Greens Demand Protection to Rwandan Opposition Politicians

Letter to S.E. Monsieur Gérard Ntwari, Ambassador of Rwanda in Belgium, May 6th 2010.[:]


Honourable Mr. Ntwari,

We, the undersigned, are gravely concerned about news that Rwandan oppositional politicians Mrs Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza and Mr Deogratias Mushayidi are being judicially harassed in order to silence their criticism of the state authorities.

Mrs Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, presidential candidate and Chairperson of the UDF_INKINGI who recently returned from exile in the Netherlands, is currenlty under house arrest and Mr Deogratias Mushayidi, president of the opposition party PDP_Umanzi is imprisoned – both without any official charge against them. We call strongly that the Rwandan authorities either charge them with a criminal offence without delay or promptly release them.

Persistent threat and harassment continues against Frank Habineza, president of Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, which is a serious problem to his party’s democratic participation in the upcoming election process.

What is more, we are further alarmed to learn that this is not apparently first attempt to curtail the freedom of speech of those who openly criticise the President Kagame of Rwanda and his government.

No history of a country shall testify more to the importance of the freedom of speech than that of Rwanda. Never again must the voice of the people be compromised according to political currencies.

We urge you to guarantee political space for opposition voices, free from intimidation, with appropriate protection from security forces for individual party activists.

We hope that the issue will be resolved quickly and that the authorities will ensure that freedom of speech shall be not only protected but also promoted in Rwanda.
Heidi Hautala,
Chairwoman of European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights

Rebecca Harms 
Co-president of the Green/Efa Group

Daniel Cohn Bendit
Co-president of the Green/Efa Group

Monica Frassoni
European Green Party Co-spokesperson

Philippe Lamberts
European Green Party Co-spokesperson