FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Diaspora Group Commends House Chairman for Urging Investigation into Rwandan Human Rights Abuses
At Hearing, Rep. Chris Smith Questions President Kagame’s Role in Killings, Disappearances
WASHINGTON, DC (May 20, 2015) – Democracy in Rwanda Now (DIRN), a non-profit, non-governmental organization, on Wednesday praised the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations for urging an investigation into Rwanda’s human rights record and President Paul Kagame’s role in a series of troubling events including killings and disappearances of dissidents.
Subcommittee Chairman Chris Smith (R-NJ) called some of the recent reported abuses “serious crimes” and said the international community needs to take a “very aggressive look” into what President Paul Kagame’s complicity was in the disappearances and killings of dissidents. “If there are death squads being deployed to kill the diaspora and political opponents...we need to get to the bottom of this,” he said.
The chairman made the remarks at a hearing Wednesday called “Developments in Rwanda,” which he called to examine “persistent, credible reports of human rights abuses by this government both inside and outside the country,” and “how this reality impacts US policy toward Rwanda.”
“Any investigation into the assassinations, attempted assassinations and disappearances of Kagame dissidents is welcome news,” said one of the hearing witnesses David Himbara, a former top economic aide to Kagame and coordinator for the North American branch of DIRN. “I applaud Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Karen Bass for their leadership on this very serious and important issue. The Rwandan people deserve to live in a free and democratic society without fear