UK And Canada Should Follow The US Government’s Example In Questioning Mihigo’s Death

Open Letter to prime ministers Boris Johnson and Justin Trudeau

Kizito Mihigo died in Rwandan police custody on February 17, 2020

Dear prime ministers, the Right Honourable Boris Johnson and the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau. I am writing you a second letter in your capacity as leader of the most influential Commonwealth country and my prime minister, respectively.

As I indicated in my first letter, a young peace activist named Kizito Mihigo died in Rwandan police custody on February 17, 2020. The government of General Paul Kagame immediately announced that Mihigo committed suicide. Few, if any, were convinced by the official explanation, including the US government. The US Assistant Secretary of State Tibor Nagy asked a crucial question. On what basis did the Rwanda government conclude that Mihigo committed suicide before an inquiry or autopsy was conducted?These are the Assistant Secretary Nagy’s own words:

“I note with concern the death of #KizitoMihigo while in custody and references to suicide before an inquiry or autopsy was initiated by Rwandan authorities. Support full. @RIB_Rw investigation of the circumstances of his death.”

In the UK, Ms Harriet Mathews, the Africa Director at Foreign Office, writing in her personal capacity on Twitter noted:

“Concerned and saddened by the death in custody of Rwandan musician #KizitoMihigo. We await prompt, independent and transparent investigation into the circumstances of his death by the Rwandan authorities.”

Once again, we appeal to the British and Canadian prime ministers to provide leadership in this matter. We request, therefore, that Britain and Canada follow the US example in insisting on independent and transparent investigation into the circumstances of Mihigo’s death. The UK, Canada and the Commonwealth stand for good governance, democracy, human rights, and dignity. The more reason why silence is not an option when these principles are abused in the Commonwealth.

Sincerely,

David Himbara

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