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Théoneste Bagosora Sentence a Lesson in Accountability

Late last month, Malian officials announced that a former Rwandan army colonel convicted of masterminding the slaughter of at least half a million people during the 1994 genocide had died. Théoneste Bagosora, who was 80, was serving a 35-year sentence…
Théoneste Bagosora reacts as he sits in the court at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, in Arusha, Tanzania on December 18, 2008.
News

Journalists and Online Commentators Face Persecution for Critical Reporting

Celebrating World Press Freedom Day in Rwanda may well require journalists, activists, and diplomats to toe the line of the government’s ever-growing list of forbidden topics. In a country where the president coolly gives speeches gloating about the…
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame speaks during the state funeral of Kenya’s former president, Daniel arap Moi, at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya, February 11, 2020.
News

Interception of Rusesabagina’s Attorney/Client Communications Raises Concerns

An apparent mistake has confirmed what most of the world already knew: government critic Paul Rusesabagina is unlikely to receive a fair trial in Rwanda. In a recorded video call, Rwanda’s justice minister, Johnston Busingye, admitted the government’s…
Paul Rusesabagina, a prominent government critic, attends a court hearing in Kigali, Rwanda on February 26, 2021. Rwanda’s High Court Chamber for International and Cross-border Crimes ruled that it has jurisdiction to try him.
News

President Frees Prisoners but More Remain

The numbers were down from the hundreds of thousands who filled the streets of Algerian cities when the “Hirak” protest movement began, but the thousands who marched February 22, despite Covid-19 restrictions, to mark the Hirak’s second anniversary,…
Algerians demonstrate in Algiers to mark the second anniversary of the Hirak movement, February 22, 2021. 
News

Freedom of Belief Article Dropped — and All Pretense of Respecting It?

It is sadly commonplace that many countries that respect human rights the least have constitutions that respect human rights the most. Iraq’s constitution under Saddam Hussein, for example, guaranteed freedom of expression, assembly, religion, privacy…
Yacine Mebarki
News

African Court Decision Condemns Practice

The African Court on Human and People’s Rights has held that states’ laws enabling the detention of people who, often because of poverty, are forced to live on the street, violate human rights law. On December 4, the regional human rights court…
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News

Two Prosecutions Highlight Threats to Press Freedom

Morocco and Algeria are neighbors and rivals, sharing one of the world’s longest closed-land borders, vying for diplomatic supremacy in the Maghreb region, sparring over Western Sahara, and insulting each other’s governments daily via state-influenced…
Journalists Khaled Drareni (Left) and Omar Radi (Right)
News

President Pledges Wide Consultation on Draft While Reporters, Protest Leaders Locked Up

If imprisoned Algerian journalist Khaled Drareni managed to get a copy of the draft constitution Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune circulated in early May, he might savor the irony. The draft – like the current constitution – provides that “…
An Algerian demonstrator holds the Algerian national flag as he stage a protest against the government in Algiers, Algeria, Friday, Nov.29, 2019. 
News

Remains of Augustin Bizimana Found in Congo-Brazzaville

Just days after the arrest in France of Félicien Kabuga, one of the Rwandan genocide’s alleged masterminds, came the announcement that the remains of another – Augustin Bizimana, the minister of defense at the time of the killings – were identified in a…
Augustin Bizimana.
News

Protesters Languish in Prison for Peaceful Dissent

For some authoritarians, the coronavirus tragedy has presented a golden opportunity to grab more power and trample rights. Hungary’s parliament has voted to allow Prime Minister Victor Orban to rule by decree indefinitely, and in Hong…
Security forces stand at a checkpoint to enforce a curfew aiming to prevent the spread of corona virus in Algiers, Algeria, April 8, 2020.
News

South African Prosecution Offers Chance for Justice in Karegeya Killing

South Africa’s National Prosecution Authority has issued arrest warrants for two Rwandans accused of murdering Rwandan critic Colonel Patrick Karegeya, who was found dead in his hotel room in Johannesburg on January 1, 2014. …
Patrick Karegeya
News

President Challenged on Rights Record at Development Meeting

This week, Rwandan President Paul Kagame sat down for a joint France 24 interview with the European Union’s development commissioner to discuss some of his country’s efforts to eradicate poverty. But soon, the conversation –…
Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, participates in a session at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 23, 2019.
News

Nairobi Conference Commits to Greater Efforts to Fight Impunity, Defend Rights

Last week, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region met in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss “combating impunity and upholding human rights as key contributors to peace and security.” Representatives from the organization’s 12…
Jean Baptiste Nguondija, a resident of Ngbada, Central African Republic, by the grave of his 10 year-old daughter Nathana Poura. Nguondija has lost 5 children since the conflict began in 2013.
News

Death of Anselme Mutuyimana Follows String of Attacks on Opposition

The death of an assistant to Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire last weekend has sent a chill through those who still dare to challenge the status quo in Rwanda. Investigations by authorities into the death of Anselme…
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Rights Champion Wrote Definitive Account of Rwandan Genocide

Ten years ago today, our beloved colleague Alison Des Forges died in the crash of Flight 3407 traveling from Newark to her home in Buffalo. Alison had recently been in Uganda to meet with her research team that, to my great fortune,…
News

Inquest Began in South Africa for Killing of Patrick Karegeya

There is a chance justice may still happen for the killing of Colonel Patrick Karegeya, a Rwandan dissident who was found murdered in his hotel room in Johannesburg, South Africa, on January 1, 2014. The inquest into Karegeya…
Patrick Karegeya
News

Boniface Twagirimana’s Loved Ones Have a Right to Know the Truth

On the night of October 7, Rwandan opposition leader Boniface Twagirimana ‘disappeared’ from his prison cell in Mpanga in southern Rwanda. One month later, his family and friends still have no information on his whereabouts.  …
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News

Prisoner Releases Welcome, but More Needed to Demonstrate Genuine Change

After more than one year in prison, Rwanda’s High Court finally released Diane Rwigara, a well-known political opponent, and her mother, Adeline, on bail. They cannot leave the capital, Kigali, without permission, and their trial – on…
Would-be independent presidential candidate Diane Rwigara speaks to the media in Kigali, Rwanda, June 20, 2017.
News

Transform Pioneering Work on Child Protection into Action

The global campaign to insulate schools and students from the ravages of war gained momentum today with a string of four new endorsements of the Safe Schools Declaration. The announcements by Djibouti, Macedonia, San Marino, and Peru…
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News

Eastern Caribbean LGBT Activists Seek Protection, Not Marriage

After Human Rights Watch released a report on discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and buggery laws in the Eastern Caribbean, a government minister from Barbados warned against “an attempt to transpose and to…
An unknown man on the Eastern Caribbean island of Barbados.