Rwandan legislators have condemned the contents of a draft resolutions by their counterparts of the European Parliament, which they say deliberately distorts facts they found on ground during their field visit to Rwanda last month.
A letter co-signed by MPs Adolphe Bazatoha, Evariste Kalisa and Juliana Kantengwa was addressed to Iratxe Garcia-Perez, the Chairperson of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality at the European Parliament, who led the delegation.
“We want to express our disbelief and disappointment with regard to the contents of the proposed draft resolution on Rwanda which have been construed and equated all the acclaimed progress that Rwanda has made in terms of women rights and gender equality to just one Rwandan national convicted of the crime of Genocide ideology, ostensibly because she is a woman,” reads part of the letter which The New Times has seen.
The three co-signers of the letter were the hosts to their European counterparts during their visit to Rwanda last month.
They challenged their colleagues in Europe to instead focus on the real issue of lobbying for the arrest and extradition or trial of fugitives – most of them masterminds – of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, who remain scot-free in European countries, 22 years after the Genocide.
They also challenged them to enact laws in their countries that punish denial of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“We would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the request we made to you while you were in Kigali, urging you, in a spirit of our shared humanity, that you use your parliamentary activism to mobilise support to apprehend Genocide suspects and get them back to Rwanda for prosecution or at least have them prosecuted in EU member countries,” the Rwandan MPs said in the letter.
“Allowing Genocide suspects to continue enjoying impunity in Europe is against our shared universal values”.
They said that enacting laws against denial of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi would discourage those who undermine the genocide in which over a million Rwandans were murdered.
Many perpetrators have used the lack of legislation punishing genocide denial in European countries to not only remain safe from the law but also continue to promote their genocidal agenda using various platforms.
“In the same vein, we again urge you, to mobilise support against genocide denial in EU member countries by legislating against denial of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, because genocide denial is a continuation of genocide,” the Rwandan MPs wrote in the letter.
Members of the European Parliament’s committee on women’s rights and gender equality spent four days in Rwanda last month engaging with Rwandan MPs on the best practices in the promotion of the rights of women and gender equality.
It comprised of eight members of the European Parliament; five from Spain, two from the U.K, and one from Belgium.
Being the committee’s first visit outside the European Union, Garcia-Perez said that they had chosen to visit Rwanda due to her exemplary record on issues concerning women’s rights and gender equality.
The country has been at the forefront of promoting gender equality, with the 2014 World Economic Forum report ranking it as Africa’s best performer in closing the gender gap, and the seventh of 142 countries on the global index.
Rwanda also keeps a record of highest representation of women in Parliament with Rwandan women occupying 64 per cent of seats.