Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page

Recent Reports 
 Support HRW 
About HRW
Site Map
Human Rights Watch - Home Page



Rwandan authorities insist that the country continues to face grave threats of attack from abroad and serious dangers from "negative forces" within. Military action in the eastern Congo, like the December 1999 attack on Tamira, shows that armed opposition groups, however labeled, do pose a continuing threat to security. Similarly it is clear that there is considerable popular dissatisfaction with the current government among Rwandans. But many Rwandans feel that their greatest risk now is not from insurgents or internal dissidents but from the very authorities supposedly charged with protecting them.

Government officials, soldiers and political leaders make accusations that are false or at best unsubstantiated and they easily accept similar accusations made by those whom they favor. They are quick to arrest but then often fail to investigate the charges and bring the accused to trial. The prevalence of false accusations and the delay in resolving such charges contributes to the sense of insecurity among ordinary people. Hutu have long been subject to such abuses and now Tutsi survivors of the genocide increasingly suffer from them as well.

In the recent past, Rwandans have wrongly accused personal or political enemies of having participated in the genocide or of supporting the insurgency; now they may also charge them with favoring a return of the king. Rwandans also accuse others of corruption. Such charges may be better founded, since many have wrongly enriched themselves, but the pattern of accusation, whether of political leaders or dissident journalists, suggests that political reasons underlie at least some of these charges.

Just as it is difficult to assess the extent of the threat from insurgents so it is difficult to evaluate the extent of political dissent within the country. But whatever the domestic or external threat, the government must not use it as pretext for violating the rights of Rwandan citizens.

Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page