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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

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

An Important Step Toward Ending Widespread Abuses Against Women

This week the Judicial Commission of Pakistan, the highest body recommending judicial appointments, will consider the nomination of Justice Ayesha Malik to the Supreme Court. If confirmed, she would become the first woman appointed to the court.…
Justice Ayesha Malik Supreme Court Pakistan
News

Would Allow Unchecked Powers to Punish News Outlets, Journalists

The Pakistani government is seeking broad new powers to control the media as part of its crackdown on freedom of expression. Journalists, human rights activists, and political leaders across that country have raised the alarm about proposed…
Pakistani journalists and activists at a demonstration called by the journalists union to condemn attacks on the media, in Islamabad, Pakistan, on May 28, 2021.
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

Creating a Criminal Offense Essential to Police Reform

(New York) – Pakistan’s National Assembly should urgently pass a bill that would make torture a criminal offense, Human Rights Watch and Justice Project Pakistan said today. The Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention and Punishment) Act 2019, which…
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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

Authorities Should Stop Stifling Dissent, Protect the Media

(New York) – A recent series of attacks and growing pressure on journalists who criticize the Pakistan government is a cause for serious concern, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the International Commission of Jurists said today. Those…
 Pakistani journalist Asad Ali Toor, center, speaks during a demonstration to condemn the attack on journalists, in Islamabad, Pakistan.
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

Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, China, Myanmar Win Women’s Rights Posts

When the United Nations General Assembly held its annual election for seats on the Human Rights Council last October, five countries in the Asia regional group vied for four open seats, including two of the world’s most notorious rights abusers, Saudi…
U.N. headquarters Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon)
News

I.A. Rehman’s Struggle for a Progressive, Tolerant Pakistan Lives On

Many years ago, I.A. Rehman said to my young, overconfident, and impatient self, “This [struggle for human rights] is a marathon, not a sprint.” Rehman’s long, victorious marathon came to an end on April 12. Three generations of Pakistani human rights…
I.A. Rehman, center, addresses a news conference, in Islamabad, Pakistan, July 16, 2018.
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

Prime Minister Imran Khan Should Back Promises with Accountability

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s meeting last week with families of people who had been forcibly disappeared was an important step toward addressing this serious and longstanding issue. He now needs to follow up on his pledge to end this abuse…
People hold placards and portraits of their missing family members during a press conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, February 20, 2021. 
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

International Women’s Day Should Prompt Real Reforms

As 2020 drew to a close, protesters across South Asia took to the streets, calling on their governments to take widespread sexual violence against women and children seriously, and to implement real reforms. But rather than listening to experts and…
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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.