European Union Parliament Passes Resolution Highly Critical of Rwanda
CHICAGO – Feb. 11, 2021 – The European Parliament raised its voice loud and clear today, condemning the enforced disappearance, illegal rendition and incommunicado detention of Paul Rusesabagina.
After a rigorous debate that roundly criticized the Rwandan government for its kidnapping and arbitrary detention of Paul Rusesabagina, the resolution was highly critical of Rwanda.
Among other things it:
- Expresses deep concern about the violations of Mr Rusesabagina’s rights; urges the Rwandan authorities to allow Mr Rusesabagina to undergo a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal applying international human rights standards
- Calls for Mr Rusesabagina to be granted confidential consultations with the legal counsel of his choosing and regular and secure contact with his family
- Condemns politically motivated trials, the prosecution of political opponents, and prejudgements on the outcome of trials
- Calls for the European Union to take immediate action to ensure that the legality of the arrest and trial of Mr Rusesabagina are investigated and that his rights as an EU citizen are upheld at all stages of this process
“These are all of the things that we have talked about for the past 5 months, and it is wonderful to see the EU leading the international community in a public condemnation of Rwanda’s actions,” said Rusesabagina’s daughter, Carine Kanimba.
The EU Parliament press release says:
“MEPs condemn the enforced disappearance, illegal rendition and incommunicado detention of Rwandan human rights defender, government critic and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Paul Rusesabagina, whose story was recounted in the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda.
“Mr Rusesabagina, who is a Belgian citizen and a US resident, was forcibly transferred from Dubai to Kigali under unclear circumstances on 27 August last year. He only reappeared on 31 August at the headquarters of the Rwandan Investigation Bureau. He was initially charged with 13 offences, including financing terrorism, armed robbery and attempted murder. Some charges were later dropped, with those that remained relating to events that took place in the country’s Nyaruguru and Nyamagabe regions in 2018.
“Parliament calls for an international investigation into this matter and expresses its deep concern about the violation of Mr Rusesabagina’s rights. MEPs urge the Rwandan authorities to allow him to undergo a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal applying international human rights standards, and grant him legal counsel of his choosing.
“Given Mr. Rusesabagina’s medical condition, MEPs call on the Rwandan Government to guarantee, under all circumstances, his physical and psychological well-being and access to proper medication.”
Here is the full EU Parliament press release and a link to the resolution: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20210204IPR97122/human-rights-breaches-in-uganda-rwanda-and-kazakhstan
Background: Paul Rusesabagina, an internationally renowned humanitarian who saved the lives of 1,268 people during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, has regularly criticized human rights violations and a lack of democracy in Rwanda, while working for an internationally sanctioned truth and reconciliation process and sustainable peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. He was kidnapped by the government of Rwanda on August 27 and taken to Kigali, where he is currently held in prison. Rwandan President Kagame is a dictator who does not tolerate dissent, who slanders and intimidates critics of his government, including calling them “terrorists,” and who has a long record of imprisoning and even killing those he considers to be critics or political opponents.