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Space for Dissent Closes

(Nairobi) – Rwandan authorities have arrested nine people linked to an opposition party and a journalist in the last week, as they intensify their crackdown on opponents and critics, Human Rights Watch said. The crackdown appears connected to an event…
Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire leaves Nyarugenge prison, on the outskirts of Kigali, after being released on September 15, 2018.
News

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

Detention, Ill-Treatment of Poor, Gay, and Transgender People

(Nairobi) – Rwandan authorities rounded up and arbitrarily detained over a dozen gay and transgender people, sex workers, street children, and others in the months before a planned June 2021 high-profile international conference, Human Rights…
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left), then Foreign Secretary, and Paul Kagame (right), President of Rwanda, meet during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, April 17, 2018.
News

Due Process and Fair Trial Violations Undermine Verdict

(Nairobi) – The conviction of the Rwandan critic and political opponent Paul Rusesabagina comes after a flawed trial that is emblematic of the government’s overreach and manipulation of the justice system, Human Rights Watch said today. On…
Paul Rusesabagina attends a court hearing in Kigali, Rwanda, February 26, 2021.
News

Ensure Fair Trials, Support for Victims

Two members of Ansaroul Islam, an armed Islamist group in Burkina Faso, were recently sentenced to 20 years in prison for a 2018 attack on a primary school. Victims of the attack welcomed the verdict, which provided some rare accountability for…
Young student's in a classroom
News

Governments Should Halt Trade in Surveillance Technology

(New York) – Recent reports that NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware has been used for surveillance of dozens of journalists, human rights activists, and others demonstrate the urgent need for governments to suspend the trade in surveillance technology until…
People march in Budapest, Hungary during a July 26, 2021 protest against the Hungarian government over reports that it has used Pegasus spyware.
News

Governments Need to Match Commitments with Action

Earlier in July, governments, philanthropies, and the private sector pledged almost $40 billion at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris to fight gender inequality over the next five years. The aim is to accelerate progress on women’s and girls’…
A girl holds the hand of a boy in Agadez, Niger on October 9, 2018.
News
French president Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Rwanda underscored the importance of facing up to responsibilities for past crimes, regardless of how long it takes. Those who bear responsibility for atrocities, whether genocide or war crimes, should take…
French President Emmanuel Macron, right, welcomes Rwanda President Paul Kagame at a dinner for leaders of African states, at the Elysee Palace, Paris, May 17, 2021.
News

Acknowledge his Detention; Ensure Access to Lawyer; Block Any Return to Rwanda

(Nairobi) – A Rwandan asylum seeker and founder of an opposition movement, who has been forcibly disappeared by Mozambique authorities, risks being handed over to Rwanda, where his rights would be violated, including by being subject to an unfair…
Cassien Ntamuhanga.
News

More than 500 Civilians Killed by Armed Islamists in the Sahel Since Early 2021

Just after 2 a.m. on June 5, armed Islamist fighters stormed an artisanal gold mining site outside Solhan village in Burkina Faso’s northeastern Yagha province. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that the attackers opened fire on everyone that moved,…
A man reads the L'Observateur Paalga newspaper in Ouagadougou on June 7, 2021, about the attacks that happened in Solhan. 
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

Urgent Reforms Needed as Commonwealth Summit Approaches

(Nairobi) – Rwandan authorities have threatened, arrested, or prosecuted at least eight people reporting or commenting on current affairs on YouTube over the past year, Human Rights Watch said. A poet who published his poems on YouTube has been…
From top left to right: Innocent Bahati, Yvonne Idamange, Dieudonné Niyonsenga (alias Cyuma Hassan), Aimable Karasira, and Theoneste Nsengimana.
News

Open Letter to All Commonwealth Heads of Government

Excellencies, Civil society organizations around the world are calling on the Rwandan authorities to allow an independent, impartial, and effective investigation into the death in custody of Kizito Mihigo, a popular gospel singer and peace activist. As…
Kizito Mihigo.
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

The Commonwealth Should Request an External Probe into Kizito Mihigo’s Death

On February 17, 2020, police announced that Kizito Mihigo, a popular Rwandan singer, had been found dead in his cell at a police station in Kigali. One year on, there has been no accountability for his death. Birgit Schwarz speaks with Lewis Mudge,…
Kizito Mihigo.
News

Follow Up Universal Periodic Review with Concrete Action

(Geneva) – United Nations member countries offered strong criticism and scores of recommendations addressing Rwanda’s human rights record during the country’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the Human Rights Council in Geneva on…
Delegates sit at the opening of the 41th session of the Human Rights Council, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, June 24, 2019.
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…
cover rwanda
News

Donor Countries Urge Investigations into Mass Graves

  Pressure is mounting on the Burkina Faso government to investigate mass executions allegedly committed by state security forces. Human Rights Watch in July 2020 reported on common graves containing at least 180 bodies in the northern town of…
Djibo, Burkina Faso
News

Violations of Prominent Critic’s Rights Raise Fair Trial Concerns

(Nairobi) – The government of Rwanda’s arrest of a prominent critic of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) amounted to an enforced disappearance, a serious violation of international law. Rwanda should immediately grant the government opponent,…
Paul Rusesabagina, who was detained on August 27, 2020, is paraded in front of the media in handcuffs at the headquarters of the Rwanda Investigation Bureau in Kigali, Rwanda on August 31.
News

First International Day to Protect Education from Attack Addresses Violations Globally

(New York) – The Central Sahel has seen a significant spike in attacks on students, teachers, and schools since 2018, according to a new report released today by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA). The report is launched…
A school in northern Burkina Faso is abandoned after an attack by an armed group.