residents of Kangondo II decided to come back to the ruins of their former houses and raise sheeting to sleep under. According to the law, compensation must be paid within 4 months after evaluation which was done in 2017.
Sadly, in December 2019 and March 2020, local authorities forced residents to demolish their own houses and received house rents ranging between $30 and $90 dollars. December and March are heavy rainy seasons and March was the worst time for COVID 19. This did not deter government officials to throw out whole families under bad weather and health conditions. Children cannot attend school.
The victims told Umubavu TV that for the last eight months, they live on begging during the day and many spend the night in the bush. They have now decided to come back to the ruins of their houses and put up sheering to sleep. The Rwandan regime has taken former residents’ decision as unlawful protest and the “so-called” security forces have used brutal force to intimidate them.
Residents are appealing to all people of goodwill to advocate for them. FDU-Inkingi call on the government to enforce its laws by giving agreed compensation to Kangondo residents without further delay.
We call on the government to take necessary measures to protect children who have been exposed to risk of significant harm by sleeping in the bush and to send them back to school.
We call on the government to carry out investigation into police brutality against innocent citizens defending their rights, bring perpetrators to book and end the culture of violence by security agents.
We call on aid donors to withhold disbursement of aid until the government has compensated residents of Kangondo II.
Done in Rouen November 23, 2020