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“I have been in Gikondo transit center many times, I can’t even count the number of times,” Marie, a street vendor in the Nyabugogo bus station in Kigali, told Human Rights Watch in April. “I was arrested for selling water and juice on the streets. I have…
Street vendors outside Nyabugogo bus station, Kigali, August 2014.
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There’s a new fashion among African presidents bent on clinging to power: the constitutional coup. Military coups are no longer de rigueur, in part because the African Union has said it won’t recognize governments that come to power by means of such…
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Three notorious African leaders -- Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, Eritrea's Isaias Afewerki, and Sudan's Omar al-Bashir -- are not invited to this week's U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C. But a number of other long-ruling African strongmen, like…
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As he stood before Ghana’s parliament in 2009, President Barack Obama set out some guiding principles to underscore his interests in Africa. “[G]overnments” he said, “that respect the will of their own people, that govern by consent and not coercion, are…
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The details of Gustave Makonene’s death are gruesome. His body was found outside the lakeside town of Rubavu, in northwestern Rwanda, on July 18, 2013. The police medical report indicated he was strangled. Local residents who saw his body gave Human…
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2013 brought many grim setbacks, yet there were still some important signs of progress

With the slaughter of civilians in Syria still horribly unrestrained, it is easy to be discouraged about human rights. There is, of course, every reason for outrage about Syria, and about the international community's narrow focus on peace talks, unlikely…
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During the U.S. presidential campaign, challenger Mitt Romney famously accused President Obama of having "thrown allies like Israel under the bus." It was an odd characterization of a policy that saw Obama make a brief, abandoned effort to limit…
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If leaders of the M23 rebels are allowed to reintegrate into the Congolese army, the message will be clear: rape, pillage and murder will go unpunished.
 
 On Nov. 19, armed men from a rebel group called the M23 were looking for a prominent civil…
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Despite supporting a brutal rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda is about to take a seat on the U.N. Security Council.
 
 Few countries dare challenge the Security Council the way Rwanda does; even fewer get away with it. Yet on…
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Andrew Mitchell is being questioned after giving £8m to a state with rebel links. UK silence on human rights abuses must end

The international development select committee (IDC) is today questioning Andrew Mitchell on his controversial decision to disburse £8m of UK budget support to the government of Rwanda, in his final hours as international development secretary and just…
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Rebel leader Thomas Lubanga may now be in jail, but Rwanda continues to support his co-accused, Bosco Ntaganda

The sentencing on Tuesday of Thomas Lubanga, a rebel leader from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo was a rare victory for Congolese victims of atrocities. There have been few occasions during my 13 years of documenting abuses in Congo by Lubanga and…
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A few weeks ago, a British journalist called me to discuss the human rights situation in Rwanda. We began by talking about the 2010 elections, in which President Paul Kagame was re-elected with 93% of the vote after three opposition parties had been…
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Last month, the first woman ever was convicted of genocide by an international court. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda found Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, Rwanda's former minister for family and women's affairs, guilty of genocide, war crimes and…
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Human Rights Watch's Carina Tertsakian says that to describe Paul Kagame as "the sort of dictator Rwanda needs" is an insult to Rwandans who have lost their lives.

Jack Chapman's Think Africa Press article "Are Kagame's human rights abuses justified?"  epitomises the blinkered approach of many commentators towards Rwanda. Its principal argument is based on a fallacy: that in some contexts, human rights and economic…