UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai Visits Incarcerated FDU-Inkingi Leader

Last Wednesday January 22, 2014, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association Mr Maina Kiai visited FDU-Inkingi chairperson Ms Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza in the Kigali Central Prison, known as « 1930 ». Mr. Kiai was in Rwanda on an official tour to assess the state of those rights in Rwanda. He was accompanied by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International activists.
During their discussion with Ms Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Mr Kiai and his team got the opportunity to witness her dire conditions of incarceration. She gave them an account of her unfair trial and the numerous flaws that marred the whole process since her arrest in 2010. She also briefed them about the persecutions inflicted on other opposition leaders and FDU-Inkingi cadres and members, the refusal of the government to register our movement as well as the continued RPF government denial of political space to any dissenting voice. She asked them to use their leverage to put to the RPF government to task, which would eventually compel it to release all political prisoners all the more that these prisoners didn’t commit any crime at all.
After the visit, the UN Special Rapporteur held a meeting with FDU-Inkingi cadres Flora Irakoze and Fabien Twagirayezu at the Human Rights Watch office in Kigali. They took that opportunity to share with them their worries about multiple acts of hostility they are facing from government security agents, including arbitrary arrests, abduction of FDU-Inkingi members and deliberate cut of their telephone land line among other things and told them that all those actions are aimed at silencing them. They voiced their fears about their own safety and expressed their satisfaction that the top leaders of the movement are abroad, which makes it difficult for the government to decapitate it completely, at least for the moment.
Ms Flora Irakoze and Mr Fabien Twagirayezu thanked Mr Maina Kiai for his visit and also the Human Rights Watch representative in Kigali for their work, for it helps Rwandans progress in their long journey to freedom and equal rights.
According to a press release of the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, Mr Kiai’s visit is « the first information-gathering mission to Rwanda by an independent expert mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and promote the realization of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association worldwide ».
Mr. Maina Kiai promised to convey their demands to relevant authorities and to inform the movement of the outcomes.
Brussels, January 24, 2014

Dr Jean-Baptiste Mberabahizi
FDU-Inkingi Secretary General and Spokesperson

 

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