Rwanda severs ties with Human Rights Watch over nasty reports

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Umurungi Providence

Rwanda is not ready to renew cooperation agreements with Human Rights Watch (HRW) if it continues ignoring the government’s stance on the country’s human rights situation, a government official has said.

Providence Umurungi, head of the International Justice and Judicial Cooperation Department at Rwanda’s Ministry of Justice, said the HRW, an international human rights watchdog, had breached related terms of agreements which required the HRW to include the Rwandan government’s statements about the country’s human rights situation in its reports.

“They rush to publish reports that tarnish the image of the country, ignoring Rwanda’s efforts in improving human rights,” she said.

Even though the watchdog was not satisfied with the Rwandan government’s explanations about their findings, it should include them in their reports under the agreements, said Umurungi.

But the HRW has not done so over the past years, she said, adding that fabricated reports have been published without evidence instead.

Ever since the latest agreement expired, the HRW has not sought its renewal, she added.

She further suggested that the HRW’s agenda in Rwanda is not about human rights.

The latest agreement between Rwanda and the HRW was signed in June 2016 and expired in March 2017.

The HRW has repeatedly accused Rwanda of human rights violations. An HRW report released last October said there were unlawful detentions in military camps and widespread and systematic tortures by the military in Rwanda.

When responding to the reports, Rwandan Justice Minister Johnston Busingye accused the HRW of “recycling old baseless allegations for which they have no credible evidence.”

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