HRW on pre-election repression in Rwanda

Aug. 6, 2010, 11:04 a.m.

Ahead of next week's presidential election in Rwanda, Human Rights Watch has released a report suggesting evidence of political pressure exterted on opposition parties. Given evidence of political harassment to NGOs, journalists and opposition candidates, can the international community take stock in this election? What can be done to ensure future elections are conducted in a more free manner? From the report, which documents abuses from Jan. through July 2010:

"None of the other candidates [in the election] are believed to pose a serious challenge to President Kagame. Their parties have been broadly supportive of the [Rwandan Patriotic Front], and most Rwandans would not describe them as 'real' opposition parties. In contrast, none of the three parties that have openly criticized RPF policies have been allowed to take part in the elections. The Democratic Green Party and the FDU-Inkingi have been prevented from registering; the leader of the PS-Imberakuri is in prison. Their members have been harassed and threatened."

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