Acting against terrorists is not abuse of human rights

WHILE ADDRESSING residents of the Northern and Western provinces in Nyabihu District last week, President Paul Kagame said those who compromise the security of Rwanda will be dealt with decisively. Unsurprisingly, news headlines wasted no time ignoring the context and spinning the message to reflect their favorite accusations. 

WHILE ADDRESSING residents of the Northern and Western provinces in Nyabihu District last week, President Paul Kagame said those who compromise the security of Rwanda will be dealt with decisively. Unsurprisingly, news headlines wasted no time ignoring the context and spinning the message to reflect their favorite accusations. 

The cry out over the President’s clear message against terrorist attacks was far louder than any we’ve heard over the deaths of innocent Rwandans. This year, a grenade attack on the home of the Mayor of Musanze District claimed the life of a one-and –a-half year old girl. The district also experienced other fatal attacks, adding to the grenade attacks thrown onto public places in Kigali not long ago.

It seems easier to criticize decisive actions against terrorists than terrorist acts themselves. The lives lost seem to be considered collateral damage to a self righteous attempt at defining human rights. Conveniently, the context of a nation where less than 20 years ago, insecurity led to the killing of over one million innocent people continues to be ignored. 

To set the record straight, what the President said was not a call to indiscriminate violence. It was a legitimate warning to those responsible for the killing of children and the maiming of innocent men and women.

The Rwandan people know too well that the responsibility to protect ourselves is our own. The message by the President was a reminder of this responsibility.

Those who choose to minimise the importance of the lives lost embolden the terrorists and is a demonstration of double standards. For the security of their citizens, some countries will stop at nothing, including invasion of sovereign nations to address any threats. Are the lives of some citizens to some countries more valuable than others?

Innocent Rwandans are being killed. This should not be taken lightly. Bringing to an end terror attacks is not an infringement of rights but the responsibility of a government that considers the security of its people a serious matter.