KIGALI - The Government has described the latest report from the human rights watchdog, Amnesty International, as very sensational and portrays the dishonesty of some human rights organisations.
Addressing a news conference yesterday, Government Spokesperson and Minister of Foreign affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, said that the report entitled “Safer to Stay Silent: The Chilling Effect Of Rwanda’s Laws On ‘Genocide Ideology’ And ‘Sectarianism’, is part of the group’s fundraising schemes.
Mushikiwabo accused the human rights watchdog of breaching the goodwill offered by the Government of Rwanda, to provide views on the possible review of the two Genocide laws, and instead chose to rush and publish the report, as if they had made a new discovery.
“Amnesty International is acting like they have made an important discovery – that Rwanda is making laws to stifle expression from its own citizens. These are Genocide ideology laws that are nothing new – neither to Amnesty nor to us,” said Mushikiwabo.
“Amnesty had approached our Ministry of Justice wanting to collaborate, wanting to provide ideas and suggestions and they were welcomed with open arms. They were requested to give their views and to contribute and before the exercise was over, they are out with a report…very sensational,” Mushikiwabo said.
“That is not the way we expect human rights organisations to function. If Amnesty International really wants to improve the state of human rights and help Rwanda to keep improving on issues of human rights, this kind of manipulation and dishonesty will not work.”
Mushikiwabo said that the move by Amnesty International was to garner funding.
“I am convinced that this is just another fundraising scheme for Amnesty International because it doesn’t make sense that one would be collaborating and then half way decide to publish a report with sensational titles,” Mushikiwabo said.
She added that it’s a known procedure for some human rights groups to publish such reports as it is one of the best ways to raise money, and that Amnesty International is using Rwanda because there is a lot happening in the media with Rwanda.
“I express the wish for my Government that Amnesty International and other human rights organisations would try and work in transparent and honest ways in order to make a difference in the state of human rights in this country,” the minister added.
The London-based human rights group, on Tuesday, released a 116-page report alleging that the country’s laws on Genocide ideology were being used to suppress political dissent and free speech.