Editorial: There is this urge to tell HRW: “Good riddance”

There is no love lost between the Government of Rwanda and Human Rights Watch (HRW) and now the Ministry of Justice has announced it will no longer renew a cooperation agreement with the organization.

The straw that seems to have broken HRW’s back is a report it released in July 2017 entitled; “All thieves must be killed” in which it alleged that 37 petty criminals had been executed.

Some of those purportedly killed were later paraded before the media while it was also shown that others had died of natural courses. As usual, instead of HRW eating humble pie for being exposed, it dug in and attempted to justify the unjustifiable.

Just a small reminder; the mutual cooperation agreement had expired in March 2017. If, hypothetically, the report had been compiled earlier when the agreement was still in effect but published later, it did not honour it.

It was stipulated that any findings would be discussed with the Ministry of Justice before publishing, which was never done. HRW preferred ambush tactics, pulling the rabbit out of the hat and making preposterous allegations for which it had no concrete proof. It instead relied on rumours, innuendos and allegations by government opponents.

Over the years, HRW has relied on recycling old reports and alleged incidents, some that date over a decade. And every time it realises that its reports have little effect, it seems to be thrown into a rage.

The obsession it has with Rwanda has been baffling all these years, but what is clear, it is politically motivated, well beyond the realms of defending human rights.