Rwanda: End human rights clampdown before presidential elections

Amnesty International strongly condemns the diminishing space for freedom of expression in Rwanda as the country prepares for presidential elections in August 2010.

As part of its continued clampdown on human rights, Rwandan immigration officials recently rejected a work visa re-application from Human Rights Watch (HRW)’s Rwanda Researcher.

The de-facto expulsion of an international human rights worker from Rwanda is another indication of the worsening human rights situation in the country in the run-up to the elections. This latest incident is part of a pattern of repression, as the space for any kind of independent reporting and debate in Rwanda diminishes fast.

International human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, have recently been attacked in public speeches by senior government officials. The pro-government press has recently published several articles and opinion pieces attempting to discredit their work.

Recent months have seen a number of government measures against critics and opponents of the government including restrictions on freedom of expression and association. Amnesty urges the Rwandan Government to respect freedom of expression and association, including by allowing space for human rights work.

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