Rwanda’s Aid Donors Increase Pressure on Kagame to Account for Atrocities

By David Himbara

The European Union Joined the UK and the US in Calling for Independent Investigations in Extrajudicial Killings in Rwanda

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The regime of General Paul Kagame has recently been subjected to calls by its top financiers to conduct credible and independent investigations of extrajudicial killings, deaths in custody and disappearances in Rwanda. The calls have come from the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union. One question arises: do these calls by the Kagame funders change his addiction to violence against the people of Rwanda? The answer is no. Nonetheless, the funders’ statements matter in exposing Kagame’s horrendous human rights record. The funders’ announcements are official statements and therefore have more weight than those of the media and human rights organizations.

Here are the statements issued by Rwanda’s financiers in the past two months regarding atrocities perpetuated by the Kagame regime. On January 25, 2021, the United States asked the regime “to independently and transparently investigate credible allegations of unlawful or arbitrary arrests and detentions, killings, and enforced disappearances of human rights defenders, political opponents, and journalists, prosecuting alleged perpetrators under the law.” On January 26, 2021, the United Kingdom took the same stance, asking the regime to “conduct transparent, credible and independent investigations into allegations of extrajudicial killings, deaths in custody, enforced disappearances and torture, and bring perpetrators to justice.”Similarly, on February 9, 2021, the European Parliament urged the regime “to conduct transparent, credible and independent investigations into allegations of extrajudicial killings, deaths in custody, enforced disappearances and torture, and bring perpetrators to justice.”

The case of the UK is most embarrassing. In its statement on Kagame’s atrocities, the UK reminded Kagame that “As a member of the Commonwealth, and future Chair-in-Office, we urge Rwanda to model Commonwealth values of democracy, rule of law, and respect for human rights.” Rwanda is scheduled to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in June 2021 and Kagame will be the Commonwealth Chair-in-Office (CIO) for 2021 and 2022. The Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth is leadership position held by the host chairperson of the previous CHOGM until the next CHOGM.

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