No one is Free When Others are Oppressed

By IndepthAfrica
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Sep 21st, 2012
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An opposition coalition has sent a letter to US government officials explaining the dangers of supporting the Rwandan Government.

Friday September 21st starts the beginning of Rwanda Day in Boston, MA. The Minster of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo is scheduled to speak on Friday evening with The President of Rwanda Paul Kagame to address a crowd on Saturday afternoon. Protestors are planning a peaceful gather with representatives from the Congo, Burundi and Rwanda to speak out against the ongoing humanitarian violations that he is committing in Central Africa. The protesters are clear that this will be a peaceful gathering and have obtained the legal city requirements.

This protest has not gone unnoticed by President Paul Kagame and his representatives and they have been contacting Rwandans with vigor throughout New England and Canada in order to gain supporters. They have even gone as far as renting busses that will make trips from Maine to Boston on both Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. It is an open secret that anyone coming out to support Rwanda Day will be paid up to $200 as well as travel expenses. Hotel fees will not be covered this time as they were last year in Chicago.

An opposition coalition has sent a letter to US government officials explaining the dangers of supporting the Rwandan Government.

The letter is in full below:

September 18, 2012
Honorable Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts;
Honorable John Kerry, Chairman US
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations;
Honorable John Olver (D-MA), Member of CongressDear Sir,

We are writing this letter as a group of concerned Rwandans and Americans of Rwandan origin with regard to President Paul Kagame, the Rwandan dictator who is coming to Boston, Massachusetts. He is to lead an event called Rwanda Day on September 21, 2012. Traditionally, this is a gathering of the regime’s officials and advanced legions of sympathizers in North America.

The man you will possibly shake hands with, or perhaps pose for a picture perfect has not been welcome in most western capitals for a while now. It is becoming increasingly clear that he will go down in history as one of the few living criminals earning to seat in the unenviable company of the likes of Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot.

There is now overwhelming evidence uncovered by the United Nations Group of Experts on how President Kagame trained, recruited for, and armed a rebel group known as M23 in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The United States suspended its military aid to Rwanda, and other countries as well as international organizations, including the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and the African Development Bank have suspended aid to Rwanda.

A group of US congressmen have written an open letter to President Kagame in which they acknowledged Rwanda’s “dismaying role in the latest surge in violence in Eastern Congo” and stated “…to be absolutely convinced that Rwanda is involved in supporting the unrest in the Kivus”.

One of these congressional representatives is Massachusetts’ own, Honorable John Olver. Stephen Rapp, the head of the US Office of Global Criminal Justice, told the British newspaper, The Guardian, “The Rwandan leadership may be open to charges of “aiding and abetting” crimes against humanity in a neighboring country – actions similar to those for which the former Liberian president, Charles Taylor, was jailed for 50 years…”

This latest aggression by the Rwandan ruthless despot, testified to by Rwandans and clearly documented by the United Nations and human rights groups like Human Rights watch and Amnesty International, is just a tip of the icerberg. President Kagame’s rule has been a long chronicle of grave human rights abuses, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and even possible acts of genocide (according to a UN Mapping Report of 2010). The man set to walk the streets of Boston is an unrepentant war criminal: • He personally ordered the shooting down of the presidential aircraft carrying the late Presidents Habyarimana of Rwanda and Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi.

This assassination sparked the genocide against Tutsis and massacres against Hutus ( in Rwanda and DRC);

• Twice he personally planned and executed the invasion of the neighboring DRC, hunting and exterminating Rwandan refugees through the thick forests of Congo, and leading to the worst humanitarian crisis in modern history. More than five million people have died in DRC, largely due to President Kagame’s belligerent policies and actions. The UN Mapping Report of 2010 clearly documented the war crimes, crimes against humanity, and even possible acts of genocide committed on President Kagame’s orders;

• He has repeatedly caused troubles in eastern DRC through proxy armed militia groups, warring against each other and against the legitimate government in Kinshasa;

• He personally closed political space in Rwanda and ordered detention of political leaders Victoire Ingabire ( President, FDU-Inkingi), Deo Mushayidi ( President, PDP-Imanzi), and Bernard Ntaganda (President, PS-Imberakuri), among others, on politically motivated and sham charges;

• He has instituted a repressive legal and regulatory system to shut down independent newspapers and radios, barred human rights groups and activists, including the late Alison des Forges, the respected American scholar who was among the first to alert the world about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

• He has personally ordered kidnappings, imprisonments, and assassinations of political opponents in Rwanda and abroad. It is our strong opinion that the root-cause of the great-lakes region problems partly resides in Rwanda. Resolving Rwanda’s currently political and human rights crisis will immensely contribute to peace and stability in the region. The Economist, a British magazine, had the perfect word back in 2008, when it postulated, “The death of millions in Congo belongs to the same story as the genocide in Rwanda. It is a story that continues—and has no saints”. It is equally our strong belief that the socio-political infrastructure built by President Kagame and his regime is not only unsustainable, but also a recipe for another round of bloodbath if nothing is done to redress the blatant injustice and impunity that prevail in Rwanda today. A viable political alternative is urgently needed to promote a peaceful transition to democracy and the rule of law.

We, the organizations responsible for preparing a more secure, peaceful, and prosperous future of the Rwandan people are convinced that change in Rwanda is both necessary and inevitable. We are also determined to continue to struggle for peaceful change. However, peace and stability in Rwanda affects, and is affected by, security in the region. The current situation in DRC is dangerous to the whole region, including Rwanda itself, and could lead to another regional war and catastrophe in Rwanda. The United States and the rest of the international community have a responsibility to prevent such a tragedy. The leadership of our organizations would welcome an opportunity to discuss these issues in detail with you or your staff so as to deepen your understanding of the nature of the problem and solutions to bring lasting peace to Rwanda and the Great-Lakes region.

With highest considerations,

Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa

Coordinator, Rwanda National Congress (RNC)

E-mail: ngombwa@gmail.com

For and on behalf of:

Dr. Theophille Murayi
FDU-Inkingi

Theobald Rwaka
CNR-Intwari

Pascal Kalinganire
OPJDR

Paul Rusesabagina
PDR-Ihumure

C Muhindura
IDD

_________________________________

Jennifer Fierberg is a social worker in the US working on peace and justice issues in Africa with an emphasis on the crisis in Rwanda and throughout the central region of Africa. Her articles have been published on many humanitarian sites that are also focused on changing the world through social, political and personal action.

Jennifer has extensive background working with victims of trauma and domestic violence, justice matters as well as individual and family therapy. Passionate and focused on bringing the many humanitarian issues that plague the African Continent to the awareness of the developed world in order to incite change. She is a correspondent, Assistant Editor, and Volunteer Coordinator for NGO News Africa through the volunteer project of the UN. Jennifer was also the media co-coordinator and senior funding executive for The Africa Global Village. You can write to Jennifer at jfierberg@ymail.com.

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